Barnet Homes has been forced to apologise after its contractors left many families living in sub-zero temperatures when their boilers broke.

The organisation cancelled its contract with gas providers MITIE, and has since been flooded with complaints about poor service.

Tenants claimed they were being made to wait “extortionate” lengths of time for faulty boilers to be repaired, and gas engineers rarely turned up at the times they were supposed to.

Their two-year parternership was terminated by mutual agreement last year.

In a statement to the Times Series, Barnet Homes said it had been left “extremely disappointed” with MITIE.

It added: “We have been experiencing serious problems with their service and we have escalated this to the highest level of their organisation.”

New contractors Robert Heath Heating are due to take over services from MITIE on March 1, although their contract will not officially begin until April 1.

The statement went on: “We are looking forward to working with them, and feel very confident they will be able to deliver the high standard of gas services to residents we expect and demand.

“They are taking over services from MITIE in March, to ensure an improvement in services to our residents.”

The news comes after a broken boiler forced Gary Stevens, of Norfolk Close, East Finchley, to move in with his parents as temperatures in his flat plunged below freezing.

Days after reporting the problem, which began on Christmas Eve, he came home to find his kitchen filled with thick plumes of smoke and feared the boiler would explode.

The 24-year-old father claims he has spoken to Barnet Homes almost daily - but on numerous occasions the gas engineers failed to turn up during the specified time slot.

He said: “It’s getting beyond a joke now. I’m shivering and have to wrap up really warm whenever I come into the flat because it’s so cold.

“My four-year-old son can’t come and visit me either. It’s making me miserable. I’m so stressed out about it.”

Barnet Homes has since apologised to Mr Stevens and is working to resolve the issue today (Wednesday).

Just before Christmas, young mother Anne-Marie Gibbins, of Underhill Court, High Barnet, spent nine days without heating or hot water before the problem was fixed.

After it was turned on, she was furious her children Connor, nearly two, and Rosie, six months, were left in wintry temperatures for so long.

At the time, the 26-year-old said: “It is a very stressful and testing time. I am angry and upset. This could have wrecked my Christmas.”

The Times Series is awaiting comment from MITIE.