A former fairground worker says he was forced to sleep in his shed for a month after the boiler at his town hall broke.
Eddie Sweetman, who suffers from a curved spine and breathing difficulties, said it’s cheaper to stay in the open-air cabin than heat your house.
The 52-year-old from Surrey said his health problems worsen in cold conditions.
And from his property It’s been freezing since the caldera broke in September, he’s avoided it altogether.
Eddie said that he, along with five other bungalows, received temporary electric heaters from the local council, but it’s not very powerful and it’s easier to heat the shed with it.
He claims that Woking City Council “doesn’t care” and that residents have “just been left to get on with it”.
“They always get in touch quickly if they want our money, but when we need their services there is no communication,” said Eddie. SurreyLive.
Shirley Willesden, 88, who also lives in one of the bungalows, relies on the heat to ease her arthritis.
The retiree has lived in her home for 28 years and said her symptoms are “extremely painful” since a brief power outage shut down the community boiler.
Shirley said she reported it to City Hall and was told it would be fixed in three to four weeks, which she said was unacceptable this close to winter.
She claims that residents have had no communication with the council unless they have initiated it and were even told at one point that the repairs would take 12 weeks.
“How long can we keep feeling cold? I never thought we would be treated like this, with so little communication from the council,” Shirley added.
Both Eddie and Shirley say the heaters provided used a lot of electricity, raising concerns about their energy bills.
The houses, one of which has young children, have been able to get hot water through the use of immersion heaters, which also consume a lot of energy.
Councilor Ian Johnson, Housing Minister for Woking Council, said: “We are very sorry that the residents of Wilson Way have been without a fully functioning central heating system since 2nd September.
“The delays have been caused by difficulties in obtaining a replacement boiler and associated parts.
“All residents have been offered portable electric heaters and the council will compensate tenants for any additional costs incurred.
“We continue to work closely with our repair contractor, Mountjoy, to expedite the procurement of relevant parts, and we anticipate the installation to be complete no later than Monday, October 3.”
Shirley said Wednesday that the heat was back on, but since then they have had more problems and are still waiting for it to be resolved.
Rights of council tenants to repairs and how to file a complaint with the council
According to the government websiteYour council is responsible for making sure that:
- the structure of your property is kept in good condition, this includes the walls, ceiling, roof and windows
- gas and electric appliances work safely
- shared parts of a building or development are kept in good condition
The council should also have posted a policy on its website setting out its timeframes for carrying out different types of repairs.
And if you need to file a complaint, they should have a complaint policy on their site for you to follow.
If you cannot resolve it with your council, you should contact your local MP or the Housing Ombudsman.