A Hull mum says she “cries every morning” due to what she claims are damp and wet conditions in her rented home.
Alicja Kochalska, 35, has been living in Hawthorn Avenue, off Anlaby Road, with her three children for the past seven years.
However, she says things have got so bad in the last three that her family have had to huddle together in one room to keep warm at night due to damp conditions and a lack of heating, her brother-in-law Jakub Kochalski claims.
Mr Kochalski says Codys Estate Agents, which manages the property, are doing nothing to help.
However, Codys says its staff have done everything possible to help and claims the family have been “rude and threatening to agency staff”.
A statement from the estate agent says Alicja “professes not to speak English” but “abused and threatened staff in perfect English”.
It adds that the company “does not deserve to be vilified in this way”.
Mr Kochalski said: “She [Alicja] does not speak very good English. She has been calling them many times. There is a lot of damp because the home is not maintained properly.
“Cody’s have done nothing. They just want to take the money and if there are any problems they just don’t do anything.”
“There is a lot of damp everywhere, lots of problems with heating over winter and many more faults need repair and the agency do nothing.”
Recent “intensive rain” is said to have caused the roof to leak badly in Ms Kochalska’s home, leaving the second floor of the property flooded due to overnight leaking.
Mr Kochalski says things were made worse when someone came round to have a look at the problem.
“Due to intensive rain her roof badly leaked. It was leaking in the past but it was ignored by the Cody’s staff,” he said.
“After a few attempts Alicja managed to get someone to have a look.
“The maintenance guy came on Monday and went into the attic to check out what was going on. All her second floor was flooded due to all night dripping water from the ceiling.
“Suddenly, this guy fell through her ceiling making a huge dripping and cold blowing hole.
“He just tried to cover it up and said it is perfectly safe and then he disappeared.”
“My wife and Alicja went to the agency straight away and they said they can’t do anything with it and that it is not up to them.
“They said they were going to ring the police because my wife was quite loud.”
Mr Kochalski says his sister-in-law, who works as a cleaner at a nearby school, “cries every morning” because of the conditions she lives in.
At one stage, she could not hide the tears from her employers, who he says have “stepped up” to help her out.
Mr Kochalski said: “Alicja works at a school and she went in this morning and just started crying. That’s when the headteacher asked what was wrong.
“The head teacher stepped up and told her ‘you can’t live in conditions like that’. They made the call to the agency and the lady on the phone said she had not heard anything about this home.
“She just kept saying she didn’t know anything.”
The family say the living conditions have also had an effect on Ms Kochalska’s three children, Kevin and Natalia, both 15, and Lara, nine.
Mr Kochalski says youngest daughter Lara is too scared to go upstairs.
He said: “Alicja’s youngest daughter is sleeping with her mum all the time. They all sleep in the one room.
“Obviously it is quite disturbing for them having to get into the one place because it is very cold.
“They don’t go upstairs. The young one, Lara, she is scared because someone came in through the hole and now she does not want to go up there.
“Everything is wet up there and there is a lot of water on the ceiling.”
“Alicja is very upset. She is crying every morning.
“She comes to our house just to make herself feel warm.
“I am feeling awful. This is not supposed to be happening. It is unacceptable from the agency.
What Codys says
A spokesperson for Codys says that the agency acted promptly when they were informed about the leak in the roof and that a Loss Adjuster has been appointed as per instructions from the landlord.
They said: “First and foremost, this property is not owned by Codys it is owned by a private landlord who is currently very ill in hospital and who has been ill for some time.
“Codys received an email on Sunday, September 29, to advise that there was a bad leak through the roof at the property. Our offices are closed at that time on a Sunday evening and as we are all aware we have had a spell of prolonged rain.
“The Codys staff responded at 9.13am on Monday, September 30, by email and a workman was sent within an hour.
“The workman identified that a section of the ceiling was about to fall down so out of concern for the tenants, he made the section safe.
“He could see the leak from inside the loft and tried to stem the flow from the inside, but as it was raining heavily at the time, it was too dangerous to go onto the roof.
“He spent approximately two hours at the property and came back to the office to advise that urgent further works were required and that in his opinion it should be an insured loss.
“By the time the workman had got to the office, the tenant and her representative had also arrived at Codys office and proceeded to threaten, abuse and swear at the Codys staff, in perfect English although the tenant professes not to be able to speak English.
“The tenant has been advised of the progress but has continued to be rude and threatening to the Codys staff and I am now very concerned that there is a health and safety issue for the safety of the Codys staff when visiting the property moving forward.
“If the Loss adjuster feels that temporary accommodation is required then he will authorise that.
“While this situation is far from ideal, if the tenant feels that the safety of her children is at risk then it is her responsibility to take them away from that risk and any expenses should be reimbursed if the Loss Adjuster agrees with her.
“The Landlord has asked the insurer about temporary accommodation and they have said that they cannot authorise that until the Loss Adjuster can attend.
“Codys staff cannot do anything further and they are not to blame for an unforeseen incident, they have acted swiftly and do not deserve to be vilified in this way.”