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Brixton Man Lives In Flat So Bad The Ceiling Has Collapsed And It’s Leaked For Years

It followed years of complaints from tenants about leaks and flooding.

A Brixton dad says he is “numb” after his ceiling collapsed following years of leaks and flooding in his flat.Basil Clarke’s kitchen and living room ceilings fell in on July 25 after heavy rains. It followed a string of severe leaks over the past seven years. Videos taken in his home over the years show water pouring through light bulbs, destroying his furniture, and leaving his floor covered in inches of water.

The 51-year-old lives in Holles House in Brixton, where many of his neighbour’s flats are also water damaged and prone to flooding. Basil believes his complaints to Lambeth Council have “fallen on deaf ears”. He said: “They don’t even care – I’m becoming numb towards it. Everybody’s just dragged their feet so much. “It’s given me so many anxieties, but I just don’t expect anything anymore.” After a damning ITV London report aired last week, Lambeth Council offered Basil another flat. He said: “I want to get out of here – I’ve had too much of this. To be honest I don’t want to move, I’ve been here for nearly 12 years and it’s my home. “But I couldn’t go through all this again. They’ve taken liberty after liberty, they don’t give a damn, and everything has just fallen on deaf ears.”

An 87-year-old man, who lives on the same floor, said he is afraid when he goes to sleep for fear his water-damaged bedroom ceiling will collapse on him. Dick Burke said: “The leaks have been going on for yonks. It’s not just from the roof, it’s the doors and windows. “One of these days the bedroom ceiling will fall in – it’s water damaged and stained. I’m afraid. It could happen when I’m asleep.” Dick has lived in the flat for 40 years. He said the council hasn’t done any work on the ceilings in all that time. He said: “I keep calling them but they don’t want to know. And it’s not just me, we’re all calling them because everybody has problems. “They’ve put up scaffolding but nobody has come to look at the roof. They’re playing mind games with us.”

ITV revealed last week that Basil’s neighbour Adeola Olutade’s ceiling collapsed on her, injuring her arm. Her neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said he heard Ms Olutade screaming after it happened. He said: “I heard her screaming ‘help, help, help’, if that fell on her child, she would have been stone dead. “The council doesn’t listen – they are ignorant and arrogant and they don’t care.” He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that tenants pay their rent and should feel safe in their homes.

‘They Don’t Care,’ Says Hackney Family Living In Mould-Infested Property

A Hackney Council tenant and her young children have had to live in a mould filled property for months.

A Hackney family is distraught after having to live for four months in a property infested with mould. One tenant living at the property, who preferred not to be named, says the problem has persisted since April. “They don’t care,” she said. The woman, who lives in the council property in Stoke Newington with her four children, three of whom have special needs, says they are unable to use both bathrooms due to the mould and the smell it emits.

The mould became a problem, she said, when the council left a pipe leaking after a repair job. It became so pungent and pervasive that the downstairs bathroom had to be “locked up”, but the mould later found its way into the property’s upstairs bathroom. “My little boy, he’s 12, does not want to use the bathroom and the one downstairs is locked up, where are we going to use? “I had to catch water and wash in the room. We can’t inhale the smell in the bathroom and there’s no windows or ventilation.”

The leak also caused electrical damage affecting the lighting in the house, posing a fire risk.  The council attended the property to inspect damp and mould in the bathroom on May 25 and repaired the leak causing the mould on June 9. A building maintenance team attended on July 23 to survey the outstanding work and all electrical issues in the property have been addressed.  Cllr Clayeon Mckenzie, Hackney’s cabinet member for housing services, apologised for the difficulties the family faced.

 

Croydon Mum And Boy, 3, Living In Damp-Riddled Flat So Bad It Rains Inside

A single mum has told how water runs down the walls of her flat when it rains, despite repeated complaints to the council.

Gemma Parker has lived in Longheath Gardens for the past seven years and says she has told Croydon Council about the problems with her flat. She says it has affected her mental health so badly she has considered taking her own life – as she suffers from depression.

Gemma lives with her son Max, three, who has asthma and eczema, something she thinks is made worse from the damp in the flat. When it rains, water runs from the balcony above into the hallway, bedroom and bathroom of the one-bedroom flat. Gemma has recently moved Max into the living room where he sleeps on a bed behind the sofa as it it the area least affected by damp.

