A Barking mum is barking mad with the council after she came home from a 12-hour shift to discover her flat had flooded due to a leak that was pouring through her ceiling “like a tap”.
Posja Darko Boateng had just finished a gruelling shift as a nurse on the evening of Sunday, September 11 when she noticed a puddle of water had formed at the bottom of her front door.
She said: “I could hear the fire alarm going off, and I could see water at the front of my doorstep. I opened the door and there was water coming through the ceiling, into the hallway and the entrance of the living room.
“I didn’t know what to do so I called the fire brigade – they came out but they couldn’t get access upstairs.”
The leak was pouring through the electrics of Posja’s home and had soaked through her belongings. The mum-of-one contacted Barking and Dagenham Council’s emergency repairs team, but was allegedly told no one could be sent out.
For two days, Posja and her daughter, aged one, went to sleep at her aunt’s house as she tried to get in touch with the council.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “From what I can remember [the council asked] for someone to come out as soon as possible. But I had to keep calling and chasing it up. I was told all sorts of stories.”
On Monday, September 12, Posja returned to check on the leak, which had got a lot worse and was destroying her one-bed flat.
She added: “It was like a tap just running through the ceiling. My whole living room was wet, it just got worse and worse.”
She claims the council were unable to send someone out until mid-morning on Tuesday and it booked her into a Travelodge. Posja stayed in the hotel for another five nights as she felt it was too unsafe to go back with her baby daughter. She claims she lost out on a week’s pay at work as she had to be present for someone to visit her flat.
She said: “What upsets me about this whole situation is if only someone would have come [from the emergency repairs team] this would have all been avoided.
“On top of that, no one made contact with me. I had to take time out of my work and if I don’t show up to work I don’t get paid. I missed out on a whole week of work because I needed someone to come into the property to have a look and see what was actually going on.”
Posja was given a dehumidifier by the council and is still waiting for her ceiling, which has been damaged by the leak, to be fixed, but claims the council is not replacing her wooden floor, which has been destroyed from water damage.
Though the source of the leak hasn’t been confirmed, Posja believes it is from faulty pipes which run through the block of flats. She said: “I think it’s from the pipes. Once one person’s toilet gets blocked, it affects everyone.”
Posja is pushing for legal action following the lack of support from the emergency repairs team and claims her living room is still “soaking wet”. She said: “It’s just traumatising, it’s just too much – if only someone came out to help just to stop the leakage this could have been all avoided.
“It’s fine for you to be ignoring me but what you don’t know is that I am going to take legal action because this is pure negligence. I have lived here for a good 10 years and I’ve had [the] out-of-hours [team] come out to unblock my toilet in the middle of the night.
“So why couldn’t you send someone out for this particular incident? It’s just beyond me. I don’t understand it.”
A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesperson said: “The council was notified of the situation on September 11 but were advised by the fire service not to go into the properties because of security concerns on the night.
“Council officers were on site on the Monday after the flooding remaining there for most of the day while the tenant was placed in temporary accommodation so that work could be undertaken on the property.
“Work was carried out to remove water and sewage and carry out clearance of the affected property. Humidifiers were provided and checks on the electrics carried out so the tenant could return to the property.
“Throughout the process officers were in touch with the tenant by phone and text and this continues to date to keep her informed of planned works.
“The tenant has been sent an insurance claim form and we are expecting that to be returned to the council’s insurance service while works on the ceiling have been planned and the tenant notified.”
The London Fire Brigade has been contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service for comment.