SHE is used to making people smile and is one of the most famous faces on Glasgow’s stage and screen scene. 

However, for Elaine Mackenzie Ellis, the past five years have been anything but a laughing matter after being plagued by damp in her North East flat. 

The Rab C Nesbitt star – who has also appeared in Still Game and Sunshine on Leith – has told of her misery following a stream of problems in her Sighthill home, which culminated in her bathroom floor collapsing 18 months ago. 

“It’s just a story of stupidity,” the 54-year-old, who lives with mum Ishbel, 86, said.

“People are still paying full rent or factor fees but getting no service at all.

“When my mum and I moved in here five years ago, the bathroom smelled kind of damp and the plaster was flaking around the shower. 

Glasgow Times:

“It was looking a bit damp and mouldy. I called them in and they got an inspector who said there was nothing to see.

“He went away and a year later it was getting worse. There was black up beside the shower.

“I was initially renting but bought my flat and then around 18 months ago the floor collapsed in the bathroom. Just like that.

“Now, I’m not the smallest person in the world but I thought: ‘holy moly, I can’t go through the floor’.”

On investigation, it emerged the shower had not been fitted correctly when the flat was first built. 

“The tradesmen have never been an issue but it’s the higher-ups who have been the problem,” Ms Ellis, who moved into the flat from the now demolished Sighthill high-rises, said. “That should never have happened and it should never have passed inspection.

“They came out and fixed it all and that was fine. But then about six months ago I noticed there was water coming out of the shower again.

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“I pulled up the flooring and noticed it has all soaked through and been that way for months. Thankfully, it’s not quite collapsed yet.”

To compound matters further, Lowther – which manages the property on behalf of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) – has focused on “essential repairs” during the pandemic, adding to the difficulty in getting the go-ahead for the damp to be cleared. 

“A joiner has been out twice – who has been fantastic – but as he said he needs an inspector to come out” Ms Ellis said. “I’ve heard them on the phone saying they need an inspector to come out as they can’t do any big work without it being authorised.

“Then on Friday they sent someone out after I complained again but they sent a plumber. 

“He came up and told me I need a joiner and inspector. I thought they were finally sending an inspector to get this all sorted. 

“Then, I was told they had arranged for someone to come out on Monday only to be later told no appointment had been made.

Glasgow Times: Elaine and her mother Ishbel Elaine and her mother Ishbel

“They keep going on about the new Sighthill homes but they are not managing the properties properly that are already there.

“The flats are great, as much as I miss the high flats and it’s a great community, but they’ve just dumped us here and cleared off.

“The foot soldiers have all been really good but it’s the ones, as always, higher up who are causing the problem.” 

Ms Ellis’s rotten luck hasn’t stopped with her bathroom and recently she was sent bills from Scottish Gas for money owed by GHA, although these were later passed on to the housing provider. 

“Not only are they letting my bathroom floor collapse under me, I’m being held responsible for debts they haven’t paid,” she said. “What if I had just panicked and paid that?” 

Ms Ellis’s case is being fought by Glasgow North East MP Anne McLaughlin, who said: “This has been a long running saga of poor service that has resulted in an unacceptable situation being dragged out for years. 

“If this is how the housing association treat a confident and assured woman who knows her rights as a tenant, then I do worry about those that may not have the confidence to raise and pursue these matters and the conditions they may be left living in.”

A spokesman for Lowther promised to resolve any issues as soon “as it is safe to do so”. 

He said: “We’re sorry this owner has experienced these problems with her shower again. 

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“We repaired it last year and again this summer, and responded to an emergency call-out last week. 

“We are arranging to carry out a full investigation this week to establish the source of the problem.  

“Although our focus at this time is on carrying out essential repairs only in line with current government restrictions, we’ll resolve any issues identified through our inspection as soon as it is safe.”