A mother of three has been left depressed and worried after being left stranded by her landlord without running hot water with no certainty of a repair date.

Elizabeth, 44, (who prefers to remain anonymous) is a Sanctuary Housing Association tenant in Tavistock and has had numerous issues with delayed repairs and maintenance work on the roof and window frames of her home.

Now her situation has escalated with the complete breakdown of her electrically heated water system two weeks ago, leaving her and her three children with no hot water to wash themselves or their dishes.

The system had already been faulty since December last year, producing dangerously boiling water in the taps and putting the family at risk of scolding.

Elizabeth said Sanctuary did not respond adequately, despite her having it reported it to her landlord six times.

Two weeks ago the system stopped working completely, so Elizabeth called her landlord again.  An engineer duly visited on Friday, April 5 to inspect the hot water tank but advised that the water tank and heater needed replacing. He reported this to Sanctuary who told Elizabeth the issue had been escalate by the housing, but could not be rectified until they had authorisation to go ahead.

This leaves Elizabeth and her children – aged 16, 18 and ten – reliant solely on hot water coming from boiling a kettle. The shower, which runs separately on electricity, is also broken.

She said: “I do get very depressed and annoyed, especially as this follows a number of similar incidents. It took 18 months to have the roof repaired and two years to replace rotten wooden window frames

“We can’t follow daily routine with no hot water in taps to wash faces in the morning, no hot water means boiling the kettle twice to be able to do dishes (pots and pans) and no water for baths as my son and I suffer with skin conditions that require a bath and making matters and health worse.

“Emotionally it is depressing, “It’s appallingly to have no working shower. It’s affecting [my daughter’s] mental health as she feels insecure about how she might appear. My youngest son has an education and health care plan and the lack of proper washing routine is massively affecting his mental health.”  

She cannot afford the storage room heaters and relies on the boiler’s radiant heat instead, so they struggle to keep warm.

A spokesperson for Sanctuary said: "Following an inspection by our contractor, it was decided that a new water tank is needed in this property. The replacement tank has been ordered and it will be installed as soon as it arrives. "While the tenant does have an electric shower to use, we are sorry it has taken longer than expected to complete these repairs. We can also confirm we have made contact with our customer about the other concerns raised."

A contractor has now visited the property to assess what parts are needed for the hot water tank.