Jump to content


Housing Association property flooding


Recommended Posts

Hi,

hoping someone can help, although things seem all over the place and not sure where to start. I tried getting help from another site but they weren't too helpful.

 

I moved into a HA property (temporary accommodation) almost two years ago on a homelessness scheme and allocated a support worker and basically its been pretty much hell since then, from having property I left there stolen, to having rats (which took several weeks if not months to sort out), threats by another tenant in the building, having mail stolen, an ongoing boiler issue which remained unresolved at the time of the flooding and some other stuff which I gave up on reporting such as damp.

 

Last month during the heavy rains, my basement flat flooded (mainly via the toilet). Eventually an emergency plumber arrived and had to pump out the water built up on the outside drain which was blocked. It had been blocked for quite a long period of time with the HA doing nothing about it, despite complaints from others.

 

The water company have been nothing short of unhelpful and sticking to their explanation of what happened as long as it absolves them of any liability, including claiming in their notes (when an engineer attended the day after) that he checked the drains using CCTV and there was no blockage! only for them to alter the notes after I spoke to a senior engineer and told him this was impossible.

 

I have been moved into temporary, unfurnished accommodation and have extra costs associated including travel. My Housing officer has already told me they will not compensate me but I don't want to accept this.

 

It's also been almost 3 weeks since the flooding and the property has not been disinfected but tomorrow I am due to go there to try and box up whatever is salvageable although I am now not sure if, given the time, that items which weren't directly   touched by the water will be safe to take, so I would appreciate any advice on this.

 

This whole episode has really taken it's toll on me and I am wondering where I should start. Should I put in a complaint to the HA before attempting any legal action? what kind of evidence would I need.

 

I think section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 seems to cover this issue but I am unsure.

 

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

Irrespective that you were given this property via the homelessness scheme in your area you would more than likely have signed an agreement for that property so forget about the homelessness an you then became a Tenant of that Housing Association and have the exact same rights as any other tenant of that Housing Association.

 

I do have compassion for you in this situation as you have been trying to get your life back in order and it as been one obsticale after another then this flooding which due to it being raw sewege has more than likely detroyed what belonging you had.

 

What I am going to say now you won't like to hear but with Housing Associations the contents of a Tenants property is for that individual Tenant to ensure they have proper 'Contents Insurance' for situations similar to yours and most Housing Association should advertise/let Tenants know this responsibility.

 

Were you ever informed of the above requirement when viewing/signing the agreement for the property by either the Housing Association/Support Worker? (if the answer is NO then bear than in mind as this is ammunition to use against them)

 

Now anytime you write to the Housing Association on this matter you make sure and title your letter as a 'Formal Complaint' and to keep a good paper trail of everything and ask the post office for Free Proof of Posting.

 

You also need to make sure that you take photographic evidence of all the damage to the property not just your own belongings.

 

Now as state you now need to make a Formal Complaint in writing explaining everything that and what you have been told to date and that you require the following:

 

1. Clarification as to how many complaints have been made in your building due to drainage issues whether it be an individual properties toilets/sinks/baths/showers/kitchen sinks/washing machine drainage etc. 
( just to clarify you ar not asking for that individual/Tenant data but the statistics of how many compliaint's on this matter)
2. Clarification as to who is responsible for the Drainage outside the building (refer to the exact blockage area outside the building) whether it is the Housing Association/Council/Water Company.
3. Copy of your Compensation Policy (not the leaflet)
4. Copy of your Complaints Policy (not the leaflet)
5. Copy of your Customer service Charter/Policy (not the leaflet)
6. Copy of your Public Liability Insurance (not the leaflet)
7. Copy of Repairs an Maintenance Policy (not the leaflet)

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Stu,

 

thanks for responding and the advice, as troubling as it feels right now, I do want to have a go at the process so will have a go at a complaint, and hope you can have a read over before I send it.

 

I attended the property today with the intention of salvaging what I could, but there were so many flies and the smell so bad, someone mentioned that it's risky due to bacteria growth or something and i may have been able to save more stuff if the place had been disinfected much sooner. So just grabbed my TV and made the tough decision to let the rest go rather than risk future issues arising.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

You are more than welcome to the advice as I know your situation is difficult at this time.

 

If you wish to post your written complaint here for me to have a wee look over it that is not a problem at all just make sure and put in it what I advised as well as what has happened.

 

Whoever advised you about the risk due to bacteria since this was raw sewage and flood water they are correct but even if they did get in sooner it would still have been too late if raw sewage was in the flood water those items/belongings would have been contaminated.

 

I assume your support worker is fully aware of your present situation as well?

 

 

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this Stu,

 

I went and did an inventory with Housing officer today and all seemed to go ok...but of course the hard part is to come.

