'We're living in a squalor' - family's nightmare in mouldy flat

Borehamwood Times: The ceiling in Daniel's bedroom is crumbling to the floor The ceiling in Daniel's bedroom is crumbling to the floor

Mould growing on the ceiling of a six-year-old boy’s bedroom caused the ceiling to crumble to the floor.

Rebecca Hedges, of Alban House, Crown Road, has been living in “squalid” conditions with her son, Daniel, for six years.

The 23-year-old is constantly faced with rotten walls and blackened ceilings - but despite repeated cleaning, the problem always returns within days.

When it rains, water pours through the ceiling in Daniel’s bedroom and pieces of plaster have begun to disintegrate and fall to the floor.

She believes the flat roof of her top floor flat is to blame - but despite contacting housing association Affinity Sutton, the problem is yet to be sorted.

History student Ms Hedges said: “It’s just disgusting. It’s so dingy and I feel like I’m living in some sort of slum here. It’s squalid.

“It’s a nightmare. I feel very stressed out by this. It’s tiring having to constantly clean the same spot every day.

“I’ve done everything I can but it’s quite obvious the roof is broken and the problem will just return when it rains again. I don’t know what to do.”

It has also destroyed the ceiling of her bedroom and she has been forced to sleep on the couch since November.

Daniel’s shoes, toys and suitcase have also all grown mouldy and she is constantly having to replace ruined items.

Mould also grows onto the walls in the lounge - so the family were unable to have a Christmas tree this year so as not to cause any extra damage.

She added: “I feel sick every time I come home. It smells awful too.

“Affinity Sutton do come down and plaster it over but the problem just comes back again when it rains.

“I dread coming home now.”

A statement from Affinity Sutton said: “We are aware of a water leak and damp issue affecting one property at Alban Court and we are in communication with the tenant.

“We have issued an instruction to our roofing contractor to carry out an inspection of the roof, however, for health and safety reasons they are unable to do this until there is a break in the adverse weather.

“If roof repairs are required, we will undertake these as soon as possible.   “In the meantime, we will continue to offer the resident interim assistance including treating the affected walls with specialist anti-mould treatment.”

Comments (6)

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11:34am Tue 31 Dec 13

volunteer4d1 says...

If this lady's property is that bad, Affinity Sutton have the duty to rehouse her long before the story got to the newspapers & I for one would not have put up with those conditions for 1 year never mind 6 years. Ms Hedges can also contact a solicitor who specialises in Legal Disrepair. I used to work for a local authority with the legal disrepair team. I really hope Ms Hedges and her son are rehoused as soon as possible.
If this lady's property is that bad, Affinity Sutton have the duty to rehouse her long before the story got to the newspapers & I for one would not have put up with those conditions for 1 year never mind 6 years. Ms Hedges can also contact a solicitor who specialises in Legal Disrepair. I used to work for a local authority with the legal disrepair team. I really hope Ms Hedges and her son are rehoused as soon as possible. volunteer4d1

12:48pm Tue 31 Dec 13

Carol75 says...

Really saddened to read this. The poor family. How can Affinty Sutton leave them for so long before doing anything about it. They've now said theyll look at the roof when the weather improves but why didnt they do this in the first place?? Agree with the above comment they should be rehomed until its sorted. Not only is it destroying there belongings but it can also affect there health! Really hope Ms Hedges is being fully compenstated!
Really saddened to read this. The poor family. How can Affinty Sutton leave them for so long before doing anything about it. They've now said theyll look at the roof when the weather improves but why didnt they do this in the first place?? Agree with the above comment they should be rehomed until its sorted. Not only is it destroying there belongings but it can also affect there health! Really hope Ms Hedges is being fully compenstated! Carol75

1:05pm Tue 31 Dec 13

TFEB says...

A sorry story, a mother at 17, still a student and her own damp Affinity Sutton flat.
A sorry story, a mother at 17, still a student and her own damp Affinity Sutton flat. TFEB

1:37pm Tue 31 Dec 13

j.blake72 says...

"Still a student" - I believe 23 is still a relatively young age to be attending university. Stereotypical foolishness right there.
"Still a student" - I believe 23 is still a relatively young age to be attending university. Stereotypical foolishness right there. j.blake72

1:45pm Tue 31 Dec 13

volunteer4d1 says...

It would be very kind if someone were to offer Ms Hedges & her son somewhere to stay for a week, just so they can get away for just a little while from the awful conditions they are living with, I would very much like to offer them that help my self but I live in Nottingham & only have a one bedroom flat, so unfortunately I can't help.
It would be very kind if someone were to offer Ms Hedges & her son somewhere to stay for a week, just so they can get away for just a little while from the awful conditions they are living with, I would very much like to offer them that help my self but I live in Nottingham & only have a one bedroom flat, so unfortunately I can't help. volunteer4d1

4:19pm Sun 5 Jan 14

Frank Ward says...

Where have all the Councillors Gone?

