Sleep-deprived family desperate to leave council flat as noisy pipes keep them awake

The noise has left Mohammed Sharif Abdi’s family unwilling to live in the council property and he says the authority will not provide them with a new home

Mohammed Sharif Abdi
Mohammed Sharif Abdi

A family who moved out of a council flat because the pipes are too noisy have struggled to find a new home.

Mohammed Sharif Abdi says he has been deprived of sleep for three years because of the racket.

He moved into the two-bedroom flat in 2013, with his wife, who was then pregnant.

But the noise has left his family unwilling to live there and the authority will not provide him with a new home.

A loud humming noise began three years ago, but has become unbearable in the last year, he said.

And he now wants to move out as the council has not been able to fix the issue,

The pipes have been looked at by engineers a few times, but they haven’t resolved the problem.

Mohammed told BristolLive : “They are still investigating, but surely three years is a long time to be investigating.”

Harwood House council block in Bristol, south west England


Bristol Live / BPM Media)

Mohammed Sharif Abdi moved into a two-bedroom flat at Harwood House in 2013


Bristol Live / BPM Media)

Bristol City Council said that following one of their inspections, they had made some adjustments to “fix potential sources of mechanical noise”, and promised engineers will return if the problem persists.

The tenant’s neighbour, Jennifer Davis, who is partially deaf in both ears, said that even she also gets woken up by the noisy pipes at night.

She said: “If you want to go to the toilet and go back to sleep, you can’t. I don’t sleep until late anyway because what’s the point with this noise.”

Mohammed and his wife now have three children but his family has gone to Kenya temporarily.

“They don’t want to come back to this place, that’s part of the reason why they left,” Mohammed explained.

The couple were bidding on Home Choice, through which local authorities can allocate social housing, for an alternative property – not only due to the noise, but also because the flat felt crowded for the whole family.

Mohammed has been told that because he is currently living alone in the property he is no longer entitled to be rehoused.

He said that the constant disruption of his sleep is causing him depression and also creating problems at work, admitting that he has made mistakes and taken days off as a result of the impact of the “really annoying humming noise” affecting him.

Mohammed said: “I’ve been complaining about the noise for the last three years, it’s really annoying, I can’t sleep and it gets worse at night.

“My little one used to wake up all the time, it affects the children in the long run. I sleep for a little bit and then I wake up, it gives me depression.

“I can’t focus on my work, sometimes I make mistakes. I want to move and I was bidding on Home Choice but now I can’t bid because my family is in Kenya.

“My wife is sick and she couldn’t get medication here but now she is in Kenya and she is getting medication and it is much better.”

“Surely the council can do something about it,” added Mohammed.

The entrance to the council block


Bristol Live / BPM Media)

His neighbor Jennifer, who has lived in the area for 29 years, said she has lost all confidence in Bristol City Council and believes it does not care about people living in tower blocks in Barton Hill.

Other than the noisy pipes, the residents are also unhappy with the front gate, which they say has been repeatedly broken, and Jennifer said she also has her own plumbing issues that she is trying to resolve with the council.

Jennifer said: “I’ve got no confidence in any of them, there’s a lot of talk but nothing happens.

“They’ve been out to my flat about four or five times because the sink gets blocked up, the bath gets blocked up and the toilet system doesn’t work properly.

“They said it’s because it’s an old building and they’ll be coming out every couple of months but I have to ring them every time.

“At the end of the day, they’re not doing what they said they were going to do.

“They haven’t done anything, just because we live in a block of flats and we’re not worth it.”

The two residents also said there had been a reoccurring issue with the front gate, which Mohammed said is “really dangerous when the cars are coming out and a lot of kids are coming in”.

He said although the council does come to fix the gate, it ends up getting broken again, and they suspect someone is damaging it on purpose.

A spokesperson from Bristol City Council said: “Engineers have been to the property to investigate the source of the noise.

“Following an inspection of the heating pumps and system, adjustments were made to fix potential sources of mechanical noise.

“Engineers have not yet heard the noise but will return to the property to carry out further investigations if required.”

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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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