Man’s lockdown hell as ‘rain pours’ into £725-a-month room ‘like waterfall’

A man says he lived for nearly a year of lockdown living in a £725-a-month rented room with a “waterfall” cascading from his ceiling after a leak wasn’t fixed.

Alec Burns, from London, said he worked 50-hour weeks in the space and spent a lot of time emptying buckets of water when it rained to prevent his room from flooding.

The 25-year-old called the room in the four-bedroom flatshare in Hackney “uninhabitable”, and said the water broke his TV and that his mental health suffered.

Alec, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University College London, said he flagged a “minor leak” to property managers at Neptune Group after moving to the room in November 2019.

He said: “The leak started off minor but it would constantly keep me awake or damage my possessions.

“I was told Neptune group was the property manager, so contacted them, but they would take days and eventually weeks to respond, despite the leak getting worse.

“They eventually sent around a roofer who made a few half-assed attempts to resolve the issue which instead made it worse.

“I moved out at the beginning of lockdown in March 2020 for three months, but when I moved back in July, it had effectively become a waterfall.

“I spent most of the lockdown stuck in that room and whenever it rained, I was either soaked or kept awake.

“This has made my life hell for the past year.”

Alec said he was working 50-hour weeks in the room, and the situation caused him insomnia and made him anxious.

He added: “My mental health seriously suffered as a result, I spent days replacing buckets just to ensure the water didn’t start pooling in my room.

“Being in that room gave me anxiety and insomnia.

“When we weren’t in lockdown I was often missing work whenever there was heavy rain for fear of leak damage or being too sleep deprived in work to actually do anything.

“When it rained at night the noise of the dripping would constantly keep me awake, despite using white noise filters or ear buds.

“This put a strain on my relationship too. The sleep deprivation made me so miserable I just shut off from the world. It felt pretty lonely.”

He claims the leak wrecked his TV but his landlord refused to cover the damage.

Alec claims he was offered alternative accommodation that he deemed unsuitable just weeks before he moved out in November last year.

He said he felt like a “new person” and “happy” again once he moved out of the property and into an old converted vicarage house share in Islington.

Alec said: “I had no form of rent reduction for the entire tenancy period. The landlord wouldn’t reply to me for weeks on end.

“I had to go home for four months during the first lockdown because of the leak and was not compensated at all for this time.”

Simon Tydeman, of Neptune Group, denied the company had any involvement in the property, adding: “Alec was offered alternative accommodation in a flat within the same building.

“He refused this. He was also given, and accepted, a prior rent reduction.

“Numerous contractors were instructed to undertake work on the roof and efforts were made to rectify the situation.

“The landlord took all reasonable measures to find and repair the leak and spent considerable amounts of money doing so.”