Pensioner left without heating or hot water after housing association fail to complete repairs

A PENSIONER in her 80s has been left without hot water and central heating after her housing company failed to repair her gas boiler.

Monday, 4th November 2019, 1:30 pm
Updated Monday, 4th November 2019, 8:10 pm

Sylvia McCord, 80, contacted her tenancy company, The Guinness Partnership, on Wednesday October 30 after her carbon monoxide alarm was triggered. Having contacted the company, an electrician was sent by one of its contractors on Thursday October 31.

Sylvia said: ‘The electrician said there was a problem with the boiler and it needed to be turned off. They said the next available time to fix it was Tuesday, November 5 which would mean almost a week without hot water or central heating. I was freezing across the weekend. They said there was not enough people to do the job any sooner but I would have thought at my age I would have been a priority.’

With the boiler still out of action, Sylvia has resorted to using a small electric fire and boiling pans of water to wash her hair.

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Brake House, Bedhampton Road, where Sylvia lives, is owned by the Guinness Partnership Housing Association. Picture: Sarah Standing

She said: ‘I’ve had to clear out the boiler cupboard to allow access and so all of my belongings are now on my bed. It’s also too cold to sleep in the bedroom and so I’ve been sleeping on the settee in a warm fleece. I’ve not been able to shower for nearly a week.’

The incident is a one of a number of problems, including mice and a hole in the roof, which Sylvia has experienced while living in the property.

Sylvia said: ‘I’ve arthritis and being cold is pretty miserable. Many people are in their seventies and eighties and I know they too are unhappy with Guinness. They just don’t seem to care when we complain about things.’

The Guinness Partnership, has defended its management of the situation. A spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry Mrs McCord has been without heating and hot water since Wednesday. Her new boiler will be fitted on November 5. A replacement was ordered the same day as her old boiler was disconnected, but as scaffolding was needed to complete the job the usual installation time had to be slightly extended. We provided Mrs McCord with temporary heaters. Earlier this year Mrs McCord had a problem with mice and we did all we could to help, including blocking up possible entry points.’

Cllr Diana Patrick has met with the Guinness Partnership over previous concerns raised by residents. Picture: Sarah Standing

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Sylvia's case is one of a catalogue of concerns from Guinness residents which led to Havant Borough councillor, Diana Patrick, holding a residents meeting with the housing company’s representatives due to the volume of complaints she’d received.

Speaking at the time Cllr Patrick said: ‘It's absolutely appalling. There are delays in getting appointments, and then jobs are not completed properly.’

With a follow-up meeting scheduled for February, Cllr Patrick said: ‘We sadly still have a large number of residents who have issues and are not happy with the service.’

Sylvia McCord, 80, has been having to boil water in a pan to use for washing. Picture: Sarah Standing
Sylvia McCord, 80, from Bedhampton, has been having to use an electric heater after being left without hot water and central heating after her boiler broke. Picture: Sarah Standing