NEIGHBOURS fed up of being “strung along” as they enter their second month without gas are taking their case to court.
More than 240 homes in Strawberry Vale, East Finchley, are furious at being ordered to go electric as a result of a fault with the gas meter.
Some residents have been forced to rent second homes as they are unable to use their ovens and hobs, while a few have been left without heating and hot water.
They now hope a judge will order housing association Peabody to switch the gas back on or tell them why this cannot be done and hold a consultation before switching to electric.
Law firm Hodge Jones & Allen started proceedings on Friday and the case will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 4.
Laurence Williamson, the chairman of the Strawberry Vale Residents’ Association, said: “It’s an extraordinary situation. I feel like we are back in Victorian London.
“We are in limbo, with no idea what is going on. We feel we have no option to take legal action.”
Peabody has offered to give everyone £500 to buy a new hob – but this is little consolation to residents who say going electric could triple their bills.
Mr Williamson, who lives with his son, Ollie, 29, added: “We have a legal right to use gas.
“It feels like we are being strung along.”
Residents say the gas supply was renewed in 2009 and they have had no explanation as to why it was suddenly turned off.
Meanwhile people have been given hotplates to cook on, but these have been described as “dangerous” and “useless”.
As a result, the Red Cross has been delivering food to the nearby Green Man Community Centre.
Dave Green, 70, who cares for his wife, Janet, 68, who has dementia, said: “It has been hell trying to cook on two little rings.
“It is unbelievable. I thought it would go on for a week or two, but it’s going on forever.”
Each household has been offered a £100 Tesco voucher as compensation, but residents called this is “laughable”.
Mother-of-five Atike Gorul, who has not had heating or hot water, was only given an electric shower by Peabody on Friday.
For the first time in a month, her family were able to enjoy a hot shower – but she still faces struggling to cook enough food for her children on the hotplates.
Dr Magdy Mohamed, of Nursery Road, has been forced to rent a second house for £1,300 a month.
His daughters, Mariam, two and Yusra, six months, fell unwell in the “freezing” house and bath time meant heating up kettles of water.
He said: “I am now having to pay my mortgage on top of rent – but I have to protect my children and my wife until this is sorted out.”
Lawyer Shona Perkins has also been without heating and hot water. She said: “It is outrageous. This whole thing is scandalous. We have had enough.”
Jayesh Kunwardia, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “There has been no consultation by Peabody Trust with residents on the decision to move from gas to electric.
“Many are on low incomes and must choose between running up unaffordable bills or going without basic cooking facilities.”
Sandra Skeete, executive director for housing, spokeswoman for Peabody, said: “We apologise for the continuing disruption at Strawberry Vale, which is primarily affecting cooking appliances.
“All residents have been offered temporary electric cookers and hobs while we investigate the issue.
“We have provided electric heaters to those that need them, and have offered to make special arrangements to the few households that have experienced problems with their heating/hot water.”