A couple desperate to adopt have been forced to put their plans on hold – because the council hasn’t fixed a leak for 18 months.
Melanie and Stephen Thorne were forced to move back from the Middle East because the leak from the flat upstairs has become so bad.
They had previously been renting the flat in Archway, north London, but the tenants threatened to sue because of the uninhabitable spare bedroom.
Despite the couple’s best efforts, Islington Council have still failed to fix the water coming through the ceiling from their neighbours.
It was made even worse when the couple, who are both teachers, were told they could not adopt if they were having works done in their flat.
Melanie, 42, said the stress is making her depressed, and has left them ‘unable to move on’ with their lives.
She said: “We were living in Jordan and then Cairo for four years, but 18 months ago the leak started.
“We had tenants in the property, and the estate agent and my father-in-law were dealing with it, but it got to the point where they threatened to sue.
“We had no control over it because were in the Middle East, so we had to come back to the UK to deal with the problem.
“It still wasn’t fixed when we arrived on July 4 and it’s still leaking – it’s council tenants above, so it’s Islington Council’s responsibility.
“Stephen and I applied to adopt, but were told we can’t because no works can be done in the property while you apply.
“Our lives can’t move on in any way, I hate being there at the moment and it’s made me feel depressed.
“I left my job abroad to come and sort it, and it’s not being fixed – we don’t know what to do and I just want it over and done with.”
Melanie and Stephen have been unable to enter their spare room since the leak started, and have been forced to live in the flat because it can’t be left unoccupied.
She claims the council have sent multiple inspectors to look at the leak, but they are ‘wasting money on things which have nothing to do with the problem’.
Melanie added: “We’ve got a bedroom we can’t go into and the lounge is leaking too, but we can’t get the insurance company to deal with it because it’s accidental damage.
“We have to live there, we can’t leave it empty and we can’t do anything about it.
“The council have been trying everything and issuing work orders, but they continue to waste money on things which have nothing to do with the leak.
“On Thursday, four people came in to look at it, but they were contradicting each other about the cause of the leak.
“We have family coming over from South Africa for Christmas, and will now have to find a hotel for them even though we were promised it would be fixed by then – it’ll cost twice as much than it would have because it’s three weeks away.
“The fact we can’t adopt because of the leak is even more frustrating – they previously said that you’re adopting, a leak doesn’t count, but it’s so untrue.
“They need to get a professional surveyor to find out where the leak is coming from and finally fix it.
“I’ve given up everything and there’s no one who can help us.”
An Islington Council spokesperson said: “We take housing repairs very seriously and we’re sorry that this problem has been ongoing for so long.
“We are arranging access to the flat above so that we can do the necessary work to fix the problem.
“Work to fix the leak is due to take place next week, and we will also help with redecoration following the repair.
“We welcome applications from prospective adopters and would not reject an application to adopt due to a leak in the home.
“We would not hold up any assessment of potential adopters on the basis of a temporary housing problem.”