 

It seems like so much is going on now and it's getting a bit confusing! Apparently the water company have been busted in the excuse they gave for the main overflow and other HA's (either them or their insurers) are making a claim against them. 

 

Having been caught outside the property today (where heavy rainfall began again) there was another mini river above the drainage, so it still has not been repaired, and apparently no one (contractors) can or will access the manhole which is located in a utility cupboard (under floorboards and carpet) and the waste has not been cleared from there either.

 

Seems like there is so much more information out there, which I need to try and get hold of and then digest.

 

As for the support worker, they are aware, and apart from the early advice that i find solicitor, that's the last I have heard and my calls go unanswered .

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I submitted a complaint including the question Stu suggested (with the help of someone, who isn't a solicitor) and it's been over 5 weeks and I have been ignored.

 

Any suggestions on my next step would be appreciated

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

You follow it up with another letter ensuring to get free proof of posting from the post office and you refer to your initial complaint letter and as to date you have had no response they have failed to comply with their own complaints procedure and this matter has passed the Stage 1 Time Limit and should now be treated as a Stage 2 Complaint.

 

 

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Link to post
Share on other sites

HI Stu,

 

I received a response from them today (stage 1)....they said they sent it on the 6th October but had an incorrect email address for me. As expected they have fobbed me off:

 

Dear Mr XXXXXX

Stage 1 Complaint – Ref: XXXX XXXX

I have reviewed your complaint at stage 1 of our internal complaint procedure and am writing to provide you with XXXX response.

You complained to XXXXXX about:
 

  • A sewage flood into your property which damaged personal items and caused you to be decanted.
  • You believe the property is susceptible to flooding and want to know why you weren’t warned when you moved in.


I understand that to resolve your complaint you are seeking:
 

  • Compensation and an apology in recognition of the manner in which the situation has been handled
  • Confirmation of how and when the outstanding works will be completed. 
  • Compensating for loss of personal items.
  • Copies of various policies including your tenancy agreement.


To investigate your complaint, I have looked at our repair records as well as the correspondence that has passed between you and our repairs contractor. This was reported to us on 26th July.  It was attended within 24hrs but they were unable to clear the blockage. This was sent back to Pyramid Plus and follow on works were arranged. I note in your letter of complaint that there was a previous flood in 2007 and you believe due to this, that the property is susceptible to flooding. We can only investigate service failures that have occurred in the past 6 months but we not deem two floods fourteen years apart would mean a property is susceptible to flooding. On this occasion, I have been informed that there were also multiple properties throughout the area that were also affected by sewage floods on the same day and the issue will have stemmed from the mains, which is not our responsibility.

Due to the extensive damage to the property, a decant was arranged for you so that all repairs can be carried out. It appears there was delay in starting works due to you deciding what you would like done with your personal items and also due to our insurance team investigating the issue. The first phase of these works should be taking place now but they are extensive and will take some time to complete.

As there had been no report of a blocked drain within the past 6 months, there would be no service failure on behalf of Pyramid Plus London in regard to not carrying out repairs, as they were not made aware of any ongoing issues. As mentioned previously, I am unable to investigate what happened with the repair back in 2007.

In regard to the damaged/destroyed personal items, the complaints team are unable to compensate for this. This would have to be dealt with by our insurance team who would look to reimburse if there has been a failure on our part. Please complete the attached form and return to [email protected]  should you wish to make a claim. You also state in your complaint that you were not told that you needed to take out home contents insurance when you moved in. Again, I would not be able to look into this as this happened 2 years ago but all tenants, regardless of private or social housing, are responsible for arranging their own contents insurance.

You also mentioned various things such as items that were stolen when you moved in and pests in the property. Again, as these fall outside of the scope of time we can investigate, I am unable to help any further with these issues.

You have also asked how many complaints have been made by residents in relation to this issue. Whilst I do understand that you are not asking for GDPR data, my system does not allow me to be able to find that information and we would have no obligation to share that with you even if I could access that information. I have attached our compensation policy, complaints policy and repairs policy as requested. We do not have a customer service charter but we do have customer standards which can be found on our website by following this link - XXXXXXXXXX

I do not access to your tenancy agreement and have asked your housing officer XXXX XXXXXXX to provide this to you.

Our Compensation Policy provides discretion to make offers of compensation where our service may have fallen below expected levels. In line with that policy, I would like to apologise for the time it has taken for the complaints team to contact you with a response to your complaint and make you a discretionary offer of £25 in line with our Compensation Policy. Please note, if there are arrears on your account, this amount will be offset against them.

The service area have appointed, XXXX XXXXXX, to oversee the remaining work and make sure it is completed to a good standard within the timeframe. Wes will act as your point of contact until the work is completed and can be contacted on XXXXX should you have any queries.   

