Glasgow man unable to live in flat for 12 years after leak repair botched by insurers


A homeowner has been unable to live in his flat for 12 years after he claims a minor water leak repair was botched by insurers.

Ian Gibbon, 52, had to abandon his home in Glasgow’s west end in 2010 when a blocked drain led to damage of the floor and walls of the 120-year-old basement flat.

Council worker Ian moved into hotels and then a rental property as work started on the flat but it stalled and the longer it went on, the worse the damage became.

He believes the bill to fix the house, which is worth about £300,000, could now top £1million.

He said: “My life has been on hold this whole time because of this minor repair. But it is now 12 years and my house is lying in ruins.

“It was just fat that was poured into a sink and blocked the drains. I was told I’d be moved into a hotel for six weeks.”

Insurers Axa had agreed to cover the cost of a flooring repair and move him into a hotel temporarily in 2010. They took the keys off Ian, then kept them – until last year.



Ian’s basement flat looks like a building site

He said: “I had spent seven years doing it up. It was my first home and one I thought I’d probably be in forever.”

At first Ian was moved into swanky hotels Malmaison and Blythswood Square while work was done to patch up the damage. But with the work dragging on, insurers moved him into a flat and gave him replacement furniture when all his possessions of him were put in storage.

See also  Over 400 Covid Omicron subvariant cases identified in the UK

And the lengthy delays meant the water damage had spread to the walls, with builders forced to strip them as well as the floors.

The repair work halted and, when it wasn’t restarted by 2013, Ian asked the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to intervene.

He said: “It was incredibly frustrating. I was getting nowhere. It wasn’t just the cost of the property. All my possessions were put into storage, where they remain. I’ve had to replicate my life.”

An FOS ruling found Axa had “mistreated” Ian as well accusing Axa of treating him “with contempt”.

Despite the damning report, Axa didn’t restart the work again until 2016 – after two more rulings by the FOS.

By this time, the concrete foundations of the basement home had been damaged and new quotes to fix the building stretched to an incredible £160,000.

Builders put in a support frame for the walls and heating to dry out the flat but then walked away and haven’t been back.



Ian owns the basement flat
Ian owns the basement flat

In 2017 Ian bought another home after being out of his first for so long. Axa stopped paying his expenses in September 2019 – including funding for the 24/7 radiators that blast hot air into the damp home, which cost £750 per month and which Ian now covers.

Ian added: “They gave me my keys back last year and I couldn’t believe what it has been left like. Since they stopped paying my expenses, I have invoiced them for my costs and it now runs to over £200,000. I’m paying the utilities, mortgages and council tax on two properties.

See also  El Salvador arrests 600 gang suspects, cuts food for inmates

“Axa said they would repair the work. I don’t want to settle. I’ve not heard from them since 2020 and even my lawyer is now being snubbed.”

Axa, whose most recent offer to settle was £250,000, said: “We sympathize with Mr Gibbon’s situation.

“However, the majority of damage to his property was not caused by the original water leak for which he is insured.

“We’ve offered a cash settlement and continue to communicate via his legal representative.”

Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Related Posts

George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.