The 38-year-old said that Max regularly gets chest infections meaning he misses a lot of nursery and she is worried about the impact this will have on his development. She said: “They have come and done work on it but the problem keeps coming back.“In March 2020 water was pouring down the walls, you were getting an electric shock if you put your hand on the tiled bathroom wall. The structural integrity of the block has gone, it doesn’t really matter what happens.”

The 38-year-old says she cleans the mould and repaints her walls nearly weekly to keep it looking nice. This year, Gemma got the Children’s Commissioner involved in her case. In April a senior child rights adviser for the commissioner wrote to Croydon Council requesting the family are moved as soon as possible.  The letter said: “These conditions cannot be deemed acceptable for a young child, whose environment has significant impact on his ability to thrive, and it seems his mother has genuinely tried all other avenues.”

Gemma says she has been advised by the council to use HomeSwapper, an online service to swap council housing. But the mum says she would not feel comfortable letting another person live in the flat due to the long-term problems she does not believe can be fixed.
(Source)

Mother Of Toddler Slams Council For Giving Her ‘Disgusting’ And ‘Dangerous’ Home

 A mum has complained about a “disgusting” and “dangerous” house she was given by her local council last year.

The mum and her one-year-old son moved into the property, in Cort Crescent, Braunstone, back in December 2020 – and the next six months have caused her nothing but problems, she says. She has had to make a series of complaints to Leicester City Council about a number of problems, including mouldy walls, a bathroom which she believes unsuitable for a young child and a fireplace which was coming away from the walls.

She has also raised concerns about the “dangerous” condition of her garden which has resulted in her son tripping and hurting himself. The woman says she has raised the issues multiple times with the council, but that the official assigned to her home deemed the work needed as “cosmetic” and her “responsibility to fix”. She is now worried about the long-term impact on her and her son’s health, and wants to move to a different property instead of waiting for improvements to be made.

She said: “I’ve tried everything, I spoke to the council officer and he came down and looked around the house. “He told us that everything in the home is my responsibility and that I just need to buy some cheap damp paint, cover it, and paint over it. “He was told that most of the work needing doing was cosmetic, and that I needed to fix it myself. “The issues he reported included damage to the window-frame and door handle, rather than the bigger things that needed doing.

 

 

National Housing Federation Sorry For ‘Unacceptable’ Living Conditions Exposed By ITV News

The National Housing Federation, which represents more than 800 social housing providers in England, has issued an apology and admitted the sector has let down tenants following an ITV News investigation.

The federation, whose members provide homes to around six million people, said living conditions exposed by our reporting were unacceptable.

“Your investigation has revealed stories that are just completely unacceptable, and I want to say sorry to those residents. They deserve better,”, the federation’s chief executive Kate Henderson told ITV News. She admitted a “culture change” is needed in social housing, along with “greater accountability, trust and responsiveness between the social landlord and residents”. “We’re absolutely committed to providing good quality services to residents,” she added. “However what your investigation has shown is that hasn’t always been the case. “Now, this is not the norm, but these situations you’ve revealed are just not acceptable. Sorry might be an easy word to say but it’s absolutely genuine.”

She added: “We know that around 5% of housing association homes do have some kind of damp or mould and we need to take urgent action. “So I’ve been talking to members, since your investigation started airing about what they’re doing. I know some members are investing more money.

Around six million people live in housing associations properties. Similar to council housing, they provide homes at lower rents to people most in need, who cannot afford to rent on the open market. ITV News has learned that the number of complaints to the housing ombudsman about housing associations has risen by 35% in the last three years. There were 7,316 complaints in 2020/21, compared to 5,409 in 2018/19.

But while complaints against housing associations have gone up, so have the salaries they pay their chief executives. The highest earning chief executive earns £436,681, while every chief executive at the top ten biggest housing associations earns more than £284,000. In 2020 chief executives of the ten biggest companies took home, on average, £340,000. While housing associations don’t make profits, they generate additional income by building and selling homes on the open market. Their income has more than doubled from £10 billion in 2008 to £21.2 billion in 2020.

ITV Investigation Exposes Squalid Conditions In London Estate

The UK’s biggest housing association has admitted it has failed tenants. ITV News investigation found widespread disrepair and squalid conditions across an entire housing estate of nearly 500 homes.

