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Flat leak is so bad that Acton resident has to ‘put a jacket on to go to the toilet’

A man with severe mobility issues says he has to put on a coat to use the toilet in his flat when it rains due to a massive leak. David Todd lives in Acton and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which affects his breathing and circulation issues which make movement difficult.

He says that a lack of adjustments to his top floor home for his conditions as well as Ealing Council’s failure to fix the leak in his bathroom have made his home feel like a “prison”.

David says he has called out the council many times to get it fixed but in the two years since he first made it aware of the issue it has only become worse. “It’s got to the point now where it’s three o’clock and I want to go to the toilet and it’s raining, I’ve got to put a jacket on. Because the rain is pouring in on me,” David told LDRS. “Two years later I’m still going through this.”

Stacking towels by the entrance of his bathroom, mopping up water from his hallway and wearing a jacket when using the bathroom have become part of a ritual for David whenever he hears the familiar sound of British rainfall. With a potentially harsh winter rolling in David’s sister has expressed concern for his well-being as the leak may mean that her vulnerable brother may be exposed to the elements.

Since speaking to LDRS, the council have sent a surveyor to look at the issue with David hoping a quick fix will be possible. However, this problem is just one of many.

“Since I moved in, this place has been nothing by hassle,” the resident says. When he first moved in he found himself accidentally flooding his kitchen every time he washed up because the U-bend wasn’t fitted properly, despite complaining to the council, the sink remains in a state of disrepair with the U-bend propped up on paint cans to hold it in place.

Flat leak is so bad that Acton resident has to 'put a jacket on to go to the toilet' Harrow Online
U-bend propped up on paint cans. Permission for use by LDRS partners. Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

Another massive issue for David is the flat’s position on the top floor and the building’s lack of a lift. “I’ve got COPD, so I struggle to walk,” he told LDRS.

“I can’t handle it here. The last time I did shopping my sister had to carry the bags upstairs. I find it embarrassing. One time I did my shopping and there are some youths that hang out on the stairs now and again, I had to ask them to carry the bags up. Because I’m struggling with my breathing.”

Between that and his circulation issues causing him to have swollen and unsteady legs, David is extremely restricted in what he can currently do in his flat. He says it can take him half an hour to climb the three floors to his front door.

After a number of falls while getting in and out of the flat’s bath David says he is no longer able to bathe properly. “All I want to do is live my life but I can’t live it. I can’t do shopping. I can’t even get in and out of the bath. Do you know how degrading it is? It’s degrading. I don’t want to live like this. I’ve tried Ealing Council, nothing.

“I have to stand up and have a strip wash and I’m not steady on my legs.” He requested that a walk in shower with guard rails be installed but apparently, a worker said that the water pressure from the tap was too low.

Instead, the council delivered a bath lift in October 2022 but didn’t install it and with David so unstable on his feet, he hasn’t had the confidence to try. It now sits in his corridor still in its box.

Due to his illness limiting his ability to live how he wants David says that he has become depressed. This intensified even more when he was effectively trapped in his flat for two years because of shielding due to Covid.

He added: “I literally did what they told me to, stay indoors, don’t let anyone near me but I took it too far with it.” David said that his level of medical paranoia meant that he would end up telling strangers off in the street for not covering up when they sneezed. Since things have opened up he has wanted to do the simple things he could over the lockdown period but can’t with his current house.

The Acton resident says he has been looking for alternative accommodation especially ground-floor flats and even sheltered accommodation but he says he’s been struggling to find either. Ealing Council said he was approved by the sheltered housing panel in July 2023 meaning he has had the opportunity to start bidding for sheltered properties.

Flat leak is so bad that Acton resident has to 'put a jacket on to go to the toilet' Harrow Online
David Todd, Ealing resident. Permission for use by LDRS partners. Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

In a statement, the council said: “The council’s Housing Hub has been actively assisting Mr Todd with his mobility challenges and housing accommodation needs. He was referred to our sheltered panel in July 2023, got approval, and was notified on July 11 about the chance to bid for sheltered properties. We have also provided him with guidance and a list of suitable sheltered schemes in Ealing and Acton.

“Regarding medical assessment and support, we have responded to a notification from a family member of Mr Todd for an Occupational Therapy assessment. We are awaiting updated medical documentation from Mr Todd to review his Locata banding.

“For housing, we have offered Mr Todd the auto bid option, which would allow Locata to bid on his behalf for suitable sheltered accommodation, considering his preferred locations. A housing officer will contact Mr Todd to discuss this option further.

“Regarding home safety, we are coordinating with Occupational Therapy to install grab rails in Mr Todd’s current accommodation for his safety.

“Concerning repair issues, the council, in collaboration with the Social Services Call Centre, repairs, and the damp and mould teams, is addressing the ongoing repair problems in Mr Todd’s flat.”

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