Dad’s three-year ‘nightmare’ living with collapsed ceiling and no heat in council home

A family have been left living in freezing cold conditions for years after with a broken boiler in their council house still not fixed.

Richard Leech, from Hull, Yorkshire, says now a collapsed ceiling has left their home covered in damp.

The dad, who lives with his teenage son, says they have been left without a proper hot water supply and heating, forcing them to use an emergency electric switch.

Richard claimed the council did not help him and red tape is preventing the problems from being resolved. He said he lost his job after taking time off to deal with the issue of fixing the boiler.

He claims that since making the report his ceiling has fallen in, damaging his kitchen, he has no bathroom light, and the house is damp.

A month ago he started the complaints process again but according to the parent, the council does not have complaint logs from three years ago,HullLive reports.

He said: “I’ve lost everything through the council messing about. It’s affected me really big as I got anxiety and depression.

“It’s affected my son as well. My son has complained for the last three years that he’s cold. I have lived in a nightmare for the last three years.”

Hull City Council said work was initially hampered by the pandemic, and that it had been trying to arrange a suitable date for work to be carried out to both his boiler and elsewhere in the house. The ones they had offered him were ‘not suitable’, they said.

Since Richard first complained, the council has organised for a temporary repair to the boiler. A year ago a tap was fitted to allow him to re-pressurise it but he feels that he should not have to do this himself as he is not qualified.

But for the two years before that, he says he had no heating or hot water unless he used a costly, emergency electric switch. He claims that he has contacted the council on numerous occasions about the issues but he has been passed from one person to another and no one has helped him.

After losing his job, he was out of work for two years and during that time he had mental health issues and also had to have an operation. Luckily, he has been back at his old job for about a month now but says he daren’t mention taking any time off after what happened previously.

Richard said that he has “just started to get back on track” and he has been in contact with KWL, a Hull boiler cover company, who have “helped as much as they can”. However, there are other issues in his house that he claims that the council has yet to deal with.

He said: “There are serious problems. The boiler was dripping all over the socket and all the electrics are messed up.

“The kitchen ceiling fell through onto the sink and knocked the pipes and broke cupboards. Damp is building up in the house.

“The council aren’t doing anything about it. I don’t know what’s happening at all.”

Richard even claimed that when he called the council recently to try to get the management team to call him, the council staff member who answered the phone ended the call.

He also says he has not had a bathroom light for three years so he has been using a lamp in its place. The issues with the boiler, including leaks, were logged with the council after the last inspection.

Richard claims that he has three missed gas inspections through ‘no fault of his own’. When KWL came to check his boiler during the last inspection, he says he was told that the state of it is “illegal” and that the whole system is broken.

He also said that when the council arranged for someone to come to his house and repair the boiler the only person who was home at the time was his son so they “refused to come in” because of his age.

A spokesperson for Hull City Council said: “We had planned to replace Mr Leech’s heating system in 2020-21, but this was not possible due to coronavirus restrictions.

“Since then we have tried to arrange for a suitable date for his boiler to be repaired and for his bathroom ceiling to be repaired, but none of the dates we have offered were suitable for him. As soon as he can tell us a convenient date for us to have access to his home, the work will be carried out.”