Shocking images show vulnerable Hackney tenant's 'uninhabitable' home
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
A vulnerable 55-year-old tenant's council home has been declared a risk to his life and health after being surveyed by experts.
Shocking images show a home with three inches of dirty water on the kitchen floor caused by a leak from a sink coming away from the wall.
The tenant, who was not named, suffers from mental health issues.
He and his carer sought legal advice from Liverpool-based High Street Solicitors after reportedly complaining to the council for two years.
The tenant said: “I’m at my wits end and I have had enough. Something needs to be done."
The tenant has lived in the property since May 2008 but started complaining to Hackney Council in 2019 with the help of his carer, both in person and on the telephone.
He reported having no heating or hot water and the leak in his kitchen.
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The tenant's sink is also blocked and there is a pipe leaking on the floor.
After allegedly receiving no response from Hackney Council, High Street Solicitors organised for a surveyor to visit the property.
The hired expert said: “It’s difficult to tell how far the damp and water has spread but all floors are saturated, the electrics remain in use. They need to be turned off and condemned due to potential risk of electrocution.”
The result of the damp has led to mould throughout the property including on the furniture and walls. The tenant's cupboards have rotted and the extractor fan in his kitchen is broken.
In addition to the leak, the tenant's bathroom has no working light, the sink is blocked and his toilet covered in mould.
Cracks in the tiles are also noticeable due to the bathroom floor being unlevelled and, in his hallway, his door does not lock and has no handle.
Larissa Ellis, head of housing at High Street Solicitors, said: “It is hard to imagine how it must feel to have to live in the conditions shown in the images.
"It is a completely uninhabitable environment and is most definitely a health and safety risk.
"It saddens me that the tenant is vulnerable, and the council have done nothing to rectify this situation. We are treating the matter with urgency and hope to get the tenant out of the property either temporarily whilst repairs are done, or permanently to a new home.”
Hackney Council says the property is managed by Wenlock Barn Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), "which is responsible for repairs inside the property".
A spokesperson from the council said: "According to [Wenlock Barn's] records, the last reported repair was on January 23 in 2020 - a repair to a hand wash basin that was completed.
“We are very sorry that this resident has been living in conditions like these. We have supported him to move into temporary accommodation, and are working with him and his carer to assess whether he needs more support."
The council says it has carried out an initial inspection of the property to asses what further work is needed.
Its spokesperson added: “We are also investigating how this property came into such disrepair, and will be working with the TMO to support them to take appropriate action to resolve these issues.”
The council also revealed that during Covid lockdowns both it and the TMO only undertook repairs where there was a risk to residents or possibility of serious damage to their property.
It says the result of this has been a backlog of other repairs now being worked through.
The cyber attack was also mentioned as a reason why there have been delays in carrying out "non-urgent" and follow-up repairs, as well as its ability to keep residents up-to-date with the status of repairs.
However, the council adds that the cyber attack did not impact this tenant's case.
It says it is working hard to improve Hackney's repair service systems and has apologised for inconvenience caused to residents.
Meanwhile the 55-year-old tenant thanked High Street Solicitors for its "hard work", adding: "I look forward to having this rectified and moving on from this nightmare which has been ongoing for two years.”
Wenlock Barn Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) has been contacted for comment.