24th Nov, 2020

Longbridge woman slams housing association over broken shower and pest problem lasting months

Tristan Harris 31st Jul, 2020 Updated: 31st Jul, 2020

A LONGBRIDGE tenant claims a housing association and Birmingham City Council have failed to sort out a broken shower and a pest problem at her property which she says have been plaguing her for months.

Josephine Rogers who is 70 and lives at Oak Court, Bristol Road South, said she felt frustrated as nothing was being done to rectify the issues.

She said she reported the shower problem to her housing association Clarion towards the end of last year and the pest problem, which had been going on since December, in January.

She said when nothing was done she called out pest control experts at her own expense who diagnosed the problem as drain flies.

She said: “They were coming out of the shower tray in the bathroom, the sink and the sink in the kitchen – they were everywhere – all over my food preparation areas and fridge.”

She said several people had been out but no-one had managed to resolve the problem.

She said the shower has now been broken for eight months and again various people had been out and parts (pumps and other items) had been ordered but no-one had fixed it.

Mrs Rogers said she has underlying health problems, including liver disease, brittle bones, osteo arthritis and high blood pressure – none of which are being helped by the condition of her accommodation.

She said she feels because there are no washing facilities available and because of the drain flies her flat has become a health hazard and is unfit for her to live in.

A Clarion Housing Group spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority and we are continuing to carry out emergency and urgent repairs.

“Our operatives have attended several times since December however at each visit have found the shower and pump to be in full working order.

“Most recently, we received a report on May 26, 2020, and our operative attended within 24 hours to address the issue.

“However, when they attended they found that the shower and pump again were in full working order.

“We have been working with the local authority’s environmental health team on the reports of an infestation but neither they nor us have been able to find any evidence of this.”

When we told Mrs Roberts this she refuted Clarion claims that the shower was working.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “We confirm Ms Rogers’ concerns have been investigated by an environmental health officer who visited her home twice following calls about mould mites inside the property.

“While no evidence of the reported infestation was found, the tenant’s concerns were raised with Clarion, who were advised to carry out general drain maintenance and to ensure bin storage units were regularly inspected.”

As well as contacting both Clarion and Birmingham City Council for comment we also contacted The Tenants Voice which offers help, support and guidance for those renting.

A representative of the organisation told us: “The Environmental Health Officer hase an obligation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 S79/80 to investigate hazards to health in rented property.

“The safety of homes is assessed by reference to the Homes Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which sets out 29 hazards to health.”

He said in his view a shower not working for eight months would constitute a ‘category one health hazard’ in the HHSRS.

He added a landlord had a repairing obligation under Sections 11 and 9A of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and could be face legal action to ensure that repairs were completed.

“The Environmental Health Officer (EHO) has the power to inspect and where appropriate serve an improvement notice on the landlord to ensure that works of repair are undertaken in a timely fashion.

“The EHO has a legal obligation to inspect under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 once a complaint has been made and can be reported to the Local Government Ombudsman if they unreasonably fail to act on an actionable issue.”

Mrs Rogers claimed she had contacted Birmingham City Council’s EHO to request they come out to see the shower and force Clarion to get the repairs done but said she was told it was not possible.

She added she would now be contacting the Housing Ombudsman.

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