A family is struggling through self-isolation without heating or hot water after an engineer refused to fix their boiler when he heard one of them cough.
Dave French, 31, feels his family has been left to rot as they self isolate for 14 days with a broken boiler amid the Coronavirus crisis.
The family are forced to spend nearly two hours boiling the kettle to bath their children, Leah, 12, who has asthma, and Sydney, aged just three.
An engineer visited the property to fix their broken boiler last week but fled the house after hearing a cough, leaving the door open behind him and with the replacement part still in his hand.
It was said the engineer informed contractor BSW Heating that the family had Coronavirus, which they repeatedly denied.
Dave, from Erith in south east London, said: “It’s made us all feel worthless and that we are being left to rot. We have two children, one with asthma and a three-year-old who is also under the weather.
“Boiling a kettle for a bath takes nearly two hours and doesn’t really work for us.
“We cannot dry our washing in a cold house, the children are complaining that we are cold and we are using blankets and trying to keep as warm as we can.
“It’s making us feel like the landlord has no care for our wellbeing- with the boiler issues potentially being the reason for us feeling under the weather.”
Dave said he and partner Elizabeth Hills, 32, believe the engineer abandoned the job because he thought the family had coronavirus.
He added: “He knocked on the door as usual and went into the kitchen.
“One of us coughed and he literally just walked out of the property left the door open and we never saw him again.
“We think he thought we had Coronavirus. He just said ‘I need to use the phone’ and that was the last we saw of him.
“He had the repaired part in his hand which was due to fix the boiler so we know he had the capability to fix it but he just chose not to.
“It would have taken about ten minutes. He was trying to replace the circuit board that he had already changed two weeks ago.
“They have been around seven or eight times in the last month and it still has not been fixed.”
The family’s housing association defended the engineer’s decision and said work will resume after the family had self-isolated for two weeks.
But the family, who denied having Coronavirus, said they have had issues with the boiler since last month which was worked on in February but broke again in a matter on days.
Mr French said: “We work hard to pay our rent to the landlord and feel their duty of care is nothing short of abysmal.
“The response to the Coronavirus outbreak has reached a point of mass panic now.
“It is like it is turning friends into enemies as people are so scared. It is affecting us mentally but we are doing what we can.
“I would not like to see more vulnerable people or an old lady told the same thing and something bad happen to her as they have not kept their contract.”
Orbit housing association defended the engineer’s decision to leave the property and said he provided them with two temporary heaters which the family said are not able to heat their three-storey house.
They said the contractor was following Public Health England guidelines and the work will not be rescheduled until the end of a two-week isolation period.
A spokesperson said: “Our priority is the health and safety of every individual connected to Orbit from our customers and employees, through to our contractors.
“Following the guidelines issued by Public Health England, our contractor made the correct decision not to re-enter the property.
“Instead, he made sure the customer still had access to water and left behind two temporary heaters.
“As soon as the customer confirms that the self-isolation period is over, we will reschedule the works as a priority.”
The family said they are currently in the process of seeking legal advice and are considering taking Orbit to court for damages.