Friday, February 23, 2024

“My flat is in a disgusting state and should not have been re-let”

AS YOU may well know we have been following the problems Thurrock residents have been experiencing with properties that they feel were not in a fit state to be re-let.

This time, we have decided to follow a problem in real-time.

Ms Amy Cooper from Broxburn Drive has submitted this complaint to Thurrock Council.

Dear Mrs Brownlee and Cllr Valerie Morris-Cook

“I am writing to bring to your attention the many issues that I have faced since my tenancy commenced at the above address (10/06/2013).

The local housing officer had not inspected the property. Due to this the ‘Fit to Let’ checklist was far from complete.

The flat was in a disgusting state. It was extremely unclean (windows, floors, cupboards etc) and the tiles were heavily laden with paint/dirt.

There were many broken and lifted tiles. There were also tiles that were completely or partially missing, they were then ‘fixed’ which meant that un-matching pieces were fitted but at different heights.

There were holes in the floor/gaps in tiles which had simply been filled with concrete.

Because of the state of the floor we were not able to use it as it was and bring our furniture in until the end of the week as we had to buy underlay and carpets (a large and what should have been unnecessary expense).

Electric sockets in the kitchen were wired up to the incorrect circuit.

Gas meter was hanging off the wall.

Boiler in need of a new ‘O ring’ as rust inside. Given a pass on the condition that this was done, since then have had contractors in twice and as the boiler will not leak in their presence, they have refused to do this.

The wrong shower unit has been put in as we have a combinator boiler. Therefore we are only able to obtain temperature extremes (scalding or freezing). Again after numerous complaints this has not been done and also meant that for the first 4 weeks of the tenancy, I could not live in the flat as having had to undergo an emergency cesarian, getting in and out of the bath was not an option for myself.

The way the shower has been set on the wall, only someone 5 foot or under could stand under it to successfully wash. Being 5’9 (which is not overly tall) this is a huge inconvenience.

The toilet bowl was cracked all the way from top to bottom. It has since been replaced but now slants down to the right which is very uncomfortable.

There was paint flecks all over the bath, tiles and sink.

The standard of the paint job was shocking, in particular the doors, door frames, window sills and skirting boards.

The window in the living room could not be opened as it was rusty and unsafe.

Contractors rubbish hidden in the small cupboard by the front door.

Wrong extractor fan in kitchen as should have been electric, not operated by a cord.

Leaking pipe in main bedroom and bathroom.

Air bricks had been painted over.

Doors generally unsafe and it seems screws have been hammered in. The main bedroom door fell onto myself and my 1 month old baby as we entered. This was the first time we’d open/closed the door.

The first time closing the bathroom door the handle fell off and trapped me inside while my young baby was outside alone and screaming. My husband had to rush home from work to let me out.

There is severe condensation on every window and door and clearly damp in the air. We have had to pay out of our own pocket to rent and run a dehumidifier (which is pulling out 2-3 buckets of water consistently every day). There is no visible damp as is common in these properties as the contractors just paint over it.

We have had a visit from an officer regarding this problem but he stated that as we are single glazed we are to expect condensation. This in fact is not true as I know plenty of people who are single glazed who do not have this problem. Since this visit he has been in contact and said that our local housing officer will call to arrange a visit for the pair of them to return and reassess the property.

Damp is a big issue for us as my husband is a severe asthmatic and I have a four-month-old baby who is constantly getting ill, has a persistent cough and respiratory problems (unrelated to asthma) due to this. I have informed the officer that if we can not find an appropriate solution in a timely fashion that I will have no choice but to contact environmental health.

We frequently have appointments for contractors booked, however the majority of the time they either do not turn up, turn up vastly past their time slot (e.g. 3pm for a morning apt), change the time slot without letting us know, or when they are here seem to be completely incompetent and not know how to do the job/repair they are scheduled to do.

We have only had luck in getting problems resolved if we ask Councillor Carr to intervene on our behalf. This should not have to be the case.

All of these points show that the flat was far from ‘Fit to Let’. Please take this letter as my notice to register a formal complaint.

Yours Sincerely

Mrs Amy Cooper


  1. How did this property pass the “Fit to Let” standards, this is just sloppy practice by TBC housing department, aside from the property being in dissaray it also seems to have been very dangerous especially with small children in the property.

    This is probably only the tip of the iceberg with regards to the state of some of the let properties in the borough, something needs to be done urgently

  2. This is a very insightful letter.

    The Council did say some months ago that their property ‘turnaround’ time was much quicker than it had been in the past so I guess we now know why – the quality of the work is so poor.

  3. Lambo, I think you could be right, this does seem to be the tip of the iceberg but it to be expected when the council want everything cheaper! Take a look around Thurrock and you will find that a large proportion of the contractors working on council properties are Eastern European but that’s what you get when you use these big national companies that sub contract the work out.
    I am sure there are and will be many more complaints like this.

  4. When we got a council flat many many moons ago the councils solution to the damp and mould problem in the front room and main bedroom was to stick plasterboard over the wall the plaster over it. All that happened was the damp worked its way eventually through the plasterboard. The problem was with the exterior wall where the brickwork needed re pointing.

    The walls were covered in 30 or 40 large holes where the previous tenant had ripped out units from the wall or attacked it with a hammer – looked like no mans land in a WW1 battlefield. We had a workman come in to fill the holes so we could start decorating but he only filled one hole – when we asked him why he was packing up and leaving when he hadn’t filled in all the other holes he showed us his work sheet which said ‘Fill Hole’. 3 weeks later he came back with a new worksheet that said ‘Fill Holes’.

  5. Targets and benchmarking. Ive seen the stats. Thurrock is poo and Val knows it. Still the glorious leader is happy with his package so who cares. Houses Sh*t, schools sh*t Healtcare sh*t. And the bin service aint that good either. Vote for the Comrade.


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