Hainault pensioner ‘in hospital with stress’ after home floods

An 82-year-old woman has been hospitalised by the stress of living in squalid conditions after Redbridge Council refused to redecorate her home following a flood, claims her son.

Dorothy Speller, of Burrow Road, Hainault was devastated when a leak from an upstairs radiator came through her ceiling and caused extensive damage to her lounge about three months ago.

The council took more than five weeks to repair cracks in her walls as a result of the flood, but left the pensioner who suffers from back and kidney problems to replace the wallpaper and carpet, claims son Keith.

He says his mother, hospitalised last week, has become ill through the stress of the situation and believes Redbridge Council must take responsibility for the damage.

Mr Speller, 47, said: “The council are saying it’s not their responsibility, which I could understand if she had gone in there with a hose and done it herself.

“I used to work for Redbridge Council years ago and we used to just go in and do the work.

“She lives on her own and I’m just disgusted with the council.”

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Redbridge Homes said they generally do not carry out decorating for tenants, but will speak to the neighbour who caused the damage to encourage them to make amends and pursue an insurance claim.

A spokesman said: “As the tenant is elderly we will offer assistance where possible.

“Following a flood we will ensure the property is safe and repaired i.e. damp, cracks etc.

“It would then be the tenants who would need to arrange the decorative side of things via either the contents insurance of the property that caused the damage or their own policy.”

The council has pledged to contact their handyperson scheme which decorates for elderly tenants, though Mr Speller claims he has received disappointing results from them.

He said: “The tenant upstairs has no insurance, if my mum has to pay out her premiums are going to double or treble.

“I’ve already been referred to the handymen who said they would not do the work.”