A long-term resident of the Northbourne Flats in Turner has called on the ACT Government to reach a decision on the future of estate and to stop treating tenants like "second-class citizens".
Phil Brown, who has called the flats home for seven years, said he had been living without heating for more than two months and was sick of having to negotiate rats, possums and the occasional wafting smell of raw sewage.
"These flats mate; they’ve just let them go because they know that redevelopment is coming up and there is no point in keeping up with the maintenance in the meantime," he said.
"I’m sick of feeling like I’m being treated like a second class citizen."
As a last resort, Mr Brown wrote a letter to Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury on Monday calling for help to resolve the many maintenance issues at the Northbourne Flats.
"Living here in Northbourne Flats is trying, to say the least, I know that in the time I have lived here my mental health has deteriorated," he wrote.
"Due to the talk of redevelopment and train lines, etc, the maintenance of this place has been neglected badly over the last few years. I know a lot of people living here feel like second class citizens myself included."
A spokeswoman for Mr Rattenbury said the minister and Housing ACT considered the wellbeing of tenants who lived in public housing to be of "the utmost importance".
She said Mr Brown had been informed his concerns would be investigated and the email had been forwarded to Housing ACT.
"As he raised quite a lot of issues, resources needed to be deployed to ascertain the scope of the problems, and also to check what communications he had had to date with the directorate," she said.
Mr Rattenbury said the maintanence issues had nothing to do with any proposed developments on Northbourne Avenue.
"The maintenance and upkeep of Northbourne flats has not been affected by any proposed redevelopments, and tenants there are provided with the same level of service that is provided to all public housing tenants,” he said.
Mr Brown said he had been complaining to Housing ACT for 10 weeks about the broken boiler heater system in his apartment - which he pays for as part of his rent - but the matter had still not been resolved.
"After nine weeks of this problem, housing said I can use my own electric heater and they will cover the extra electricity, but for those nine weeks I stayed pretty bloody cold,” he wrote.
Mr Rattenbury's office said an appointment had been arranged to install a new pump for the boiler heating system on Friday, although the tenant had been offered temporary electric heating and assistance paying any additional costs.
But Mr Brown said a lack of reliable heating was just the start of problems that plagued the ageing and aesthetically confronting flats.
In his letter to Mr Rattenbury, Mr Brown spoke of raw sewage leaks below and around the block he lived in, making it unbearable to open his windows at times.
"You can’t always smell the sewage but when there’s a breeze I can smell it in my apartment," he said.
"One time I went down to check it out and I couldn’t get two feet in the door down there.”
The minister’s spokeswoman said sewage spills were treated as an urgent request and cleaning contractor Spotless attended and undertook necessary repairs and cleaning of the area immediately after being informed.
Like many homes in Canberra, Mr Brown said the Northbourne Flats had its share of trouble with possums setting up home within walls and roofs.
"There are possums crawling throughout the insides of this place," he said.
"I know a guy living upstairs who has one living permanently behind a panel in part of his kitchen - his cats go up and just stare at it."
Mr Brown said the hot water system at the Northbourne Flats failed on a regular basis, meaning he often had to deal with cold showers during winter.
"The plumbing here is just shocking," he said.
"The hot water is not working every other bloody day."
Mr Brown said rubbish was often left outside the flats, attracting rats and rodents to the housing estate.
But Mr Rattenbury’s office said Housing ACT had no reports about rodents although faults with the hot water system had been resolved.
“Housing ACT has no recorded reports about possums or rats in the complex and whilst there was in the past an issue with hot water in a section of the units, it has been rectified,” the spokeswoman said.
Mr Brown told the minister that despite all the complaints it was the inability of anyone to resolve the issue that was “even more maddening”.
“I have to admit over the past few months [of] trying to get this problem solved my capacity to stay calm and patient is really starting to wear thin,” he said.
Mr Rattenbury’s office said Housing ACT had made multiple attempts to contact any affected resident although communications will be reviewed to ensure the usual high standard of response time.