Clarion Housing issued an apology to all its residents of Eastfields Estate in Mitcham, South London, admitting that they “had not had the service they deserve.”

ITV News found shocking conditions on the estate and dozens of families living in damp, mouldy, crumbling homes with ongoing leaks. The estate is plagued by a rodent infestation, with several residents showing us videos of mice and rats in their properties.  Clarion, which owns 125,000 homes across the UK and this year recorded a turnover of £943 million, have been accused by Eastfields’ tenants of abandoning them and ignoring their complaints for years.

Housing Associations offer more affordable rented housing, predominantly to people on lower incomes.  Similar to council housing, housing associations charge generally cheaper rent than privately rented housing with longer tenancies. Affordable housing for rent however is in short supply, and there are long waiting lists for housing association homes – it is common for people to wait several years to be given a permanent property.

Juliet Arthur and her husband work three jobs between them to pay Clarion £1,300 a month for a property they live in with their three children. They have been forced to live for eight months without any lights on the top floor of their house, including in the family bathroom and their children’s bedroom. The lights cut out in November last year after a leak in her living room caused the ceiling to collapse, inches from where her son was doing schoolwork. When we visited Juliet on June 1, there was still a huge hole in her ceiling, seven months after it caved in.On the other side of Eastfields, Juliet Amedline works two jobs to pay for a Clarion flat that is falling apart.

The kitchen ceiling is covered in black mould, and there are huge holes in the walls that she has been forced to cover herself with cardboard and gaffer tape to stop rodents coming in. She has even bought a bag of cement herself and filled in holes in the walls after Clarion failed to fix them. Janet says the sound of rats moving around in her walls prevents her from sleeping night. Her bathroom is also rotting – the door and bath panels are broken, chunks of plaster have fallen from the walls and Janet is forced to wash with a bucket because the bath leaks into the property below.

Maria and Christopher Horley are among Eastfields’ longest serving tenants. Over nearly 30 years, they have watched the estate fall deeper into disrepair. A leak in the corridor outside their front door is the latest in a long line of problems, but their biggest worry right now is in their hallway.  Christopher has leg braces that make it difficult for him to walk, and he keeps tripping up over the broken floor tiles in his specially-fitted footwear. They told us they have little faith in Clarion to improve the estate while they wait to be moved.

(Source)

Grenfell: Four Years After The Disaster, Are Our Buildings Safer?

In the four years since the Grenfell Tower fire, which led to the unconscionable deaths of 72 people, one key question remains unanswered. Are our buildings any safer? The short answer is: not yet.

The facts and figures uncovered in the ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry and other investigations, continue to shock. An initial key finding of the inquiry’s first report in 2019 was that the external cladding that surrounded Grenfell Tower was largely responsible for the fire spreading so quickly.

Since the fire, over 400 other high rise buildings surveyed around the country have been found to have external wall materials similar to those used on Grenfell Tower. Several more recent tower block fires also show serious fire hazards in high-rise buildings remain.

The Grenfell inquiry’s recommendations so far have focused, primarily, on fire-safety legislation, the readiness and operational challenges of emergency services and, crucially, on how everyone – from developers to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) – needs to have a better grasp of how high rises are built and the challenges they pose.

(Source)

Clarion Apologise For Conditions On Eastfields Estate

Residents have shared the shocking conditions inside of number of properties on a housing estate in Mitcham, South London.

Families living on Eastfields Estate say they have been forced to live in unfit housing full of damp, mice, and asbestos panels. Since publishing a story last week, more residents have come forward to speak on the appalling conditions. Some say they have been complaining to their housing association for “decades.”

A family of six who live in a one bedroom flat, said they have also had “constant leaks” in their bathroom. They said that they have “lost count” of the number of complaints they have raised over the past seven years. “We ended up with mould and mushrooms in there while pregnant,” they said.

Several tenants said that despite the “whole estate” being riddled with rats, the housing association has ignored their concerns.

“My daughter even trod on a mouse. I’m on the second floor! They are in the walls everywhere,” said a woman who has lived on the estate for 20 years. Another referenced an email from a pest control company which stated that they believe there is a “wider issue inside” their flat block concerning rats. She said she was forced to call the private company after the housing association said “they don’t do pest control anymore. Honestly, I don’t even go into the kitchen I’m that scared,” she said. “My boyfriend fills up a jug of water for me before he goes to work, and I just buy food out.”

