Natalie McGee with Tyler, 18 months, next to the blocked septic tank which their landlord refuses to fix.
Natalie McGee with Tyler, 18 months, next to the blocked septic tank which their landlord refuses to fix. Jocelyn Watts

Family forced to flee home

A FAMILY of six will soon be living in a campervan after a stand-off over a blocked septic tank and faulty grey water pump came to a head this week.

Natalie McGee and Adam Wellings couldn’t bear the stench and bucketing their faeces from the blocked toilet any longer and moved out.

The couple, who moved into the home four months ago with their four children aged between five months and nine years, alleged that landlord Henry Sapiecha had promised to fix the problems, but failed to do so.

“It was like this when we moved in and we’ve been asking him to fix it,” Ms McGee said. “He keeps saying he will, but never does.”

Ms McGee said Mr Sapiecha told them to fix it themselves, which they offered to do in lieu of an equal amount of rent money but Mr Sapiecha refused.

“We then refused to pay until it was fixed and he still wouldn’t do it.”

Mr Sapiecha disputed the allegation, however, saying he told the couple to get some quotes, choose the cheapest one and have the work done.

“She said she’d do it and take it out of the rent money but never has,” he said.

Ms McGee, however, said she had sourced verbal quotes and chosen the cheapest, but the plumber needed to have both parties sign an agreement before work could go ahead.

“Henry said we could do it but then wouldn’t sign the agreement.”

Mr Sapiecha said he gave the couple an eviction notice last week.

“I’m just waiting for them to move so I can get a team in to do the work.

“I got a quote from (a plumber) and he’s waiting to do the job.”

The plumber (who did not wish to be named) said the landlord had asked him to inspect the problems and tell him what needed to be done, but didn’t ask for a written quote.

Ms McGee said they were to leave by Saturday, October 16, but when the day came to hand over the keys, Mr Sapiecha had asked them to stay.

The landlord refuted that allegation also.

“I never asked them to stay,” he said yesterday.

“Adam told me they were leaving, but they haven’t. They’re supposed to be out, it’s not a free country.”

Meanwhile, the family were packing their belongings yesterday afternoon and intended to be out by tomorrow.

“We’re going to live in a campervan at Adam’s mother’s home in Craignish and put our things in storage.

A council spokesman yesterday said no evidence of a sewage spill was found after the first complaint was received on October 12, nor yesterday.

“Council has asked that rectification works be undertaken to the grey water system and will continue to monitor the system to ensure the works are completed.”



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