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Harlesden pensioner ‘could have been killed’ as ceiling collapses – after repeated warnings about leak

PUBLISHED: 14:43 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:43 03 September 2018

Joy Saunders, whose ceiling collapsed due to a neighbour's leak. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Joy Saunders, whose ceiling collapsed due to a neighbour's leak. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg

A disabled pensioner living on her own in Harlesden says she could have been killed after her bathroom ceiling collapsed.

Joy Saunders, whose ceiling collapsed due to a neighbour's leak. Picture: Jonathan GoldbergJoy Saunders, whose ceiling collapsed due to a neighbour's leak. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Joy Saunders, 67, says she had warned housing association Notting Hill Genesis about a leak coming from the flat above hers – which it owns – repeatedly.

But nothing was done, and then one day last month Joy was sitting in her living room when she heard a loud bang.

“I was so shocked,” she told the Gazette. “I went in and the whole of the ceiling collapsed. I could have been killed if I was in there.

“It was leaking for five weeks and I kept phoning about it. They didn’t do nothing at all until the ceiling came down.

Joy Saunders, whose ceiling collapsed due to a neighbour's leak. Picture: Jonathan GoldbergJoy Saunders, whose ceiling collapsed due to a neighbour's leak. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

“They should have just sorted it in the first place.”

The day the ceiling collapsed Genesis sent a worker round to clear out the debris and fix the leak, but the ceiling has been left exposed for weeks, and the light has been dangling from the large hole on its wire.

“I’m an old-age pensioner and I’m ill,” Joy added. “I’m on oxygen and they were telling me to claim it on my insurance.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s their job to fix it because it’s their property upstairs and that’s where all the water was coming from.

“I’ve been complaining every week. They have had me waiting on the phone for an hour. I’ve got no light, the light is hanging down.”

Genesis told the Gazette it would be arranging for a worker to go back round and cover up the ceiling this week, though Joy said she had heard nothing.

A spokesperson for the housing association said: “The flat is not a Notting Hill Genesis property, the resident there is a private leaseholder.

“However, the flat which was the source of the leak is leased by us from a private landlord and used to provide temporary housing to those in immediate need.

“While there is no responsibility for the landlord of the flat above to sanction repair work on the property below, given the circumstances they have arranged for a contractor to attend next week and fix Ms Saunders’ ceiling.”

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