A woman living with a huge hole in her ceiling for over a month after first reporting a leak three years ago says she can’t cope with the stress anymore.
Amanda, a carer living in a block of flats in Cardiff, Wales, says water coming through the cavity has left her carpets “soaking”.
She said there has been a leak since 2019, a year after she moved in, leaving her flat with damp and mould.
Recalling the moment she first discovered the issue after coming home from work in September 2019, Amanda said: “My floor was absolutely soaking in the living room and there was literally water dripping through my ceiling.
“Every time it rained I was literally having water running down my wall by the electric sockets.”
Cadwyn Housing Association, which runs the flat, carried out some work on Amanda’s roof in 2020 and in 2021, but the repairs failed to completely fix the leak.
They planned to carry out more work, but discovered an active seagull in the roof, which is protected from removal by law.
Their licence request to remove the nest was refused, so the planned works were delayed until the gulls had left the nest.
Cadwyn said that in the meantime it offered to fit a water diverter in Amanda’s property in July this year, to catch and contain any water leak, but it claimed she refused this. However, Amanda claimed she didn’t refuse and no one turned up.
“On [July 8] they were meant to come around and fit a water diverter. I asked them if they could come anytime after 2pm because she works nights. 4pm the phone rang – they cancelled,” she said.
She added that someone did eventually come round to fit the diverter on July 13, and as the ceiling was so rotten from all the water damage he was able to “punch” a hole through it.
“He called his manager out and they were supposed to come back on [July 14] but they didn’t – so I was left with the hole in my ceiling,” she said.
She added the amount of water that comes through depends on the amount of rain, but it’s enough that her carpets are left soaking and there is mould under her coffee table.
She has been forced to put an old curtain down to stop the water going on the carpets, as well as and takeaway containers under the hole.
Cadwyn will be taking the whole ceiling and roof apart for replacement on August 30 after discovering the seagulls had left in a recent visit to the property.
Amanda said: “I told them they have got to do it at the same time because I can’t cope with the stress anymore.”
Asked what the leakage has been like to live with, she said: “My mental health isn’t very good anyway. I have been on the phone in tears with them and they still haven’t done anything.
“It is like every time it rains and I am not in, I am thinking: ‘What am I going home to?’ Or making sure that I have got the stuff ready if it does rain to put it in place.
“I have had nightmares of my ceiling just falling down. Obviously I am feeling isolated because I don’t want [people] to come in and see the state of it.”
When asked why she hasn’t moved, she said: “I have moved enough. I have moved a tonne of times over my life. It is the first time in my life I am actually settled.”
David Pettitt, assistant director of Homes at Cadwyn Housing Association, said: “We apologise unreservedly for the distress and inconvenience caused to [Amanda]. Work on [Amanda’s] roof had originally been undertaken and completed in the summer of 2020.
“However, we were made aware of a reoccurring issue with the flat roof above [Amanda’s] home at end of 2021 and have since then undertaken numerous repairs via our sub-contractor to try and resolve the problem.
“We very quickly realised that the repairs had not completely fixed the leak, and that further works would be needed.
“During an inspection of the roof by our surveyor, we recently discovered an active seagull nest.
“Since gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, National Resource Wales were subsequently informed, whereby a license was requested.
“Despite stressing that there was a water ingress issue to a roof on one of Cadwyn’s properties, the licence was declined.
“This has caused a delay in the commencement of our Planned Roof replacement works, with no works being allowed until the gulls had left the nest.
“In the meantime, Cadwyn offered to install a water diverter Kit at the property as a temporary measure to catch and contain any water leaks that occurred while we were waiting to replace the flat roof, however [Amanda] declined this offer when our operatives called to fit the kit on 13th July 2022.”
He added: “On a visit to the property very recently, it appears that the seagulls have now abandoned the nest meaning that the roof works could now be scheduled to begin. [Amanda] was therefore contacted regarding a start date for the replacement roof, and on the request of [Amanda], a start date of 30th August was agreed.
“At the same time of the roofing works being undertaken, Cadwyn will also carry out all internal works that are required, including professionally cleaning carpets and rugs affected by the roof leak. Cadwyn will also reimburse [Amanda] for any personal possessions that may have been damaged by the leak.
“We are so very sorry for the length of time [Amanda] has had to wait for her roof to be repaired.”