Jardins d’Apolline: 60 affected so far
Water damage, mould, fungus. A quarter of the apartments reserved for Monegasques have been or currently are affected. The state has already spent 700,000 euros.
“The situation at Apolline Gardens has only worsened. We have been living in uncertainty for months. Our accommodation is our privacy. And already sixty apartments have been or are being damaged with repeated water damage, moulds, fungi. It requires immediate attention. Mymain concerns are health and rehousing.”
Last Wednesday, at the Maison des Associations, Franck Lobon and Céline Lubert, on a Facebook page, opened discussions between forty residents of La Condamine and two deputy directors of Works And Domains. On the agenda: to draw up an inventory of the apartments dedicated to Monegasques and delivered by Satri Group Marzocco in 2013. It was not a matter of complaining about the scandal, but of describing the everyday life of the tenants.
“We are taking a constructive step by initiating this first meeting with you, our interlocutors at State level,”explained Franck Lobono. “There are a lot of concerns. The main problem is water piping. We are all aware of the infiltration into floors and walls. These are emergency situations. There are many people presently affected. And we know that in the short-term, others maybe affected. We’ll have to do something quickly.”
On their end, state services have not underestimated the extent of the disaster. For example, they have already paid 700,000 euros towards repairs. “Experts went round in circles for several months,” explains Alain Laurent, deputy director of Public Works. “There is a problem of compatibility of certain pipes with certain structures. The standards have been respected. But there is a conjunction in this building between incompatible materials.There have been several assumptions in the past two years. We have had fairly constructive meetings. The first phase of repairs should take place at the end of 2017. There should eventually be a second phase to double the amount of pipes in each apartment. But the plan is not yet finalised. We are not sure how we will solve the problem and have not yet fully defined the necessary procedures.”
“There is no problem with the structure of the building.” Magali Vassalo notes: “We are trying to manage the losses as well as possible. We expect to provide you with specific answers by mid-December.”
To silence the negative rumours: There is no problem with the structure of the building. In order to find permanent solutions for the four blocks of the La Condamine building, the tenants have decided to set up an association. They want to be able to live peacefully. “These are social, health, technical and financial problems. They must therefore be managed at the governmental level. We expect concrete solutions, such as a stock of furnished apartments in Monaco,”said Franck Lobono.
Words from the Residents
-“I had four cases of water damage. In the kitchen I can hear water flowing. How can a state-controlled building have so many construction defects?”
-“We pay our rent every month. What bothers me is how the problem is being handled. This situation affects people on a daily basis. They proposed, by mail, for us to move twice in four months. The way the subject was treated is not appropriate.”
-“When we write to the ‘Domains’, we never receive a reply. We do not really have an interlocutor, or even the trustee.”
-“A temporary relocation was proposed to me in an apartment in which I could not put my furniture in, with the same rent. I applied for a new unit. And I received a letter, two days ago, saying that my request was not taken into account. It is unbearable.”
-“In spite of all the anti-fungal treatments, it always comes back.”
-“Why do they continue to lease apartments? I’m a new tenant. I moved in early August.”
-“There is a humane factor to take into account. I worry about the possible health consequences because of mould and fungi that I had in my house. I called the DASS. I was told, “Do not worry.” They did not inform me about the health risks. I am a doctor in biology. I know there is a major health risk for people with immune deficiencies.”
-“All my walls are mouldy, without exception.”
-“I have a friend who had repairs in his house which lasted six months.”
-“If they cannot find a solution, I’ll grab a tent and go camping on palace square. “At Helios, there are also problems.”
Government responds to complaints
While we were preparing the article for publication the government organized a press briefing
in order to made the following clarifications of the situation.
In order to manage the problems related to the faulty pipework in the building in the best possible way, and in response to the wishes of the inhabitants, the Government has appointed a single contact person, Ms. Elodie Boyer, who will coordinate the rehabilitation of the dwellings. In this regard, an e-mail address, email@example.com has been specially created.
Additionally, persons who have to leave their accommodation for the duration of the work will be accommodated free of charge during this period (with retrospective effect if rent has already been paid). The State will cover removal costs and will facilitate all the necessary arrangements, including with regard to services. If part of the apartment is not habitable, but rehousing is not necessary, a 50% rent reduction will be granted.
Finally, in the case of a right-to-buy contract (Contrat Habitation Capitalisation), occupants will be exempted from charges for the duration of the work and the deadline for payment will be postponed until the end of this work. If rehousing is essential, the inhabitants will be able to remain in the new apartment they occupy, if they wish so.
The Government fully assumes its responsibilities and will meet the needs of the various inhabitants of the building in the best possible manner. No solution will be imposed and the well-being of the occupants will be the only criterion taken into account in the decision-making process.
Rehabilitation work on the faulty pipes will start in the first quarter of 2017 and will continue for a maximum of six months. The aim of the work is to provide a long-term solution. Residents will be given a regular update on the quality of drinking water and the air inside the building.