My landlord has left me in a leaky apartment for a year

I am a Southern Housing tenant and a year ago I reported a leak in my bedroom ceiling. It was after three months of calls and emails to United Living, Southern Housing’s repair service provider, that surveyors arrived and discovered a hole in the recently replaced roof. It took another four months of pushing before a repair was done. Within a week, the leak had gotten worse. A month later, the same contractor did the job again, but a week later he was leaking again. The contractor was called back. No job started.

By now it was damp in every room and I was optimistic when another roofing company came by to do a survey. However, two months later, nothing has been done. Living conditions are now intolerable, but I have been told that I would either have to move to a B&B indefinitely or, if I want to get a new flat, move out of my hometown.
SM, Brighton

This is shocking. A preventable oversight allowed her apartment to deteriorate so badly that she faced losing her home of 25 years. Your physical and mental health has also deteriorated due to humidity, mold and stress. United Living repeatedly relied on a contractor who was clearly not up to the job and, you claim, communications were terrible. You say the housing association returned you to United Living, whose preferred strategy was silence.

Work finally started with the new roofing company right after they contacted me and 11 months after they first reported the leak. Southern Housing claims, without offering details, that the repair was “large-scale and unusual,” which is odd given the leaky roof was only a year old. He also claims that due to Covid, roofing contractors and supplies were in short supply.

But the main problem was not the shortage of contractors, but the fact that he kept screwing up the work. He says, “We recognize the need to improve communications between our team, our contractors, and the tenant. We are reviewing how we can improve this in the future. Any compensation will be arranged through our grievance process.”

Worryingly for residents, Southern confirmed that he had renewed his contract with United Living for another two years. United Living says: “In this case, we regret that we have not maintained our usual high standards of communication with residents. Work on this United Living contracted property has now been completed, and we are currently conducting a full review of our processes to ensure this does not happen again.”

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