Gemma Neil felt left in the dark after her flat was flooded months ago and she was decanted to a hotel while repairs got under way.
The 31-year-old home carer is a tenant at an apartment complex in Glasgow run by affordable housing organisation Sanctuary Housing but, on February 1, water started pouring into Gemma’s one-bedroom flat from the property above.
“It caused extensive damage to my apartment and also to neighbouring properties,” she said. “It destroyed many of my possessions and ruined furniture.”
It was the second time the property had been flooded in the space of a few months.
“In November, the same flat above had a leak under the flooring,” Gemma said. “This led to a stopcock being fitted until a repair could be carried out.”
Gemma said the tenant of the upstairs flat moved out after the leak but the issue had not been fully rectified when a new tenant moved in at the start of February.
“They called Sanctuary out because they had no heating or hot water due to the stopcock being fitted,” she said. “When this was removed the pipes began to leak again and water started pouring into my place. It was a terrible mess.”
Gemma was decanted to a hotel room in Glasgow city centre and said she was told that repairs would take about two weeks.
The stress of the situation was amplified for Gemma as she suffers from a rare condition that affects her immune system. She has been shielding since April 2020 and has been unable to attend her work as a home carer.
“Being moved to a hotel was a big worry for me because I would be in contact with a lot more people than I would be if I was at home,” she explained.
Gemma said she had prepared herself for a fortnight-long stay at the hotel – where her meals were paid for – but that things soon dragged on.
“Weeks went by and I was not getting any updates from Sanctuary about progress with the repairs or when I could move back in,” she said. “I was passed around more than seven departments but no one seemed to be able to give me any proper information.
“I also had issues at the hotel as I kept having to ask for my accommodation to be extended.”
Gemma said another worry was that she had not been provided with any details on how to claim for the damage to her personal possessions.
“I would have to replace all my things before I went home from my own pocket and it would cost thousands,” she said.
Gemma said she was then told her flat would be ready by mid-April but she could not move back in at that point either because the property was still “like a building site”.
At the end of her tether, Gemma contacted Raw Deal and we asked Sanctuary Housing to investigate.
The good news is that the company moved quickly. Repairs have been fast-tracked and Gemma is due to move back into her flat this week. She also now has an insurance claim under way. Sanctuary said: “A surveyor will meet with Ms Neil at her home to make sure she is satisfied with the condition of her home.
“Ms Neil’s claim for compensation is currently with our insurer. She will be told the outcome of her claim when our insurer completes their investigation.
“Our housing manager has now explained all of this to Ms Neil and has again apologised for the inconvenience this has caused her.”
Gemma said she couldn’t wait to be back in her own home after three months of living out of a suitcase.
She said: “I want to thank Raw Deal for intervening and helping to speed things along. Up until that point, I felt like I was getting nowhere.”
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