Ever since the early 2000s, flats have proved that despite being a solution with countless issues, there is always a way to get by. 

“We can’t do anything about it. They intimidate us, it’s hard to simply confront a group of adults.”

“They’ve always been there, we just had to get used to it”. 

But there is one overgrowing issue that continues to prevail and it seems like whatever the council tries to do, it always finds a way to crawl right back into the vicinity. What is that issue you may ask? Loitering: The act of standing or waiting around with no apparent reason - Specifically occurring in the stairways, lifts and gates. 

In North-East London, the flats continue to be overrun with constant vandalism, graffiti and tags. In a particular flat in the borders of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, continues to be cleaned, vandalised, cleaned, vandalised and so on as the cycle never ends. Young adults aged 18-21 usually wait outside the intercom and gates to wait for actual residents to let themselves in. Occasionally they would reside in front of the gates holding them open until more of their ‘mates’ enter the premises. Slowly but eventually they make their way up the stairs in pairs to avoid the sight of a big group by someone who lives in the flat. Soon, they find an idle location for them to reside. For countless hours they block the stairways for them to drink, smoke and loudly concur. Not only do people urinate and spill their drinks all over the stairway, they also spray paint and leave their food and confectionary leftovers all over. 

Now, despite the use of writing notes on the front of the building and fixing security cameras in the Lift area, this issue is re-occurring and hasn’t been solved in the slightest. Residents have felt unsafe and uncomfortable in their own staircases. The residents refuse to use the stairs because of its dirtiness and awful stench. It seems as if the loitering adults are the ones who pay rent in the flat as they’ve surely made their mark. 

Now, sadly, this issue probably and unfortunately will not be lost in the blink of an eye. But we can only urge the council to regularly observe the outskirts of flats and the insides of the staircases to monitor foreign behaviour from people who aren’t residents. 

“I have hope, I guess, but the way they react these days probably makes me the only one who believes the council can truly take action.” 

-Mohammed Rebut Kamal.