Private landlords are often seen as the “bad guys” when it comes to operating a rogue lettings business, but all too often, social landlords are just as bad, if not more so. In fact surveys show that private landlords often fair better than social landlords when it comes to looking after their tenants. It has to be said though, that rogue landlords are a small minority in both cases.
A Galashiels widower is a case in point: suffering in appalling conditions after repeatedly reporting his problems to his social landlord. 12 months after reporting a water leak from the roof, Gordon McLean is now suffering the effects of this in his damp and mould-infested flat.
Not only that, the 61-year-old widower is having “salt rubbed into his wounds” when he finds his social landlord is increasing the rent, and has even sent him a threatening reminder for £12 of arrears.
The Selkirk-based housing association had announced in November that the rent would be going up from £88 to almost £94 per week, prompting Mr McLean to comment “who would pay £94 a week to live like this?”
Mr McLean’s problems started when a down-pipe at his rented property sprang a leak. He promptly reported the problem to his landlord on December 12th last year but inaction on the part of the landlord has resulted in his present predicament.
Dampness ensued and wallpaper began peeling off his walls, which finally prompted action from his social landlord. They issued him with a dehumidifier but the former gamekeeper’s home still shows signs of damp and mould in several rooms.
Mr Mclean told The Border Telegraph:
“I first noticed water leaking off the roof and an outside pipe and coming into the walls.
“The water had to be coming into the walls, but the workmen didn’t think there was anything wrong.
“They did repairs to my taps inside but they wouldn’t believe me that there was a problem with water getting into the walls.
“After the new bathroom was fitted the dampness smell became more noticeable, and within a few weeks my wallpaper began falling off.
“After I lost my wife two years ago I took a real pride in my flat and decorated every room.
“I had the place beautiful, but look at it now.
“There’s mould growing through the carpets, mould on the walls, the wallpaper has come off – how is someone meant to live in a house like this?”
Electrical testing carried out at the property also showed that several sockets were dangerous due to the excessive damp, and Mr Mclean’s health is beginning to suffer.
The spokeswoman for the Selkirk based housing association said, with regard to the rent increase:
“In November 2019, we carried out a consultation on the proposed rent levels for the following year, giving all 5,600 tenants the opportunity to provide feedback, via a wide variety of consultation methods, including paper survey, community roadshows and telephone surveys.
Photo courtesy of: The Border Telegraph