Newlon’s mice-infested Hackney flat caused “unquestionable distress”, rules judge

Cliff Henry stands outside his former home at 62a Median Road, Lower Clapton.

Cliff Henry stands outside his former home at 62a Median Road, Lower Clapton. - Credit: Archant

Newlon Housing Association - which made a £6.4m surplus profit last year - has still not re-housed an epileptic man, two months after a judge ruled his mice-infested flat had caused him “unquestionable distress.”

Newlon Housing Association agreed an out of court settlement with Cliff Henry in February, after a decade long fight over disrepair in his home in Median Road, Lower Clapton.

During that time Mr Henry had to put up with a mice infestation, a leaking kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, faulty air vents and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Newlon agreed to re-house Mr Henry and pay him an undisclosed financial sum after he took legal action against them for the second time in 10 years, with the help of the campaign group, London Coalition Against Poverty.

Summing up the case after the settlement had been agreed, Judge Lochrane at the Central London County Court said the accommodation had been “substandard” and that Mr Henry had suffered “unquestionable distress” as a result of Newlon’s actions.

Mr Henry, who is diabetic and has mobility problems, said: “Newlon has continually breached the Housing Act and its own decant, repair and disability policies - I find this very difficult to understand given that Newlon claims to be a social landlord, who won the Gold Award for Housing Excellence.

“It was very difficult living there, in fact it nearly killed me because of the stress related illnesses, it was constantly leaking, constantly smelling of mice infestation and time and time again Newlon was sending in contractors who claimed they did the work but it was constantly recurring.

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The smell of the mice was horrific, at night you would hear them running about, often they would go to poo, it used to hurt me a lot.

Newlon claims now they afford to carry out the necessary repairs at Mr Henry’s flat, despite a £64m turnover and made a surplus of £6.4m in the last financial year.

Mr Henry has been unable to live in his home for 14 months, since Newlon decanted him due to the disrepair, yet throughout this time Newlon has continued to receive rent and extra payments from Mr Henry because of the bedroom tax.

Two months after the settlement, Mr Henry is still waiting to be rehoused by Newlon, which says his demand to be rehoused in Islington is holding up the process.

A spokesman said they have less properties there than in Hackney.

“We offered to provide him with temporary accommodation before the court proceedings and we have also offered him alternative permanent accommodation which he declined,” he said.

“As soon as a suitable home is available in Islington we will offer it to him, but for this to happen we have to wait for someone else to move out for somewhere to become available.”