It’s long enough in the past now that I can look again at my email to the letting agent after the flat flooded and find it vaguely amusing. This was 14 June 2006. Posted today 27 March 2007 (it has taken a *long* time to forget this little joy).

I spoke to one of your colleagues at about 6.50pm last night. I got home last night to find the bottom floor flooded (following the heavy rainfall. Your colleague indicated that my phonecall was not the first of the evening and that a lot of clients had had water coming in from the back garden following the heavy rainfall, advised that I clean it up as best I could and that I call back today.

After I finished speaking to him, I investigated it further and the damage/situation is far worse than first seen. The water has not come in from the back garden (at least, not entirely), but rather has come up through the bath drain / toilet, so I can only think that the black substance covering the floor and most of our belongings on the floor is a mixture of storm water and sewage.

It seems to have reached a height of two-three inches (the ring around the bath is about 4 inches) and the below is a brief description of current state of the flat:

* Bubbles coming up from between the floorboards when you walk on the floor.
* Floor black with sewage / stormwater (rather than the usual golden floorboards!!)
* Dead rat in the toilet, leaves and dead slugs around the seat of the toilet (thankfully the lid was down)
* Bath black with sewage/stormwater
* Water has got into various electrical items – the burglar alarm is also ‘bleeping’ which makes me think that water may have got into the system.
* Given the height of the water, I’m a little concerned that it may have got into the mains electrics.
* Flat is in general disarray e.g. bathmat (now covered in ‘black’) has floated out from the bathroom to over by the stairs (about 2m journey!), bins are on their side and have floated out, a six-pack of Diet Coke cans has floated from under a chair to by the kitchen (quite impressive!)
* When I call my landline, it goes straight to BT 1571 – which it shouldn’t do – so I assume that there is water in the telephone system.
* ‘Black’ water has got onto the sofa – at least the sofa covers, and obviously has got around the bottom of the furniture. I didn’t stay long enough to see how bad it was in the cupboard under the stairs, or in the bottom drawers of the sideboard, but given the height it seems to have reached, I can only assume that it will have damaged these as well.
* The flat smells very bad indeed.

Thankfully we have contents insurance to cover our property, but at the moment the flat is clearly uninhabitable and I had to find alternative accommodation last night – off the top of my head, the following needs to happen before it is fit to live in again:
* Initial clean up of the flat to clear drains / ‘black’ silt etc. (remove the rat etc.)
* Dehumidifier to dry out the flat (I don’t know how much space there is under the floorboards, but the ‘bubbles’ described above would indicate that there is a fair amount of water under there).
* Testing of the electrical / telephone systems to identify/correct damage
* Removal of our goods
* Removal / replacement of the landlord’s damaged items
* Disinfecting and professional cleaning of the flat before items are put back in again…..

I think that it is probably best that someone from Keatons comes round to have a look at it, just to see for themselves and be in a better position to indicate how long it will take to resolve – I would think we may be looking at a couple of weeks – perhaps you could come round at 5pm (as I suspect that the prospective tenant you had lined up will not want to see it in this state!) – I’m going to have to get off work early to pack for my holiday tomorrow, so could probably do earlier on in the afternoon if need be.

Please drop me an email / call me!