‘Negligent’ council taken to task by residents left without hot water following power cut

Pitcairn House. Image: Google

Residents of a council estate in central Hackney were left without heating and hot water for two days following last week’s borough-wide power cut.

Pitcairn House tenants took to X, formerly Twitter, to vent.

One called the council “negligent landlords” and said residents have been treated with “utter contempt”.

They added: “If we withheld our rents [and] our service charges, they’d be down on us like a ton of bricks.”

The Pitcairn House X account also posted: “We don’t know about you, but most of us prefer hot showers every day, and we don’t bathe our children in cold water.”

Hackney Council told the Citizen that last Thursday’s power outage left a “large number of blocks with booster pumps [which] had to be reset”.

“All affected sites were attended as soon as possible and Pitcairn was reset on 12 April,” they continued.

Pitcairn House’s X account was set up in December 2023 after a previous incident that left residents without heating and hot water.

It posted at the time: “Our first tweet from this account and residents at Pitcairn House are currently waiting for the heating and hot water to be turned back on – it’s been off the whole day. It’s -1C outside.”

On the same day, the account wrote: “We will, in part, be using this account to publicise the unacceptable living conditions in this building and the total neglect of residents by Hackney Council. Enough is enough.”

The recent grievances come after Pitcairn House residents sent a formal letter of complaint to the Town Hall in December.

The letter detailed ongoing problems with leaks, and the health concerns they cause.

It stated: “Numerous residents have been dealing with leaks in their flats for a number of years, with some over the span of decades.

“This has led to a serious case of damp and mould, and we fear there is potential structural damage being done to the building.”

At the beginning of March, following up the council’s response to the first letter, residents wrote: “Your letter suggests that many of the issues that we have been reporting – in some cases for decades – have been resolved or are in the process of being resolved.

“This is simply not the case for many residents.”

The leaks appear to be unresolved, as residents posted videos of them on Friday.

They have also complained about lifts and automatic doors not working, large amounts of steam being emitted from the boiler, frequently tripping electrics, and an ant infestation, among other issues.

Hackney Council told the Citizen: “The lifts at Pitcairn House have been identified as priority for replacement and will form part of our lift replacement programme. We are in the process of procuring these services.”

The council also said that the steam coming from the boilers is “normal”, that the ant infestation has been treated, but “unfortunately we are finding that some residents are not following the pest control guidance that we have issued, which makes the treatment less effective”.

It also said that, historically, the level of repairs for the doors is “low considering the size of the block”.

The council spokesperson added: “We recognise that the recent correspondence from Pitcairn House highlights a number of other repair issues but, having checked our records, we have no outstanding repairs for the following areas: low water pressure; tripping electrics within flats; humming noise from the ventilation system; window locks; drainage/blocked bath waste pipes; the intercom not working; thermostats in some flats not working; and extractor fans in some flats not working.”

The spokesperson said the council’s reporting system is “reliable and fit for purpose… residents have been advised to contact us about any specific concerns, which we will follow up”.