A council tenant is still smarting after part of the ceiling of his Leicester flat fell down on his head while he was in the bathroom.
Matthew Sinkinson was left bleeding from a gash on his scalp and concussion following the incident at his home in the Mowmacre Hill area of the city.
The 36-year-old engineer, who lives alone at the Leicester City Council property, needed to go to accident and emergency at the Royal Infirmary for his injuries and has only recently been able to return to work.
Weeks after the incident, he said the underlying cause of the damp problem that led to part of the ceiling and wall breaking off and falling on him has still not been properly addressed.
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Mr Sinkinson said the incident happened on the afternoon of Sunday, October 4.
“I was on the toilet and had just finished my business when I heard a strange cracking noise,” he said. “The next thing I knew was all this plaster coming down on my head.
“It hurt like hell and I was a bit dazed.”
He added: “I wasn’t sure what had happened at first but looked up and saw that part of the ceiling and wall had come away.
“I put my hand on the back of my head and looked down to see it covered in blood – I was horrified.”
Mr Sinkinson rang the NHS helpline and was advised to contact his GP the next day.
He said: “I spoke to my doctor and told him my symptoms, which included headaches, blurred vision, nausea and dizziness, and he told me to get myself straight down to the A&E at the Infirmary.
“They treated my head injury and I was diagnosed with concussion.
“I had to take two weeks off work, and am still suffering from the effects to be honest – it’s much better now but I still get the odd dizzy spell.”
Mr Sinkinson is angry and frustrated at the treatment he says he has received at the hands of the council’s housing department.
“For several days afterwards I had to go to the toilet in a bucket and wash in the kitchen sink because I couldn’t use the bathroom,” he said.
“I remember sending and e-mail to the council saying whether they thought that was right and didn’t get a reply.
“My children usually come to visit at weekends but weren’t able to for several weeks. It’s not really acceptable in my view.”
After several requests, the city council did send a housing officer to assess the damage and arrange for a handyman to pay a visit to Mr Sinkinson’s home.
He said: “When someone did come round, all they did was remove all the loose plaster and cover the gaps with black refuse sacks and Gaffer tape.
“But as soon as it rained, the damp returned and most of the tape came away and bags came down.”
Mr Sinkinson has lived at the property for the past three years.
“I’ve had a problem with damp in the kitchen and bathroom ever since I moved in,” he said. “They’ve told me the roof and guttering is sound but I’m not so sure.
“They sent someone along a few years ago when I had mould and they re-plastered the bathroom.
“I was able to decorate it how I wanted but it wasn’t long before the damp had returned.”
He added: “What I think it is is the down-pipe from the guttering on the outside of the flat. It’s a three-storey block, built in the sixties, and I’m in the middle flat with one above and one below me.
“There is a balcony outside my front door and the down-pipe travels down from the walkway above against my wall, between the kitchen and bathroom backing onto it.
“Where the pipe comes through from above there is some kind of seal but it has cracks all around it, meaning that when it rains the moisture enters the wall of my flat.
“I’ve told the council time and again but no-one seems to listen to me when I complain – and if I’m having these problems I’m sure there are many other tenants in a similar position. I don’t think it’s right – it’s a health hazard.”
A city council spokesman said the issue was being monitored.
“We visited the property on Tuesday, last week, to clear away the bits of plaster that had come down from the ceiling, and carry out a temporary repair.
“Mr Sinkinson explained that the ceiling damage was caused by a blocked outlet on the balcony directly above his flat and that the problem happens when it rains.”
He added: “The outlet had been recently cleared, but we will monitor it over the next few days to see if the problem returns, before making an appointment to re-plaster the ceiling.”