Care leaver left without hot water and mouldy home during freezing winter
A YOUNG woman was left without hot water for months amid sub-zero temperatures and snow after several failed attempts to fix the boiler in her home.
Nicole Hale's heating and hot water stopped working in November and while the heating came back on by itself after a few weeks, the hot water never did.
She was then left without it for three months as temperatures dropped below zero until Swindon Borough Council finally fixed the problem in mid-January.
The care leaver, 20, who lives in the Railway Village has reported a litany of other issues that were there when she first moved into it in May 2022. These include mould, windows that can't be opened, properly locked and let a draft in, and a leaky roof.
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Nicole, an avid cat lover and volunteer for CATS (Cats assistance trapping service) said that she believes the state of the home is affecting her health, as well as the health of her four cats, who have all been poorly.
Engineers had been out to look at the boiler on three occasions during this time but all they did was reset it, which ended up making the problem worse.
"When they first reset the boiler, it was meant to work within 2 hours, but it never did, after this, I had to use a kettle to have a bath or do the washing up," she said. "Now it makes a horrendous noise whenever I turn a tap on as well."
She said that her attempts to get someone to take the issue seriously often fell on deaf ears.
"I’ve got over 30 emails between myself my housing officer and my PA as I’m a care leaver and this is my first property.
"I’ve also added them all onto the repairs part of my tenancy app, but they have no appointments available for months and I’ve been told to just wait.
"This isn’t only [thing] affecting my health but also the 4 cats I have, and the council won't do anything about the problems no matter how many times I’ve called and emailed.
"I’ve had to take days off work due to feeling unwell from the mould."
After almost three months without hot water, Nicole was eventually told someone would come to sort out the mould and that a new boiler would be fitted on January 19.
But after taking the day off Nicole discovered that the person ‘sorting the mould’ was just cleaning it with the same cleaning product she’d been using since she moved in in May, making it a waste of time.
The appointment to fit a new boiler was cancelled, and instead, she might be able to get a new shower that would use less electricity and water which might improve the situation.
"So I had the decision of dealing with how much water there was, which was hardly any and getting over it," Nicole added, "or having a shower fitted which has to be approved first but they don’t believe it will be and if I do agree to a shower, it will be a quick job and basically told me it would look ugly with a shower in the bathroom."
But the issue was then unexpectedly fixed a week later when an engineer arrived, drained the boiler, and changed the immersion inside.
The whole situation has left questions for Nicole, who still has a number of longstanding issues that need sorting.
"I shouldn’t have been left the way I was for so long," she said.
When Swindon Borough Council were approached about Nicole’s issues, and the long wait for working hot water, a spokesperson replied: “We have been working with the resident to solve any issues they might have.
"We will continue to work with them directly rather than through the media.”