A disabled woman who lives in a North London block of flats says that her life has “turned into a living hell” after she went a full day without water in her flat – leaving her unable to go to the toilet.
Susan Oliver, who lives in Papyrus House tower block on Wharf Road, Islington (N1), was left without water as sewage spilled into her downstairs neighbour’s flat at around midnight on Friday (September 10).
Firefighters arrived at the scene and had to turn off the water supply, which was not turned back on for 25 hours.
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The 55-year-old, who suffers from osteoarthritis, depression, severe anxiety, and lack of mobility, moved into the tower block on October 30 of last year after spending 25 years in a council house.
The building, owned by estate agent Peabody, is in a constant state of disrepair, according to Susan.
She said: “My downstairs neighbour had raw sewage coming up into their flat on Friday night – not for the first time.
(Image: Susan Oliver)
“The fire brigade was called and had to turn off the water to the whole block. I called an out of hours number for repairs and was told they couldn’t come out till the morning as the machinery they use is too noisy.
“We ended up going without water for 25 hours. Able-bodied people were able to use the toilet in the McDonald’s across the street, but I can’t do that whenever I need to because of my mobility issues.
“I only managed to make it over there once the whole time we were without water. It was a complete nightmare and I just wanted it to be over.”
She added: “This is like living in the 1700s with no water, no toilets, cockroaches, mice and rats in the bin store.
“I’ve not made any plans with friends since I moved here last October. But I was supposed to be going out with my friends for a day out on Saturday. There was no way I was going to go and see them without being able to have a shower.”
There are around 50 flats in the building – none of whom had a working toilet over the weekend between midnight on Friday and 1.30am on Sunday, September 12.
Susan says she is constantly sending emails back and forth to her housing association for repairs and infestations.
In a letter penned to Peabody, she said: “When my shower was unblocked a couple of weeks ago, the electrician (not a plumber) spoke to a neighbour and said to me that there is a serious drainage problem in this building and he was going to report it.
“Again, nothing has been done. Nothing is fixed properly here. It’s a case of sticking a plaster on it and hoping for the best.
“Another plumber a couple of weeks ago noticed the smell coming up the shower drain which at times is so bad you can’t use the bathroom. When I complained about it I was told ‘we don’t deal with smells’.
“This is a living nightmare. How can people be expected to live like this?”
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Susan, who lives with her two daughters aged 15 and 17, says she is struggling so much that she has contacted her local MP Emily Thornberry, who has “escalated the situation.”
She continued: “My life since moving here has turned into a living hell, and I have now been diagnosed with depression on top of my other health problems.
“I can get around the flat but it’s the stairs that are the problem. I’m on the first floor so I barely leave my house. I am trying to move out of here because it’s just one thing after another.
“There are even cockroaches in the cavity walls and we’ve been told there’s no solution to that.
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“I lived in a council house for 25 years before I lived here, and I have had more repair work needed in less than a year living in this house than I ever did there.”
My London has contacted Peabody housing association for a response to Susan’s claims, but had not responded by the time of this article being published.
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