Council tenants have been without hot water ‘30 or 40 times’ in six months

Nik Masters outside his flat in Camden's Harben Road estate. Picture: Sam Volpe

Nik Masters outside his flat in Camden's Harben Road estate. Picture: Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

Council tenants in Camden’s Harben Road estate claim they’ve been without heating or hot water more than 30 times this year.

The outages have occurred during work to fix boiler problems that have plagued the Swiss Cottage estate.

Nik Masters, who lives in Campden House, told the Ham&High: “It’s been going on more than six months. Hot water’s gone 30 to 40 times. We even lost heating on the coldest day of the year.

“My daughter is 20 and she was in tears the last time it happened. We’d had no hot water and she hadn’t been able to have a shower all weekend.

“What am I paying my service charge for?”

Abdel Safi also lives in Campden House with his wife and young children.

He said: “When you take a shower you never know what you will get. It could be hot, scalding or cold, and I’ve got my kids so it’s scary.”

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As part of the works, tenants have had hot water pipes fitted that in many cases have been left uncovered. Nik said: “These pipes get very hot – surely that’s dangerous?”

Former Tory councillor Don Williams, who represented Swiss Cottage ward for 16 years before losing his seat in May, said: “Things came to a head about six months ago, but the hot water problem hasn’t been solved. Even in the last month people have been calling me all the time.”

But Labour councillor and housing chief Cllr Meric Apak disputed the figure, saying: “In the last six months we have had 12 occasions where the system has been shut down for maintenance works, which is why we had agreed to renew the heating system.”

Nik is adamant the tally is higher, saying he has a note of each occasion it has happened. He added: “Even then, 12 would be far too many. It’s a failure of their duty of care, and it happened at the coldest time of the year.”

Cllr Apak added: “This is a complex scheme requiring a phased decommissioning of the old heating network as we bring online the new fully controllable heating system. I would like to take this opportunity to thank residents for their patience during these disruptive works.” He confirmed those affected by hot water outages could apply for compensation on the council’s website.

The town hall also denied the uncovered pipes were a risk.