Man unable to live in flat for 12 years after repair which could end up costing £1m

Council worker Ian Gibbon, 52, left his basement flat in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2010 to allow insurers Axa to have a minor leak repaired but 12 years on his home is “lying in ruins”

Ian Gibbon has been unable to live in his home for 12 years

A homeowner has been unable to live in his flat for over a decade after a minor leak repair job was botched, he claims.

Ian Gibbon was forced to flee his home in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2010 when a blocked drain led to floor and wall damage in his basement abode – valued at around £300,000.

The 52-year-old council worker moved into hotels and then a rental property as work was started by insurers but it stalled and the damage quickly worsened.

Ian believes the bill to fix his digs in Walton Street in the city’s West End could now be as much as £1million, reports the Daily Record.

He said his life “has been on hold this whole time” with his home, which dates back 120 years, “lying in ruins.”

He explained that pouring fat down the sink had originally blocked the drains and he was told by insurers Axa to move into a hotel for six weeks.

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Ian estimates the repair bill is likely at around £1million



The firm agreed to cover the cost of the flooring repair and move Ian into a hotel in 2010.

He says they took the keys off him, then kept them until last year.

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

At first he was moved into posh 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 were put in storage.

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.”

Ian said his basement flat in Glasgow’s West End is “lying in ruins”



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.

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.

He 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.

“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.”

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George Holan

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

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