Tenant taking Southwark council to tribunal over heating and hot water failures

By Alexandra Warren

A man is seeking money back from Southwark council because of four years of hot water and heating problems – after winning at tribunal earlier this year.

Murat Kaya has suffered from almost constant heating and hot water issues since a new boiler house was installed by the council in 2016 at his property in Eugene Cotter House, Beckway Street, Walworth.

The housing tribunal awarded Kaya £2,872.14 back from his contribution to the installation of the boiler house and £775.35 back from the heating and hot water part of the service charge from 2016-2017.

Kaya is now hoping to have the same 75% reduction applied to heating charges from 2017 until the system is working properly.

Kaya said: “What’s affected my life is going home every day and not knowing if you’re going to have heating and hot water, whether you can have a bath or whether you’re going to wake up to heating and hot water.

“We’re still stressed because we’ve come to winter again, and we don’t know whether it’s going to work properly.

“I’m not going to give money to a person who I’m not getting a service from.”

Kaya has written to Southwark council twice to request the continuation of reduced charges but was refused both times.

He is now looking to go back to tribunal with the help of Josef Cannon and Rowan Clapp from Cornerstone Barristers, who have taken the case pro bono.

His application also included an elderly couple living next door, who were awarded the same amount at the previous tribunal.

All 167 flats on the estate including Eugene Cotter House have had issues since the installation of the new boiler house.

The mismatch between the boiler systems and the pipe system and the age of the pipes has meant the hot water has not been able to feed through consistently to the flats.

Contractors claimed the problems were caused by a build-up of dirt and slugs in the pipes but flushing them failed to fix the problem.

Multiple callouts to solve heating and hot water issues has also increased the cost of the service charge for residents.

A council spokesperson said: “There were issues with the heating service for a period, despite the council’s efforts to sort the problem out and we are sorry that this had to be resolved in this way.

First Tier Tribunal cases are unique to each individual complaint and do not represent issues in a wider scheme of things, but we accept the decision in this case, and will make every effort to ensure this situation doesn’t arise again.”


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