The revelation in the Boreham Wood Times exposing the plight of a family described as living in squalid and slum conditions is a damning and shameful indictment on Affinity Sutton, the landlords with equal condemnation of the three elected Labour Councillors: E Butler, A Harrison and D Hoeksma who represent that part of the community and would appear to be conspicuous by their absence?
Only Cllr. Butler lives in Boreham Wood, A Harrison and D Hoeksma live in Potters Bar and Bushey which may explain some of the reason for their evident lack of focus in the Ward they represent?
Why are the residents of Boreham Wood apparently reluctant to appeal for help from their Councillors?
The reason may be simple as one member of the community commented to me following the recent exposure: 'I know of many people who asked for help only to find that weeks if not months later they were still waiting on a response from their local Councillor. When they did, after phoning again and again, they were told by their Councillor it was not their fault, they had to wait on the Officers of the Council and would they please remind them again by putting it in writing. Eventually you just give up and forget it.' he concluded.
Meanwhile, back at St. Alban House, I would contend if the occupants were an immigrant family they would simply make contact with one of the many pro-immigrant litigation action groups of their respective nationality, not their local Councillors.
This would result immediately in contractors acting on instructions from the landlord, arriving on the doorstep of the family, similar to the landing of an expeditionary task force with a mission possible, armed with digital hygrometers to measure the volume of humidity to determine if the content is in excess of the recommended maximum relative humidity (RH) of 65% degrees within the dwelling; the use of infra-red thermometers to identify cold bridge factors within the structure; moister content meters to measure the plaster work penetration by the condensation; workers to remove black mould from the interior with specified cleaning agents and who would also apply salt neutraliser prior to redecoration and supply without charge a dehumidifier to extract excess moisture. The leaking roof would be repaired and finally with mission accomplished a qualified Surveyor or a Chartered Builder would conduct a 'condition survey' to determine if the family required to be relocated in the event the dwelling was still deemed sub-standard accommodation and unfit for habitation in compliance with the caveats of the Housing and Environmental Heath Acts?
The alternative would be the threat of legal enforcement using the appropriate legislation by Hertsmere Borough Council against the landlord--its as simple as that?
Thanks to three hundred years of press freedom which the Conservatives, ,Labour and the Liberal Democrats now oppose and intend to curtail with legislation, the Boreham Wood Times was able to expose this social injustice for other indigenous member of the community to witness and draw their own conclusions?
Frank Ward
Chairman
Hertsmere UKIP and also a Chartered Builder
Where have all the Councillors Gone? The revelation in the Boreham Wood Times exposing the plight of a family described as living in squalid and slum conditions is a damning and shameful indictment on Affinity Sutton, the landlords with equal condemnation of the three elected Labour Councillors: E Butler, A Harrison and D Hoeksma who represent that part of the community and would appear to be conspicuous by their absence? Only Cllr. Butler lives in Boreham Wood, A Harrison and D Hoeksma live in Potters Bar and Bushey which may explain some of the reason for their evident lack of focus in the Ward they represent? Why are the residents of Boreham Wood apparently reluctant to appeal for help from their Councillors? The reason may be simple as one member of the community commented to me following the recent exposure: 'I know of many people who asked for help only to find that weeks if not months later they were still waiting on a response from their local Councillor. When they did, after phoning again and again, they were told by their Councillor it was not their fault, they had to wait on the Officers of the Council and would they please remind them again by putting it in writing. Eventually you just give up and forget it.' he concluded. Meanwhile, back at St. Alban House, I would contend if the occupants were an immigrant family they would simply make contact with one of the many pro-immigrant litigation action groups of their respective nationality, not their local Councillors. This would result immediately in contractors acting on instructions from the landlord, arriving on the doorstep of the family, similar to the landing of an expeditionary task force with a mission possible, armed with digital hygrometers to measure the volume of humidity to determine if the content is in excess of the recommended maximum relative humidity (RH) of 65% degrees within the dwelling; the use of infra-red thermometers to identify cold bridge factors within the structure; moister content meters to measure the plaster work penetration by the condensation; workers to remove black mould from the interior with specified cleaning agents and who would also apply salt neutraliser prior to redecoration and supply without charge a dehumidifier to extract excess moisture. The leaking roof would be repaired and finally with mission accomplished a qualified Surveyor or a Chartered Builder would conduct a 'condition survey' to determine if the family required to be relocated in the event the dwelling was still deemed sub-standard accommodation and unfit for habitation in compliance with the caveats of the Housing and Environmental Heath Acts? The alternative would be the threat of legal enforcement using the appropriate legislation by Hertsmere Borough Council against the landlord--its as simple as that? Thanks to three hundred years of press freedom which the Conservatives, ,Labour and the Liberal Democrats now oppose and intend to curtail with legislation, the Boreham Wood Times was able to expose this social injustice for other indigenous member of the community to witness and draw their own conclusions? Frank Ward Chairman Hertsmere UKIP and also a Chartered Builder Frank Ward

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