A FAMILY of four has been forced to live in temporary accommodation after a leak flooded their £1m home.
Julia Catling, 54, along with her husband and two children, have been staying in what they describe as "basically a caravan", for almost a year after water spilled into their home near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
The family say they are looking to reclaim money from Thames Water after the leak caused significant damage to their property.
Julia was first alerted to the issue in March 2020, when Thames Water engineers appeared at the house warning of low water pressure in the area.
That summer she noticed water in the house – on the landing and in the cracks of the walls.
When she looking into the area the water company had been working, she was horrified to find running water.
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Millions of gallons of water had allegedly been flowing under the property, forcing the family to move out.
Julia, who works in the equestrian industry, said this had also impacted her work.
She said: "It's made me feel terrified, we have no confidence in them fixing anything. It makes you scared of it happening again.
"We have horses on the property and can't leave them without anyone here. We're having to live in basically a caravan.
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"It's temporary accommodation which is costing my insurers £100k a year."
Julia said that Thames Water had found a leak months ago but didn't fix it as they weren't aware the water was actually going under the house.
She said:"The big disruption for us is that my daughter was supposed to get married from the house last weekend and now we weren't able hold that at home.
"The disruption is beyond anyone's comprehension. The house is completely gutted at the minute".
The family say they won't be back in the house until August, having been in temporary accommodation since May 2022 when repairs failed and another leak occurred.
Further flooding happened in March 2023.
Julia said: "They need to know what can happen when they leave these leaks running next to people's houses.
"Thames Water have made no effort to come out and speak to us – they couldn't care less."
A spokesperson from Thames Water said: "The customer's claim is currently with our insurers and solicitors, and we've contacted the customer directly to update them on our progress with this matter."
Experts advise contacting your insurance company first in the event of a flood.
Failing that, you can get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman service, which deals with flooding complaints and can help take your case forward.
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This comes after a water firm left a huge hole outside on man's flat after coming to fix a leak.
Another homeowner was also left homeless after his home flooded months after he moved in.
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