For years, Wollongong woman Jennifer has put up with water leaking - at times streaming - through her bathroom ceiling.
The leak originates in the unit above hers in the public housing block, and has been so bad that she can't even use the ceiling light; instead, she has to use a table lamp to light the room, despite the dangers.
It is not the only maintenance issue Jennifer has long fought to have the NSW Land and Housing Commission (LAHC) fix in the unit on Cliff Road she has called home for six years.
Rats have chewed their way up through the kitchen floor - "rats terrify me," Jennifer said - forcing her to plug the holes with expanding foam in a bid to keep the rodents out.
A screen door damaged in an attempted break-in has not been repaired; nor has the cabinetry in the kitchen, which is swollen, stained and tainted with mould after the kitchen sink leaked.
"Apparently it's not a necessity to have a decent kitchen," Jennifer said.
About three years ago a fire in the stairwell of the unit block damaged the ceiling and Jennifer said it flooded every time it rained, but it too was not touched for a long time, bar some plywood boards used to patch up the hole.
Jennifer said she had called the maintenance line that tenants were directed to contact when they had an issue, but it had gotten her nowhere.
She tried to escalate the situation by making a complaint, but it still resulted in nothing.
"I just want to have a shower and not be worried I'm going to get electrocuted," Jennifer said.
She did not feel comfortable in her home and felt like LAHC did not care; the stress of living there, she said, inflamed a medical condition.
Then on Monday, October 6 an inspector arrived at Jennifer's unit to take photos - a short time after the Mercury contacted LAHC with questions about Jennifer's unit and the general maintenance of public housing.
On Wednesday, work started on repairing the stairwell ceiling and an electrician arrived at Jennifer's units to fix some lights; on Thursday, a plumber attended the unit upstairs.
A NSW LAHC spokesperson said the agency took concerns about building quality "extremely seriously and the health and safety of our residents is paramount".
The spokesperson said LAHC would prepare a full report to address the maintenance issues Jennifer had raised by Friday, October 13.
"LAHC will continue to monitor the matter and maintain in contact with the tenant until all the required works have been completed," they said.
"The current NSW government has made commitments to improving the maintenance process for public and social housing, with a goal of ensuring all government-owned social housing properties are properly maintained, and all tenants are provided with clean, safe and habitable housing at all times.
"We know extended lead times on maintenance requests are not acceptable, the NSW government is committed to improving this as a priority."
Maintenance requests from LAHC tenants are assessed and prioritised according to safety and risk, and work is carried out by local contractors.
Response times vary, but should range from two hours to 20 days.
The spokesperson said the creation of new agency Homes NSW would "help streamline and address complex issues".
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