'We had to boil the kettle to wash our children'

Gary Kempster and Claire Wardyn had to no water for 45 days.
Gary Kempster and Claire Wardyn had to no water for 45 days.
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A Blackpool family have told of their pain after spending 45 days without hot water because their letting agency and British Gas were unable to find the problem with their faulty boiler.

Claire Wardyn, 34, and Gary Kempster, 54, and their two children, two-year-old Eloise and three-year-old Grant, live on Burlington Road in South Shore.

The temperature and pressure relief valve which needed changing.

The temperature and pressure relief valve which needed changing.

On December 18 they noticed none of their taps were producing hot water and contacted their lettings agent, Broomheads, to notify them of the problem.

Claire, who is duty manager at the Bond Hotel, said: “They sent out an electrician to have a look but they quickly established it was a plumbing incident. The plumber advised the heating element had gone.

“We had a man come from British Gas who said they couldn’t look at the issue because someone else had inspected it beforehand.

“Our tenancy is with Broomheads and we expect them to step in and resolve problems such as this.”

Gary and Claire want to move from the flat now

Gary and Claire want to move from the flat now

Claire explained how Eloise has eczema and has special cream which she has to be bathed in once every two days.

“Because there has been no hot water, we have had to run the kettle about six or seven times to fill the bath to was the children.

“We have had a bill saying we have used more water than normal and our rates have gone up from £15 to £19. I dread to think what the electricity bill will be like.”

The couple have lived in the same building for 10 years and moved into their current flat three years ago.

Claire added: “It also took nine weeks to fix an exposed light switch which we had to cover up ourselves as Grant could reach it. This hot water issue has taken it to another level.

Gary, who is a night porter also at the Bond Hotel added: “Claire has been in floods of tears over this and it’s our children who have had to suffer.”

The couple got Blackpool Council involved by contacting the housing enforcement team to assist with the issue. The team issued a Environmental Protection Order to Broomheads on

January 16. However the hot water issued was not resolved until Thursday.

Council officials said a member of the housing enforcement team had been in contact with both Claire and Broomheads in order to resolve matter and they were happy the problems was now rectified. A spokesman added: “Rented accommodation must comply with basic legal minimum standards and it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure property meets those requirements.

“Complaints of disrepair at a private rented property can be forwarded to Blackpool’s enforcement team if a tenant does not get a satisfactory response from their landlord.”

A spokesman for Church Street-based Broomheads said the property still had ‘lukewarm’ water despite the boiler problems .

He added: “I feel for the family and it’s not a nice situation to be in but we have sent out numerous contractors to try and fix the problem. What more can we do?

“We are a professional agency at the end of the day and all throughout this process we have dealt with this all the way through.

“It was one of our contractors that has fixed the issue as well.

“The landlord has advised us they will be cancelling their contract with British Gas.”

Claire and Gary now say they have had enough and plan to move out of the flat.

Claire said: “We feel we have just been ignored and let down so many times. I have already started the ball rolling by viewing other properties with different agencies. I don’t want to be with Broomheads any longer.

Gary added: “We have lived in this building for a decade and it will be a shame to leave but we can’t risk staying her anymore. What if something else like this happens again?”

If you have a problem with your privately-rented property the council’s housing enforcement can be reached on 01253 477477, via e-mail customer.first@blackpool.gov.uk or by visiting the Customer First Contact Centre in Corporation Street, Blackpool.