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The council had fitted a new toilet into Judy Weiss’s flat as part of a refurbishment. Ms Weiss noted that it looked good, but also complained that it smelled when the weather was warm. A workman was sent by the council to look at it, who then said they could not smell anything. No further action was taken regarding this particular issue.[S1] After some time, Ms Weiss then noted that a leak had started at the back of the toilet, where the floor and wall meet. It was miniscule at first and initially placed on the Low Priority list, before it then got worse to the point that the area always became flooded after the toilet was used, therefore becoming a High Priority problem. A professional was called again to look at it, and they turned off the water to stop the leak, but said Ms Weiss must use the toilet in the corridor instead.
Ms Weiss complained that the toilet had been troubling her for two weeks now, and continuing leaks are resulting in emerging rotting on the skirting and stains on the floor tiles and hall carpet. She is now asking for compensation, and for everything to be fixed as soon as possible. This is a document to inform tenants of the council’s policies about housing problems and how repairs to their homes are categorised, as well as advise tenants about how to report any problems which arise.
This report has a mixed purpose to inform as well as to support readers on their case. Some positive points about the council are mentioned at the start of the article, but it mainly concentrates on highlighting negative points. It is positively mentioned that Westchester District Council came top in the Local Government rankings, mainly due to the recent refurbishment of all rented homes. There is a quote by Council Chief Amy Ayomola about how “thrilled” tenants are by the “highly successful project”. A spokesman from a local tenants’ association accused the council of “window dressing” and said that the upgrades are overdue and being done at the expense of normal repairs. It is said that the council is failing to meet targets for repairs, and that the council came 54th out of 72 in the rankings for tackling non-urgent repairs.
1 The toilet smell in Judy Weiss’ home was dealt with correctly as per the council’s repairs policy, with regards to Low Priority problems: “there is a need for repair but this is not affecting the tenants’ ability to enjoy living in the property. This could include flaking paint, minor drainage smells or cracked tiles.”
2 The start of the leak was initially correctly marked as Low Priority, due to its small size. However, as the leak increased so much to a point that the floors were being flooded and causing considerable damp damage in the area, it may have possibly been in the best interest of the council to deal with this in quicker time.
3 Since Ms Weiss had been contacting the council every week for the past six months with little response in return, more should have been done on our part to help her on time and not keep her waiting unnecessarily.
1 In light of the problems highlighted by this tenant’s letter, the repairs policy should be properly reviewed and some amendments should be considered in order to improve it.
2 More investigation also should be done to find out whether these issues are truly a common occurrence for many more other tenants in Westchester’s council’s homes. A questionnaire would be a suitable method for this.
3 A letter of responsibility should be written and sent as soon as possible to the tenant, Judy Weiss, to acknowledge and apologise for her problems, as well as to inform her of what we can to do help and advise her of what actions she should make in future.
4 A response article should be written for the Westchester Gazette to let the public know the council’s side of the story, and to portray itself in a more positive light.