Kensington & ChelseaNews

Grandmother forced to wash with kettle after being left without hot water and heating for weeks

By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter

A grandmother and care worker living in a run down London house has been left without hot water and heating for almost a month after suffering from constant leaks.

Lorraine King, 48, and her three children have had to wash themselves with hot water from a kettle since their West London home was damaged by a leak on Boxing Day.

She said: “I’ve got to either boil the kettle or even go and take a bath at my daughter’s which is miles away. It’s not convenient.”

Ms King, who works in care, said her home, owned by Catalyst Housing association, has flooded at least once a year since she moved in.

She said: “It’s happened in the front room three times and also the bedroom, bathroom, toilet. It’s just constant.”

She said the latest incident happened on Boxing Day, when water flooded through the ceiling of her front room where her granddaughter was playing.

Leaks in Lorraine King’s home (credit: Hannah Neary)

Ms King lives with her son and two daughters and they are still waiting for their home to be fixed with no advice on when it will be sorted.

She also said multiple maintenance workers have come to the property since but no one has fixed the issue and there seems to be poor communication across the company.

She added: “The repairs take extra long to do.  The guy left us with no hot water or heating.

“Then they contacted me two weeks later and told me they weren’t aware we didn’t have any heating.

“They gave us these little oil heaters, which don’t heat up the room at all. The whole house really does smell because of the flood.”

According to Ms King, someone came to look at the problem weeks later and turned the electricity back on within a few hours another leak happened.

She said: “The whole thing was flooded. There was no advice. I’ve still got no heating or hot water.

“Every contractor who comes says they don’t know anything about it and they’ve just come to assess it. Clearly they’re not communicating.”

Ms King said she is worried a family member could be electrocuted because of the damp conditions and the stress of the repeated leaks is affecting her mental health.

She said: “It’s happened so much, I’m now having mental health issues and I never had this before I moved into the property.

“On Saturday, I had a total meltdown because I just couldn’t handle it any more and I’ve still got to come into work.

“I can’t function properly because I don’t feel myself.”

Ms King was on the housing waiting list for 20 years before she moved into her first permanent home in Kensington and Chelsea in 2010.

But she said the new build has had so many defects she almost cannot stand to live there any more.

She said: “Even if they repair it I’m not comfortable in that property because I’ll decorate it and it’ll be ruined again.”

A spokesman for Catalyst said: “We are sorry for the inconvenience and distress caused.

“We believe the source of the current problem is a leaking communal heating pipe in Ms King’s ceiling.

“To permanently fix the pipe, we need to take down the ceiling, and we are speaking with Ms King to arrange for adequate access to her home and enough time to complete the work and replace and redecorate her ceiling.”

Pictured top: Lorraine King (credit: Hannah Neary)

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