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Sewage Spill - Unsatisfactory Cleaning

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600 views 1 replies latest reply: 27 October 2015

We are private tenants in an ex council flat. Our flat was flooded with sewage 5 days ago due to council maintenance attempting to unblock a drain in the flat above ours. The sewage came up through the toilet and sink in the bathroom. Letting agents have dragged their heels in getting it sorted (saying its councils problem not their responsibility to put right). Finally sent someone to clean it tonight. They are two very young guys who say they have never dealt with something like this before. They have no protective clothing except thin rubber gloves, and have placed contaminated items from the bathroom onto the hallway carpet. They are not professionals and clearly have no experience of dealing with sewage.

We are concerned that they are spreading the contamination through the house: walking from the bathroom across carpets etc. We are concerned for their safety and our own – this just does not seem a very safe method of dealing with it. They are using standard household cleaning products, to clear standing sewage that has sat there for five days. The floor has also been badly damaged from standing water and sewage.

Not sure what to do! We have reported the original matter to environmental health. But still don’t feel the bathroom is clean enough to use – I doubt it has been properly sanitised. Agents are awful, aggressive and keen to avoid any responsibility. Council have not been helpful either. Exhausted from dealing with this.

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!


Hi Ruby

What an awful situation to have in your home, I’m sorry to hear this has happened.

It might be worth pointing out to the agents that they’ve taken responsibility for clearing up after the mess by sending people around. If that isn’t done properly and something should occur as a result – such as a serious illness – then that would potentially make the landlord responsible for causing it by doing a shoddy job (I’m not a lawyer but that makes sense to me). They’re exposing their client to a risk by cutting corners – and that risk could cost them in the long term as the landlord could sue them.

You could also try contacting the landlord direct (address should be on your tenancy) – use this as a threat with the agents if you think it might make them take action – and appealing to the landlord’s better side to make your property habitable again.

If it’s helpful you could speak to someone at a law centre or Citizens Advice to get a more concrete answer on what you can compel the landlord (via the agents) to do.


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