A Bermondsey woman has spoken of her “horror” as water came pouring through the ceiling of her top floor flat while builders were working on an “airspace” extension on the roof.
Zeynep Yenil, who lives in Roderick House on Raymouth Road, said she and her four young children – including a baby – have been forced to “live through a nightmare” in recent weeks because of work done by developers Apex Airspace to her block, alongside landlords Lambeth and Southwark Housing Association (LSHA).
Apex Airspace and LSHA are adding 30 more affordable flats to Roderick House and Anthony House. They told residents earlier that the building work – which is set to last about a year – should cause “minimal disturbance” to current residents. Many were offered some compensation.
But we reported how people living in the flats had holes drilled through their ceilings by builders, and had to endure noise that they said reached harmful levels – making their lives “a living hell” in some cases, especially as this was still in a time of Covid-19 restrictions.
Ms Yenil told a hair-raising story of how when the flooding first happened a few weeks ago, she was carrying her five-month old baby through the flat. “I was taking my son to the bedroom and suddenly I slipped on my laminated flooring, and I smacked my five-month old son’s head on the floor.
“I didn’t know that it was flooded, I just wanted to get my son back into his cot. That’s hurt me, that’s hurt my son. I’ve had enough. I literally hate living here. I hate my own home.”
Ms Yenil’s other children are affected in different ways. One daughter has a heart condition that her mother says makes her vulnerable to the damp that is now accumulating. Another child is autistic and is upset by the frequent drilling noise.
“They expect people to still live in their house when that noise is still going on,” Ms Yenil said. “It feels like 100 men with 10,000 hammer drills are in my house.”
As well as concerns about her children’s health and wellbeing, Ms Yenil said that several of her valuable belongings have been damaged in the flooding.
“My mum, who has passed away, bought me this chandelier. It wasn’t cheap but it’s had to go now because the water damaged all the wires inside when the rain came through.”
Videos shared by Ms Yenil show water dripping from the ceiling and damp stains streaking down the walls, and the buckets and towels she has had to put down.
A spokesperson from LSHA and Apex Airspace said: “The existing roofs, which were already due for major re-work, were removed with minimum disturbance. Unfortunately the temporary roofs were unable to cope with the extreme rainfall recently and a small number of homes experienced some minor rainwater ingress.
“We acted quickly, liaising immediately with residents to ascertain the extent of the damage caused and our contractor is in the process of remedial works to redecorate and replace any damages. We apologise for the inconvenience and wish to reassure residents the waterproofing was quickly fixed with no more leakages reported since.
“The project will provide 30 much needed affordable homes and also offer improvements to current accommodation including the introduction of a lift, a new communal entrance, a landscaped forecourt, extra lighting, cycle storage and better refuse and recycling spaces.’’
But Ms Yenil said: “All they’ve said is I’m sorry. Sorry isn’t good enough any more. They’re not the ones who have to live like this.”