Family-of-eight’s ‘living nightmare’ in two-bed flat ‘riddled with damp and mould’

The mum, 37, lives in the East London property with her partner and six children, aged between two and 18 – she claims the living situation is affecting their health

A mum lives in this two-bed East London flat with her partner and six children
A mum lives in this two-bed East London flat with her partner and six children

A family of eight is “living in a nightmare” in a two-bedroom flat with “mould on the walls”.

A mum, who asked to be known as Ms Laima, moved into the East London flat 17 years ago when she only had one child.

She has since had five more children but says she remains “trapped” in the same flat.

The mum, 37, lives on the property with her partner and six children, aged between two and 18.

She told MyLondon : “We’re overcrowded – we shouldn’t be living like this.

“Me and my partner co-sleep with my two-year-old and my four-year-old, and then in the same room I’ve got my six-year-old in his cot, which he’s outgrowing.

“And then in the next bedroom, I’ve got my 18-year-old and my nine-year-old sleeping on the bottom bunk, and the 10-year-old on the top bunk.”







The mum says her family are suffering from being in a small flat
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Image:

Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon/BPM MEDIA)

The flat is part of Metropolitan Thames Valley housing association as Ms Laima also claims the flat’s door is a fire hazard because the front door lock is broken due to rust.

She said: “We’ve told Metropolitan that the door is actually a fire hazard, so if we need to get out, we can’t.”

She also claims there have been significant damp and mold issues which recur throughout the flat.

She explained that because two of the windows in the flat don’t open, the issues are “impossible” to resolve.

Ms Laima said: “I think [Metropolitan] are just ignoring me. I’m just stuck in this position until I have to make a complaint after a complaint. I don’t want compensation, I want them to fix the work in the flat.

“We shouldn’t be living the way that we are – why does it have to take months and months for things to get fixed?”







One bedroom is shared by three children and the mum shared the room with the other three
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Image:

Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon/BPM MEDIA)

In an attempt to escape her current property, Ms Laima has been looking to find a new home with more space through the Hackney Choice lettings scheme.

According to the Hackney Council website, this scheme allows “applicants on the housing waiting/transfer list to have greater control over where they live. You can apply for advertised properties, rather than wait to be allocated a home.”

Ms Laima voiced her view that the “cramped” living situation had a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of her family.

She added: “My kids have got no space to do their work from school, they’ve got no space to spend time and play because there’s so many of them.

“My 18-year-old, she’s rarely at home. She doesn’t study at home, so some weekends she stays at her friend’s because of lack of space.”







The family also claim there is mold in the flat
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Image:

Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon/BPM MEDIA)

Ms Laima suffers from asthma, as do two of her children. She claims the persistent mold and damp issues in the flat have aggravated their conditions, and even claims her children have been hospitalized in the past due to these health concerns

A spokesperson from Hackney Council said: “Obviously the concerns Ms Laima has with her current home need to be addressed by her housing association. We would of course prefer to provide a suitable, permanent home to every family that needs it, and we are acutely aware of the difficulties faced by Ms Laima and the 8,500 other families on our housing waiting list.

“Despite leading the way in delivering a new generation of Council homes in Hackney, our waiting list includes approximately 2,500 households in need of a 1 bed home, 3,000 in need of a 2 bed, 2,400 in need of a 3 bed and 600 in need of a 4 bed/5 bed.

“Last year only 409 homes became available of which only seven were 4 bedrooms or larger which is what Ms Laima is seeking. The estimated waiting time for a 4 bedroom home is 13 years.

“There are a range of other options available to residents including the mutual exchange scheme, enabling people to apply to exchange properties with other Council tenants in Hackney – or another Council, housing association, or other housing provider, in London and across the country.

“All of the options available can be found on our website .https://hackney.gov.uk/housing-options#options. If Ms Laima contacts our Housing Advice service we can arrange an appointment to go through these options in more detail with her.”







The mum moved to the flat 17 years ago
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Image:

Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon/BPM MEDIA)

A spokesperson from Metropolitan Thames Valley said: “Quite rightly, Ms Laima expects her family to be able to live in comfortable conditions. We strongly sympathize with the issues they are facing and have been working to rectify them.

“However, we apologise that this has not yet been achieved. We have been in discussion with Ms Laima for several weeks to arrange damp and mold treatment. However, at her request, we are first replacing the windows, which are scheduled to be fitted by the start of July.

“We have also been liaising with contractors since last month to carry out the necessary work to fix the front door lock. This is scheduled to be completed within the coming days and we will arrange a suitable time with Ms Laima for this to happen.

“For some time, we have advised Ms Laima to apply for an internal housing transfer to an alternative MTVH property. We are of course happy to support her should she wish to proceed with this. In the meantime, we will continue coordinating with Ms Laima to complete the necessary work which will enable her and her family to live more comfortably.”

The Mirror contacted Metropolitan Thames Valley housing association for a statement.

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