Housing ‘nightmare’ of mum of disabled child living in flats hit by flooding

Housing ‘nightmare’ of mum of disabled child living in flats hit by flooding

The mother of a severely disabled child says she has faced a “nightmare” living in a block of flats hit by flooding, damp and heating failures.

Joanna Stewart, who lives in Daffodil Court, Granville Road, Childs Hill, says she is desperate to move out of the flat as it is not suitable for her daughter, who has a life-threatening illness.

But despite repeated complaints to housing association Notting Hill Genesis, she said little had been done to fix the ongoing problems affecting the block.

And although she has been in the highest-priority band on the housing waiting list for more than three years, the council’s housing arm, Barnet Homes, has not offered her an alternative home that is suitable for her family.

Ms Stewart said: “It has been a nightmare. I have a severely disabled four-year-old child who has a life-threating illness. There is mould and damp, and I have had no heating in my home for a year apart from oil-filled portable radiators I have bought myself.

“I have been on Barnet Homes’ band one for over three years and have not been offered a home. I need a four-bed property that can be adapted, but I have compromised and said I would take a three-bedroom home – but still no offer.”

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Ms Stewart lives in the property with her husband and two daughters. She said her son used to live with them but went to stay with a cousin due to the condition of his room.

One of her daughters, who will be five in January, suffers from brain damage and other serious disabilities and requires a specialist bed and hoist. She is treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital. Ms Stewart’s other daughter suffers from asthma.

As well as the damp problems and lack of heating, she said the flats had been hit by electrical faults, broken lifts and a rat infestation in the bin shed.

Daffodil Court has been affected by serious flooding, and Ms Stewart described some properties as inches deep in water that had damaged tenants’ floorboards. She added that water had been seeping through the walls in her flat.

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Ms Stewart also raised concerns over fire safety, claiming there was no fire escape, safety checks had not been carried out and water had been dripping down over exposed wires in electrical cupboards.

A Notting Hill Genesis spokesperson said: “There has been a serious flooding issue in the building that required some residents to be temporarily moved into alternative accommodation. Tenants of all flats apart from the one most seriously affected have since returned.

“We have reviewed the transfer banding of the resident in question and she is now in the top priority list, as we do recognise this property is not suitable for her family. Four-bedroom properties do not come up regularly, but we will continue to look for a suitable home in the areas she has requested.”

The housing association said it had “made attempts to repair the heat interface unit at the property but had been unable to gain access to the cupboard”. It was due to attend the property again over the Christmas period.

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A spokesperson for Barnet Homes said: “Ms Stewart is a tenant of Notting Hill Genesis, who are responsible for the repairs and condition of her property. She is in band one on the council’s Housing Allocation Scheme – our highest priority band. However, there are other applicants who were placed into band one before Ms Stewart, and as such have a higher priority.

“Availability of three or four-bed properties is extremely low – particularly those which are or can be adapted for wheelchair users. Unfortunately, we are unable to make any commitments about how soon Ms Stewart may be made an offer of social housing.

“We have encouraged Ms Stewart to look for a suitable property in the private rented sector and are able to help her through our landlord incentive scheme, subject to financial criteria being met.”

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