Ceiling collapses in student house after ‘warnings to estate agent’ about crack

The ceiling collapsed in a student house after the estate agent was reportedly warned about a huge crack for weeks.

The group of seven young women were left “shaken up” after the ceiling landed in the living room and kitchen, with one going back to live with her parents.

The third-year Cardiff University undergraduates said they noticed a host of issues after moving into the seven-bedroom property in September.

This included the boiler not working and a toilet that doesn’t flush properly, reports WalesOnline.

But the major cause for concern was the growing crack and “spongy and damp” bathroom floor above it.

Their fears finally came to fruition on Saturday (October 29) when the ceiling at their accommodation in Ruthin Gardens, Cathays, fell through.

Speaking while parts of her ceiling remained on the floor in the lounge, one of the students explained: “Where the ceiling has fallen through there is a bathroom above it.

“As you get out of the bath and shower there is a crack in the floor and there is an identical crack below in the ceiling in the kitchen-lounge.”

She continued: “When we arrived we saw these cracks and we thought ‘this is definitely going to fall through’. It was an accident waiting to happen.

“The ceiling was drooping. It’s been drooping since we moved in with evidence of water being held in the ceiling.

“We asked the previous tenants and we’ve established that these cracks have been there for at least two years.

“We know the tenants and they have evidence that they constantly reported the same thing last year by email.”

CPS Homes, which oversees management and maintenance of the house, had sent workers to the property to assess the risks posed by the cracks.

The students claimed the workers responded by covering the crack in the bathroom with plywood.

“Each time we reported this to CPS Homes, the most recent time being around two weeks ago, they sent a contractor to put filler in the crack in the kitchen ceiling,” one of them explained.

“We became concerned because the floor in the bathroom is spongy. It felt like it wasn’t safe, so we decided as a house to stop using the shower.

“We told them that the floor in the bathroom was not safe, and they responded by putting some plywood over it. But this has been going on for years and so surely it was all rotten and was just a matter of time until this would happen.

“We think because this was a big job which would have cost a lot of money they decided they didn’t want to sort the issue properly.”

Due to their concerns over the safety of the floor in one of the bathrooms, the seven students were sharing one toilet and one shower.

They said what added salt to the wound was that due to a faulty boiler the “shower keeps going cold” and the “toilet doesn’t flush properly”.

They pay almost £400 a month each to live in the property.

When the ceiling did finally cave in, the students couldn’t get hold of CPS by phone, so went to the office.

“They weren’t very helpful,” one of the students continued.

“They kept asking us to give them half an hour. A long time later in the day they sent this contractor over.

“He came and put some tarpaulin on the ceiling and said he’ll be back. How are we meant to live in this house? It is not safe. Surely they would offer an alternative place to stay in the meantime.

“We have one other bathroom. There are seven girls living here. How can you expect seven girls to use one bathroom?

“The shower in there doesn’t even work properly. They said we could use the shower right on top of the hole in the ceiling which I just find mind-boggling.”

The women said they are “freezing” in the house and are still trying to use the kitchen to cook.

Another of the students claimed they have all been ill due to the boiler being broken, while there is mould on the walls throughout the property.

A spokeswoman for CPS Homes said: “We were sorry to learn of this report when the tenants brought it to our attention.

“The landlord’s own contractor recently attended and performed work that we were told would resolve a leak in the bathroom above the kitchen, though it now appears that the issue was misdiagnosed or the repair carried out wasn’t sufficient, causing plasterboard to come down.

“We extend our apologies to the tenants for this and, since being made aware of the issue on Saturday, have worked extensively with our landlord client, their contractor and the tenants to have everything resolved as quickly as possible.

“Clean-up work and initial making good was carried out within four hours of being reported, with full repairs commencing on the next working day.

“We are continuing to liaise with the landlord on the tenants’ behalf to secure them the compensation they deserve for the inconvenience caused.”