Disabled Edinburgh OAP living in damp council flat after leak says 'it's a joke' it hasn't been fixed in a year

A disabled OAP with breathing difficulties who has endured living in a damp council flat for a year says it’s ‘a joke’ he’s still waiting for it to be repaired.

By Jolene Campbell
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 8:15 am

Walter Manclark who lives in a flat in Leith says he now has to wash himself in the kitchen sink because his bathroom is in a ‘stinking’ mouldy state due to a leak from the flat above last year.

During a visit from housing team in March the 74-year-old said he was told it was ‘astonishing’ that he was living in such terrible conditions and that he had the option to be moved out while they did a survey after suspected asbestos was also found.

But three months later – and a year after he first reported the leak last February – he says he’s ‘getting nowhere’ despite countless emails and calls to the council.

Walter has lived in damp conditions caused by a leak for a year

The bathroom is still covered in mould which is causing Walter difficulties with his breathing. Dampness has spread to his kitchen.

After Walter first reported the leak and damage to his bathroom last summer the emergency repairs team said they couldn’t stop it because they couldn’t access the source in the

privately rented property upstairs.

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Walter says his breathing difficulties have worsened due to the damp conditions

It wasn’t until Walter managed to talk to his upstairs neighbour weeks later that the water stopped pouring through his ceiling and a temporary seal was put on top.

No further work been carried out since. Desperate to get it sorted Walter went in person to an office in Niddrie but says he was ‘palmed off’.

Walter who has lived in the flat for more than thirty years said: “This has gone on for too long now. It’s a joke. Last week I ended up at hospital and had to be put back on inhalers again. I think my breathing is worse because of the damp. Not one single person I’ve spoken to has kept their promise. I got really angry about it but now I’m just fed up. They’ve palmed me off.”

"I’ve spent so long on the phone in queues and it’s cost a fortune. The last housing officer that came out a few months back left. Nobody is helping.”

Daughter Nicola, 47, who cares for her dad said: “Dad has been pushed from pillar to post. They arranged an appointment last week but nobody turned up. That was the last straw. The damp is really bad for dad’s physical and mental health too.”

"At first when he reported it building control said the ceiling was unsafe. It had a big hole. There are still cracks now too. We’ve since been told he shouldn’t be living in such conditions. At first they said they had to wait for it to dry out. But it doesn’t take a year to fix a ceiling. He’s stuck at home most of the time because he struggles with mobility.

"It’s stinking. He has to open windows so he gets cold, then has to put heating on so he is running up bills. It’s shocking that my Dad in his state of health has been treated this way. The council needs to get their act together.”

A Council spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear about the issues being faced and are investigating the problem. We’ll be visiting the property again urgently.”