Covid ‘non-essential’ restore rule leaving tenants with out heating

Georgina Thompson with her son Marcel [Georgina Thompson]

Tenants have warned that the council’s rule of only doing repairs that are considered “emergency” leaves them without heating and moldy walls.

During the coronavirus restrictions, Camden set the criteria for working in public housing.

Georgina Thompson, 32, said when she had problems with a leaky downspout outside her home, mold developed in her living room.

She said Camden’s answer was to wash the floor to remove the mold rather than sending workers to her home and fixing the pipe outside.

Her immersion heater at Phoenix Court in Somers Town was broken, but the problem was also classified as “minor” and she had no hot water for two weeks over Christmas.

The water heater has now been repaired and a downpipe repair is booked for later this month, four months after being reported.

Ms. Thompson, who worked as a health care assistant at Royal Free before taking maternity leave when their now 10 month old son Marcel was born, said, “I have had numerous repair problems and it has been just overwhelming. The answer is: “We can’t because of Covid, we can’t because of Covid”. These were off the property, they could have just jumped over the fence and fixed it. Your criteria are not flexible at all. If they’re not on the list, they can’t come out and do it. “

She added, “It has a huge impact on my mental health, it’s the fear of having so many problems at the same time. I couldn’t lay my son down to crawl and play in the living room because of the mold. It ended up with a chest infection. “

Camden City Councilor Meric Apak confirmed that the City Council only does “emergency, essential and community repairs”.

Cllr Apak said, “We know the past year has been frustrating for some residents who have not been able to report any repairs needed and we thank all of our residents for their patience. Since that time, we’ve been advising callers that non-essential repairs are not logged because we didn’t know when the restrictions on this type of job will be lifted. However, we continued to provide advice and assistance on actions residents could take in the meantime and in many cases the issues raised have been completely resolved. “

He added that lockdown plans were now being made and non-essential work would return.