Council commits to fix Edinburgh mum's wrecked ceiling after she was mocked by housing officer

An Edinburgh mum has thanked the Evening News for forcing the council to fix a hole in her bathroom ceiling after it collapsed.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 8:44 am
Jacqui O'Donnall now has plywood covering the hole in the bathroom
Jacqui O'Donnall now has plywood covering the hole in the bathroom

Jacqui O’Donnall’s bathroom ceiling had collapsed into her bath after a leak from her upstairs neighbour’s flat, only for a housing officer to mock her when she asked for help.

Taunting her over the phone, he told her he would “come round and fix it myself” if she got the story in the Evening News.

The Evening News knows the identity of the officer but has decided not to identify him.

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The hole in Ms O'Donnall's bathroom ceiling

Our story on Thursday sparked the council into action with the hole in the ceiling covered with plywood within hours of informing the council of our story.

Ms O’Donnall was also told permanent repairs are due to take place in the next week.

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Edinburgh mum mocked by council housing officer over collapsed bathroom ceiling

The mum-of-two thanked the Evening News and said: “Thank you for all your help, it really has moved things along much quicker and I am feeling more positive about it and I know none of this would have happened without your help.

“When the guy came out last night he said he would try and come next week, but no dates have been set yet.

“My kids were saying ‘can I go in now?, it won’t fall in any more will it?’ and they are all excited about having a light on for nighttime so they’re not scared.”

Councillor Scott Arthur, Labour member for Colinton, Oxgangs and Fairmilehead, described Ms O’Donnall’s experience as “terrible” and praised the Evening News for getting involved.

He said: “This is an awful experience for a council tenant in Scotland’s capital city to have to go through.

“I’m glad to hear the Evening News was able to encourage the council to take action.”

He added: “I think in my ward housing officers are struggling to deal with the workload. They do have a lot to do.

“They have high caseloads and that is impacting on the quality of the service.”

“I understand they are under-resourced but our administration has decisions to make and they are not making those decisions at the moment.

“They need to provide people with a home over their heads and have their bins emptied and the council just don’t seem interested in providing the basics for the people of our city.”

Cllr Kate Campbell, who is the ward member for Ms O’Donnall and the housing and economy convener for City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I’m glad that temporary repairs have been carried out and there is a plan in place for the permanent works.

“Getting our housing services right for tenants is very important, so I’ve asked for this case to be reviewed. Lessons learned will feed into our Housing Service Improvement Plan.”