Drug activity and anti-social behaviour a nightmare for tenants in Swansea flats
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Tenants in a block of Swansea flats have claimed that drug activity and anti-social behaviour, including the use of communal areas as toilets, have made it a “filthy” and “awful” place to live.
And they allege that the owner – housing association Caredig – isn’t doing enough to address the problems.
One of the two tenants of Regency House who spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, is staging daily protests outside Caredig’s head office.
“It’s a nightmare,” said the 55-year-old, of life at the flats.
The tenant does not want to move, partly due to feeling protective of two older residents.
A Caredig spokeswoman said staff regularly visited Regency House and spoke to residents, and that it has and would continue to manage anti-social behaviour in its properties proactively.
South Wales Police said it had received a number of calls from Regency House residents and Caredig, mainly about suspected drug-related activity and anti-social behaviour, and that it had made seven arrests in relation to drug activity in the last eight weeks.
The tenant who has a disability moved into a one-bedroom Regency House flat 11 years ago.
“It was brilliant – a good place to live,” said the tenant, but alleged that drug-related activity within the building appeared to begin before the Covid lockdown of March 2020 and had worsened since and that people who didn’t live there gained access and used communal areas as toilets.
Around two years ago the tenant said a drug user tried to force his way into the flat and that the “only way to stop him was to give him a wallop.”
Residents say they have raised concerns with the landlord and that a meeting involving four residents and two Caredig employees took place on April 5 this year, but that nothing had changed since.
The tenant says that despite losing track of the number of calls to the police and this week being sworn at by two non-residents sleeping inside by the main door, they had no wish to leave their home, adding “I will be staying. I won’t let anybody bully me or walk over me.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service has been shown images which show a man and a woman asleep on the floor in a communal area, and also pictures of drug paraphernalia. Two of the building’s windows are currently boarded up.
Another Regency House resident, who asked not to be named, claimed police raided the building “at least once a week”. The man also alleged drug activity took place. He cited other concerns.
“It’s the shouting through the night, especially at weekends. People are shouting up to the building. From 2am to 6am on a Friday night it’s a total no-go.”
The resident said he contacted Caredig regularly but that the situation hadn’t improved.
He claimed the building was in a dirty state, with flies sometimes in swarms in areas of it.
“It’s a filthy, awful place,” he said.
Asked to respond to the issues raised, a Caredig spokeswoman said: “Caredig has, and will continue to, proactively manage incidences of anti-social behaviour in the homes we provide.
“We regularly visit Regency House to speak to residents, and where concerns have been raised we have responded in writing to all tenants, setting out the actions we have taken.
“We engage collaboratively with the police on these matters, and also encourage tenants to report anti-social behaviour to the police.
“Where the incidents reported have led to a breach of the conditions of a tenancy, we have used the legal remedies available to us.”
She added: “We will be working with tenants to consider what further steps we can take to improve security and access to the building.
“We work hard to maintain levels of cleanliness in the communal areas of the building and, in addition to our regular site inspections, we have CCTV cameras installed so that instances of fly-tipping and littering can be responded to.”
South Wales Police inspector Mark Watkins said: “In recent months we’ve had a number of calls of concern to Regency House both from Caredig housing association and residents.
“Those concerns mainly relate to suspected drug related activity and anti-social behaviour, all of which impacts on the residents and the local community.
“We have made seven arrests in relation to drug activity in Regency House over the past eight weeks. All seven cases are ongoing and those arrested have been released pending further enquiries.
“Residents should expect to see officers conducting additional patrols and visits to the address over the coming weeks as we work in partnership with Caredig housing association, who have been extremely supportive of police action taken to address residents’ concerns.”
Cllr David Phillips, whose Castle ward includes Christina Street, said he had noticed the “grubby” state of Regency House while out leafleting a while ago.
He said he has been raising residents’ concerns with Caredig and police.
“It has been going on a long time,” he said.
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