Council worker tells woman: find a man to fix home

A council worker told a mother-of-three to 'get a man' to fix her property. Picture: Contributed
A council worker told a mother-of-three to 'get a man' to fix her property. Picture: Contributed
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A mother-of-three claims she was told to “find herself a man” by a council official when she complained about work carried out in her new home.

When Isabell Telford moved into the East Lothian Council property in Newbigging, Musselburgh, earlier this year she was appalled by the state of the flat which she said “filthy” and “not fit for human habitation”.

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She said nails sticking up from the floorboards and the broken fence in the roof garden of the fourth-floor flat made it dangerous for her one-year-old grandson.

The home also had exposed pipes in the bathroom, tiles ripped off the walls and peeling wallpaper.

Isabell, 40, said she was told she would have to carry out repairs herself, but when she pointed out she was not physically able to do some of the work she was given the bizarre advice.

She said: “There was a council worker here, I can’t remember if he was surveyor or what but I was asking him how he expected me to physically do some of the repairs needed.

“He said I should go and get myself a man for a couple of months to get it done.

“He started laughing but I told him I didn’t find it funny at all.”

Isabell, who works nightshift as a carer and also is a PA during the day, claimed she has also been told by council workers give up work and go on benefits in order to get charity white goods for her home.

She moved into the flat with her sons Jordan, 17, and Daniel, 16, in May and claims it has taken her five months and hundreds of phone calls to get the council to eventually carry out some of the repairs need.

She said: “When I first saw the flat, coming in the door I was in tears. I said I would rather sleep in a tent outside with my bairns than sleep in here.

“It was filthy, it was stinking, it was not fit for human habitation but I had no choice but to take it.

“It was horrendous.”

She said she was unable to look after her grandson Kye for her daughter Sarah, 23, for two weeks after she moved in due to the nails sticking up from the floorboards.

Isabell said when she was offered the house she and her family were homeless and living in temporary accommodation in Tranent, having had to move from their previous private let when it was sold.

She said: “I just felt because I was homeless I was treated like scum. That’s how it made me feel.

“Just because I’ve been in homeless accommodation doesn’t make me scum. I work and I work hard and I’ve never been on benefits.

“I always knew the council was bad but I didn’t think it was this bad.”

An East Lothian Council spokeswoman said she could not discuss individual cases.