The independent London newspaper

I was the lucky one, I just had my room and cellar flooded

09 March, 2018

• LIKE many people, I fell foul of the weather when pipes ruptured in my neighbour’s flat, flooding the house.

The neighbour tried to contact our landlord, Clarion Housing, when she realised the water wasn’t working properly. She couldn’t get through.

That was on Friday. The flooding happened in the early hours of Saturday, with water running through four floors, from the roof space to the basement.

I have ruined ceilings, saturated carpets and rugs and my chairs were soaked. I phoned the landlord yesterday. They will send someone out to look at the ceiling in 10 days.

But they can’t replace my carpets because “it’s (your) responsibility to have insurance”. I’m told to just let them dry out.

The water I collected in buckets was a filthy brown colour with foam on it. It had run through the entirety of a tall Victorian house.

What will happen when the carpet and chairs dry out and I’m left with mould spores growing in them? I have asthma. I’m also getting over the Aussie flu and still have congestion in my lungs.

Why didn’t I take out insurance? Because my only income is a very small work pension. After I pay my rent I have barely enough for utilities and food. There is no money for fripperies like clothes or haircuts, let alone insurance.

I worked all my life and single-handedly brought up children and grandchildren, and acted as carer to my late mother, saving the state thousands of pounds in social care. I am now elderly and vulnerable.

My landlord’s last accounts showed them sitting on £12million of reserves. I find it reprehensible that a publicly-funded body can wash its hands of any responsibility for damage done in its badly-maintained homes.

Circle Housing, now in its new incarnation of Clarion Housing, will never change. Still the same money-grubbing, still the same shoddy treatment of tenants, still the utter disregard for any planned maintenance of properties.

And yes, I guess I am one of the lucky ones. I didn’t lose water and heating. I just had one room and my cellar flooded. How many more of us with limited means are there wondering where they’ll find the money to replace their furnishings?

Or worrying about the health hazard to themselves, their kids and elderly relatives from spores? And listening to the echo of those blasé words: “But you should have had insurance…” Social landlord, my arse.



Share this story

Post a comment