Residents also complained about maintenance issues. One person said that a broken fire door and main entry door has allowed people to come in and take drugs and said that others “urinate and poo” in the block. Another resident spoke on how gaps in the windows have led to mould on the curtains – costing her a “great amount of money.”

One parent said that she and her disabled daughter have been left without a shower for an entire year. She said that every time she showers it leaks through the kitchen ceiling – running onto her electric cables. While another person said that her ceiling collapsed during lockdown and hasn’t been fixed despite paying over £1,000 in rent each month.

(Source)

Mum Whose Celling Collapsed Twice After Leaks Tells ITV News Her Son Could Have Been Killed

A mother whose ceiling collapsed twice after persistent water leaks in the flat above, has told ITV News her son “could have died” and that her life is being ruined because of poor housing conditions.

Nicole Walters, who recorded a video on Sunday of water gushing through the ceiling, said the debris fell on the spot where he normally sits to play video games. A clip of the moment the water breaks through was shared by a relative and has been viewed 150,000 times on Twitter.

Sunday’s incident was the second time the ceiling has caved in in three years.  Ms Walters said the problems started in her flat in 2017 and since then she has only had “six to nine months” where there have not been leaks from above. In 2018, she was at home asleep on her sofa when a large part of the ceiling collapsed onto her, injuring her foot. The problem is so persistent, Ms Walters told ITV News, that her son says the house “is a leaking house”.

“It shouldn’t have to be like that, he’s only a child but in his mind our house leaks all the time, and that’s not normal, but it’s so sad that he think that’s normal,” she said.

Ms Walters works as a chef and runs a food delivery service, but says the constant problems with her flat are impacting her business. She said: “I feel like every time it gets to a point where I feel comfortable in my business, something happens to the house again and I am stuck and I can’t trade. Even though it ruins my life when it’s leaking, the domino effect of it ruins my life after that because it takes ages for things to get back to normal, and then when normal comes it’s another six months of hell. I’m tired of complaining, I just want a permanent place for me and my son to be able to call home. It’s not fair, I just want to leave, I don’t want to be living in this condition.”

She criticised Southwark Council, who she says she has complained to constantly about the leaks, saying they need to “listen and take action”.

Ms Walters said the council needed “to start listening and taking action because people will lose their lives. “I injured my leg for three to four months, I was unable to work so even after they plastered the ceiling, I was physically unable. All they have to do is just listen and take action.  If you listen early then lives wouldn’t be ruined, my life wouldn’t be ruined.”

Ms Walters believes if she was “more wealthy” then she wouldn’t be in this situation.

She said: “I work hard, I’m trying to build a foundation for my son and I think it’s unfair that, as working class, we have to be going through all this extra stuff because we’re not the higher class because we’re not white why is that? I think if I was a bit more wealthy, maybe this wouldn’t have happened, maybe my voice would have been heard. Being from a black background, I feel there’s a lot of struggles. This is not fair, I’m just trying to build myself for me and my son to have a good foundation and I can’t even have a place to call home.

(Source)

Damp In Archway Flat Makes Us Feel Worthless

A FAMILY say they have been left feeling “utterly worthless” after battling their landlords for almost 30 years to fix chronic damp in their Archway home.

Sara Araia claims her mother has suffered ill health due to problems with her flat but an endless cycle of complaints going back years has got nowhere.

The 22-year-old had hoped the issues would be resolved when she came to an agreement with Partners for Improvement, the private consortium that has a long-term contract to manage council repair works, to hack back the damp walls. But she says she has watched on in despair as the work failed to resolve the problem. Partners have now told the family to return to the property despite the fact that Ms Araia says that damp remains in several rooms and there is a hole in the roof in the hallway.

She said: “We feel worthless, completely and utterly worthless. It’s like we’re living back in the 1600s – like we have no rights. I’m so frustrated. It’s been so long.” In reply, Partners say they have been met with “hostility” over the work. Ms Araia’s mother emigrated from Eritrea in 1992 when she was offered the flat.

“As soon as I could write I was writing letters to the council,” Ms Araia said. “The damage it has done to our family is crazy. I used to think it was my mum’s fault because she couldn’t speak English, but it’s that they don’t care. “Why don’t they just investigate something when we bring their attention to it instead of thinking we’re mad. Wouldn’t it be better just to get the work done properly?”

(Source)