Edinburgh father and son forced to create DIY 'flume' as stinking waste leaks from short-term let above

Colin has come up with a creative way of stopping the leaks flooding the house and has built a massive slide out of black bin bags to catch the dirty water and divert it to the kitchen sink.
Colin has come up with a creative way of stopping the leaks flooding the house and has built a massive slide out of black bin bags to catch the dirty water and divert it to the kitchen sink.
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A father and son plagued by a broken waste pipe leaking stinking effluent into their flat have been forced to create their own DIY “flume” to direct the filthy water into their kitchen sink.

Colin Smith, 56, and his son Douglas, 31, have lived on the first-floor council flat at Spey Terrace off Edinburgh's Leith Walk for 20 years and say they have experienced serious problems over the last 18 months due to ceiling leaks leaving their home “uninhabitable”.

Colin Smith, 56, and his son Douglas, 31, have lived on the first-floor council flat at Spey Terrace off Leith Walk for 20 years

Colin Smith, 56, and his son Douglas, 31, have lived on the first-floor council flat at Spey Terrace off Leith Walk for 20 years

The drips are present throughout the whole property including over the kitchen sink, oven and bath and have left the father and son unable to bathe or cook in their home.

The pair have made repeated attempts to contact the owner of the flat above, Amna Shafqat, so that Edinburgh City Council can establish if her flat is the source of the leak, with no success.

Instead the property above is being used as a short-term holiday let, and the Smiths’ problem is persisting.

Douglas said: “I can’t use the bath because there is a constant drip of dirty water from the ceiling which has stained the tub bright yellow and I can’t use the cooker because of drips that go into the pots when I’m cooking.”

The drips are present throughout the whole property including over the kitchen sink, oven and bath and have left the father and son unable to bathe or cook in their home.

The drips are present throughout the whole property including over the kitchen sink, oven and bath and have left the father and son unable to bathe or cook in their home.

On top of damp and mould the leak is causing “pasta-like fungus” to grow on the walls and ceiling.

He said: “I remember the first time I saw the fungus, Dad asked ‘were you cooking pasta, why is it all over the floor?’ then we realised what it was. It grows pretty fast and we have to scrape it back every few weeks.”

Colin has come up with a creative way of stopping the leaks flooding the house and has built a massive slide out of black bin bags to catch the dirty water and divert it to the kitchen sink.

Douglas said the council official who came to inspect the flat one month ago said the slide was “a bloody masterpiece”.

While the slide has stopped flooding for now, the issues persist and Colin, who has emphysema, is suffering the effects of living in a damp, mouldy flat.

The council has said they are unable to properly solve the problem as they cannot gain access to the flat above due to a “practically untraceable” Airbnb owner, Amna Shafqat.

But Douglas said the council is not trying hard enough to gain access and while they agree that the Airbnb owner is being “very unhelpful” they feel like they are “just getting fobbed off at every corner”.

He said: “It’s difficult to get in contact with the Airbnb owner because Amna is never here and hires a man to come and clean the flat but we finally managed to get in contact with her through Facebook.

“We explained the situation to her and why we needed access but Amna said it wasn’t her problem.

“We asked if the council could gain access and she said no, this was over a year ago and nothing has happened since then.

“We gave the council her details and we don’t understand how it’s been a year and they still haven’t been able to get access to solve the problem.

“We feel very let down, you pay for certain services and it feels like they have forgotten about us.

“When I get up for work my mood changes, my dad doesn’t want to get up and make himself breakfast any more.

“We have lived here for 20 years but it’s just not our home any more.”

The Evening News attempted to contact Ms Shafqat without success.

A council spokesperson said: “We are doing everything we possibly can to impress on the owner of the flat above the importance of allowing access to their property so the leak can be fixed.

“We appreciate how frustrating this is for our tenants and in cases such as these it is our policy to offer alternative housing until the issue is resolved.”