This now completes XXXXX’s investigation of your complaint at Stage 1 of our internal complaints process. Please note that the complaint will be considered as closed on satisfactory completion of the promised works. I hope that this letter shows that your feedback has been fully considered and that you are satisfied with this response. I hope you feel that I have fully addressed the issues you have raised.  In line with my findings in this matter, I partially uphold your complaint.

If you feel this matter remains unresolved, you have the right to take it to the next stage of our Complaints Procedure. To do this please contact us at [email protected]XXXXX within 20 working days explaining why you remain dissatisfied and what you are seeking as an outcome. Your complaint will then be reviewed by either the Head of service or a Director at the next stage of the internal complaint procedure. If we do not receive further correspondence by 2nd November 2021, this case will be automatically closed.  Please ensure you quote reference XXXXXXX in all correspondence.

Once again I apologise on behalf of XXXXXXX for the inconvenience and delays you have been caused.

Kind regards

Edited by WanTToMoveOn
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

They are correct about Contents Insurance I am afraid but if you were never informed of this especially since you entered this via the Homelessness Scheme you can challenge but ultimately they will just pass the buck to there public liability insurer to deal with as you can see

from there response.

 

The way whoever is dealing with your complaint is more than likely a ruddy housing officer put in the complaint team for that response as they really should have put that response better except they have opened it up to be challenged

 

Could you clarify if the incorrect email address they sent to this to was an old one you had? 

 

 

Some of there response is well lacking so lets see how to challenge it:

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

As you as Dealing with my Formal Complaint at the Stage 1 Process of the Complaints Procedure I would expect you to have full access to your own Housing Associations Systems/Access to those responsible to give you the relevant information to respond properly to a Formal Complaint.

 

I was placed in this Tenancy via the Homelessness Scheme which if you investigated this complaint you should be aware of.

 

I find your response about damage/destroyed items that you would not be able to look into this as this happened 2 years ago but all tenants regardless of private or social housing are responsible for arranging their own contents insurance.

 

When was I made aware of this via the homelessness scheme on taking up this Tenancy Agreement as it should have been formally recorded on my Housing File that I was informed of this which you should have full access to?

 

I find the above response disgraceful as anyone taking up a Tenancy Agreement should be fully advised/informed of the benefit of taking out Contents Insurance which I was not and require clarification if any New Tenant as part of the process of taking up a New Tenancy Agreement with yourself is made fully aware/ of this?

 

You state multiple properties throughout the are were affected by sewage flood on the same day and the issue will have stemmed from the mains, which is not our responsibility.

 

I find the above statement far reaching as you have blamed the mains without providing any evidence this was the case to therefore state not your responsibility. So I required evidence from yourself of the statement that it was the Mains that was responsible for this sewage flooding?

 

Your response about how many complaints have been made by residents in relation to this issue is that your systems does not allow you to find that information is why?


Then to state you are under no obligation to share that information so you are therefore not being Open and Accountable nor have you stated as you should be fully aware that I can make this request under The Freedom of Information Act so why have you failed to inform me as a Service User of that and what is your process for making such a request under that Act?

 

Why does someone dealing with such a Formal Complaint not have access to my Tenancy Agreement as you should to deal with this complaint that you have had to ask the Housing Officer to provide this to myself, so how could you actually check my Tenancy Agreement that I signed or my Housing File to deal with this Complaint?

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

Please DO NOT send post#10 to Housing Association as may need amended once you up date your thread.

 

Now with the Original Email showed they spelled your name wrong in the Email Address Tut Tut Tut.

 

They may class this as Human Error but in fact that error with your Email Address is not Human Error but Maladministration (remember that for future if any lot try to use Human Error as an excuse) it is not it is Maladministration as the individual sending that email with all your Data should have checked the Email Address was correct before hitting SEND it is that simple.

 

Also if with that simple error you are unaware is someone on the internet may actually have that email address they sent that email to in error with your Data therefore your Data may be in the hands of an unknown individual due to there Maladministration which is a Data Protection Breach

 

Please wait as mention will need to amend Post#10 adding this into it as you have the evidence to back this up.

 

Could I ask which Housing Association this is? (please tell me it isn't Hanover Housing Association just my guess)

 

 

 

 

How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Stu,

thanks for this it's A2 dominion. They had an extra letter in between my first and second name. Last week i contacted the complaints team and they were to forward me a form to requested the logs of the repairs i had raised. I didn't receive this and they also had the wrong email address, so it appears that somebody inputted it incorrectly on their systems. 

I had also previously raised a complaint about the boiler issues and never received a response, so perhaps this is why. They did however, have my correct email address as the complaint was sent by email as well as post.

