Mark Cordell has watched his apartment crumble since he first noticed a leak in his bathroom ceiling in March 2021.
Severe water damage spread rapidly through his Gateshead town center flat, causing his bathroom and kitchen ceiling to fall. But with no sign that the council is fixing the property, the leak now affects nearly every room in Mark’s flat and has spread to neighboring addresses.
Mark claims that despite numerous visits from council staff, no action has been taken to resolve the issue and repair the damage it has caused.
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The 43-year-old said: “I had to constantly clean my ceiling as it was falling down and it felt like a nightmare. I felt trapped because there is no feeling there there is a solution because nothing is really happening.
“It was my home and I initially chose this apartment because I liked the location. I liked the view and the position in the building. I spent a lot of money decorating it, including decorating it. laying carpets that are now crumbling.”
He added: “I would say between 50 and 100 emails have been sent and the number of council staff who have come to see him is probably around 20 different people, but that’s without any work is started.
“I feel like if they had done something earlier they could have stopped the situation from getting worse, but nothing seems to be done. The water might not even be safe, it might be dirty water.
Mark, who has lived in the Melbourne Court flat for six years, has been temporarily relocated while work is underway to repair the damage. He claims he was told that work would start this exercise, but so far no work has been done.
Mark, who moved to a different flat in February, said: ‘I knew a flat became available in the same building once there had been some works so I asked if I could be moved there while the work was being done and they said ‘OK’ I didn’t offer him initially I had to figure it out myself that he was available and ask if I could be moved there- down.
He added: “Having to move has affected my mental health. It’s devastating because I don’t know when I’ll be able to get home and I appreciate the council relocating me but I lost my home.
“I had all the stress of moving and having to move everything. I just feel like if they had gotten over it quicker it could have been avoided. The longer they left it, it could spread to more apartments and be even worse.”
Gateshead City Council said ‘complex’ repairs were needed on the building, but ‘timeframes for repairs have not yet been defined’. The council added that affected tenants have been relocated and will be consulted before work begins, as well as kept informed of developments throughout.
A spokesperson for Gateshead Council said: “After learning of the damage to Melbourne Court properties due to water ingress, the council’s Neighborhood Management team engaged with all affected tenants and arranged alternative accommodation to enable a full investigation into the cause of Mr Cordell agreeing to a temporary move to equivalent accommodation within Melbourne Court.
“The subsequent investigation and related survey work revealed the need for a complex repair which requires the replacement of sections of the roof. The work will inevitably have an impact on the functioning of the building, as many essential facilities, including stormwater drainage, runs through a series of conduits that serve multiple properties on each floor, and due to the age and construction of the building, these conduits can only be accessed by removing internal fixtures and fittings.
“Although timelines for repairs have not yet been set, we are working on it, and all affected tenants will be consulted before work begins and will be kept informed of developments throughout. alternative accommodation, for health and safety reasons, we ask tenants not to enter or attempt to enter their old accommodation.”