A father whose partner died after catching pneumonia is suing their former landlord over claims bodged attempts at fixing a boiler turned their family home into an ‘iceberg’.
Timothy McDonagh said Kelly Naghten died because ‘cowboy’ landlord Ali Bolat did not do enough to make sure their ‘freezing’ north
The couple were allegedly forced to put up with walls covered in mould and rain puddling on the floor.
And then shortly after their second
Mr McDonagh, who has been left to look after their four young children, is now suing the landlord for £400,000, who he blames for her death.
Timothy McDonagh, 42, said his partner Kelly Naghten died because ‘cowboy’ landlord Ali Bolat did not do enough to make sure their ‘freezing’ north London house was in a habitable state
Mr McDonagh says Mr Bolat bodged boiler fixes himself, meaning it would frequently cut out and leave them without heating or hot water.
But Mr Bolat, who owned the property in Enfield as a rental investment, has vehemently denied the allegations and said Mr McDonagh was ‘exaggerating’ and that problems with the house were always fixed quickly.
Central London County Court heard this week that the couple moved into the house in Enfield in 2014 and claimed to almost immediately have problems, which worsened during the winter of 2015.
When the couple contacted Mr Bolat to deal with the boiler issues, it was claimed he carried out ‘amateurish’ repairs of his own, which failed, causing them to lose the heating again.
Central London County Court heard how the couple were allegedly forced to put up with walls covered in mould and rain puddling on the floor. But when the couple contacted Mr Bolat to deal with boiler issues, it was claimed he carried out ‘amateurish’ repairs of his own
When Mr McDonagh complained about having no hot water, he was told to get it from the electric shower above the bath.
In the witness box, Mr McDonagh, now 48 and living in Islington, said: ‘My family was torn away from me – I was happy, it was lovely’.
He told the judge he considered Mr Bolat to be a ‘cowboy’, claiming the property had been ‘very drafty’ due to gaps around the windows, while Kelly frequently had to scrub mould from the walls.
The court heard how on one occasion rain had poured into the house and left puddles next to plug switches.
Their complaints were eventually met with a threat of eviction, he added.
Shortly after their second Christmas in the property, Ms Naghten, 32, suffered a bout of flu which tragically led to her death from pneumonia and sepsis
Kelly fell ill before Christmas 2015 and was admitted to hospital, but she discharged herself and was back with her family for the holiday period.
But she then became ill again in the New Year and, having developed pneumonia and sepsis, died in hospital on January 30, 2016.
‘I have lost my wife and have four little kids to bring up,’ Mr McDonagh told the judge.
‘Kelly was the most beautiful, loveliest girl you could have seen.
‘This isn’t about me, it’s about my four little kids. Kelly was the best mother ever to her kids. She loved her children, they were her world.’
His barrister Nicholas Baldock told Judge Alan Saggerson that Mr Bolat’s own attempts to fix the boiler were ‘futile and amateurish.’
When he eventually had it inspected by tradesmen, ‘numerous issues’ were identified and it was replaced in January 2016.
‘It was only when he engaged properly qualified tradesmen that electrical and plumbing problems were resolved,’ he argued.
When Mr Bolat eventually had the property’s boiler inspected by tradesmen, ‘numerous issues’ were identified and it was replaced in January 2016
Mr Baldock argues that Mr Bolat was in breach of his obligation to repair the property in a timely manner.
That led to the house being ‘cold and damp’ which contributed to the severity of Kelly’s condition.
But for Mr Bolat, barrister Michael Leemy denied that the landlord was in breach of any of his obligations.
‘It is his case that the premises were not in physical disrepair to the extent that puddles formed on the floor or that mould formed on the walls,’ he said.
‘Whilst repairs to the hot water and central heating system boiler were required, these were carried out within a reasonable period of time and therefore the defendant is not in breach of his obligations.’
A cold and damp house would not have contributed to someone contracting flu, he added, since it is passed by person-to-person contact.
He claimed that accounts of mould and damp were ‘exaggerations’ by Mr McDonagh and other members of Kelly’s family, who gave evidence.
But Chloe McDonagh, a niece of the couple, said the smell of damp in the house was ‘overwhelming’ and that the family had had to ‘huddle around a heater’ to keep warm.
Giving evidence himself, Mr Bolat insisted that any issues with the house were dealt with promptly.
He had never seen any damp in the house, he insisted, and had even gone onto the roof to check when his tenants complained of leaking rainwater.
The electrics and boiler had been checked by professionals when he bought the house, he added.
And although he was not a plumber, Mr Bolat said he had a background in engineering and knew his way around a boiler.
The judge will give his judgment on the case at a later date.
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