 

One thing that does bug me about their response is where she says: 

 

Due to the extensive damage to the property, a decant was arranged for you so that all repairs can be carried out. It appears there was delay in starting works due to you deciding what you would like done with your personal items and also due to our insurance team investigating the issue.

 

this is irritating as I would have liked to have salvaged things that the water did not touch asap, but they did nothing to clear the slush out meaning it was slippery and smelly and only arranged for boxes to be delivered 4 weeks later. When i went there to do this, a guy from the housing Association was there dealing with the flat next door and said due to the time passed it would be risky to salvage things, so I made the painful decision not to risk it and just took my tv.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the Formal complaint I submitted:

 

 

Dear Madam / Sir:

Having moved into the property in October 2019 there have been various issues which began with my belongings being stolen when I was told it was safe to leave them there whilst the carpets were installed so I could move in. I have then had to suffer with rats and mice in the property, a long-term issue with the boiler which made receiving hot water difficult as well as various other issues such as damp in the walls and rotting windows which I have been told could be caused by water leakage.

 

On the 12th July 2021 basement flats 1 and 2  XXXXX Road were flooded by sewage water due to or exacerbated by blockage in the property’s drainage. The blockage has been confirmed by two contactors after the flooding including CCR who were subcontracted by Pyramid Plus.

 

I have been informed that the blocked drainage has been an ongoing issue and has been reported in the past on numerous occasions by my neighbour either directly to A2 Dominion or via her Housing Association,  with no repairs done. I noticed a build-up of water over the drains a few days before the flooding and took photographic evidence, however I was unsure if this was a blockage which needed being reported

 

On 13th July 2021 I attempted to contact CCR, the subcontractors to disinfect the property so that I could attempt to salvage some of my possessions. I was told not to do this, and that A2 Dominion would deal with everything. Having been decanted, I was also informed that it would take around 4 weeks to renovate the property, so I am extremely concerned and disappointed that it has been over 6 weeks now and no renovation work, not even disinfection has begun at all!

 

By the time A2 Dominion arranged for boxes to be delivered so I could attempt to salvage some of my possessions on 6th August 2021, the property had still not been disinfected so it was deemed too risky to remove anything.

 

On 9th August 2021, I attended the property again with my housing officer to take an inventory of my possessions. Following heavy rainfall, I noticed a build up of water over the drainage, indicating that no repair work on the drainage had still been done.

 

Whilst I have been decanted, I was contacted by CCR whilst they were at the property and confirmed again that the drain was blocked but that they could not access the manhole which is inaccessible as it is located in the utility cupboard underneath carpets, floorboards, and uncleared sewage waste.

 

I have also been informed by my neighbour that whilst I have been decanted, DW plumbers attended following further water build up over the outside drain. The plumber cleared some of the debris from the drain and stated that both the manhole and toilets are blocked. I was informed that complaints have been made about these.

 

The flooding itself was completely avoidable. Prior to moving in, I was not informed of the previous sewage flooding in 2007 and that the property was vulnerable to this. I was not told that I needed contents insurance, nor that I would struggle to find an insurer who would insure against flooding without sky high premiums.

 

XXX from the XXXXX Residents association confirms that after the previous sewage flooding in 2007, Thames’s water offered to fit in, for free, FLIP Pumps to further protect the property. He also confirms that the FLIP pumps would not have protected against flooding due to the blockages. I have attached this letter.

 

My neighbour next door informs me that she has previously made complaints regarding the blocked drainage at the property, and I suspect that other residents within the building have reported problems caused by drainage issues and with 9 flats at XXXX Road which the drainage serves, A2 Dominion had a duty to maintain and repair the drainage.

 

Having been housed in the property from the Rough Sleepers initiative, I had hoped that this would be a place for me to rebuild my life. However, my time there has been littered with problems and issues which has hampered me moving forward, from losing all my possessions on two occasions now and having to suffer the other issues which have not been repaired in a timely manner. Further to this I have been decanted far away where I feel isolated in unfurnished property and have had extra costs as a result.

 

I do not feel I have been supported at all through the flooding situation and if it was not for the local resident’s association, I would have had no help at all.

 

Given that I have had to endure rats and mice, cold showers, sewage flooding my home and the loss of all of my belongings (twice!), I think it is reasonable to receive some compensation from A2 Dominion.  In particular, I am looking for funds to help me replace my belongings.  I think an amount equivalent to the loss of my belongings (conservatively valued as agreed with XXXX XXXX, housing officer) as well as a reasonable amount to account for the disrepairs in the property, additional costs and stress caused. Furthermore, I would like assurances that the property will be made habitable and renovated as soon as possible so that I can move back in and begin to rebuild my life once again.

 

Sincerely

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...