Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

Grieving family forced to live in cockroach and mould-ridden council house- ‘Unlivable!’

Mitcham: Council house tenant documents living conditions

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Kwajo Tweneboa, 22, has resorted to posting on social media to plead with the council to sort out the “asbestos-filled” home he shares with his two sisters, aged 23 and 20. Mr Tweneboa said that his siblings and their father lived there for three years but their dad sadly died from cancer last year.

Mr Tweneboa said: “I have had to put it online and embarrass myself. It just shows how much of the last resort it is when you have to drag your property, which you are ashamed of, on social media because no-one is listening.”

Clarion Housing, the UK’s largest housing association, tore down an “asbestos-filled ceiling”, leaving dust in the living room and a hole in the roof.

The family were then left without a ceiling throughout the winter, with no provision for additional heating.

Mr Tweneboa, who works in marketing and pays £600 a month in rent, said that his belongings are destroyed, as are those that belonged to his dad.

He is forced to shower at the gym because the light in the bathroom is filled with rainwater, the room has no window, the taps on the shower are rusted, and tiles are falling off the wall.

In the kitchen, the cabinets are waterlogged, rotten, and infested with woodlice.

Doors on the property do not latch properly and the garden fence is rotten, which has resulted in the premises being broken into.

He said that Clarion served him and his sisters a 30-day eviction notice after their father died at the beginning of 2020.

Mr Tweneboa added: “We were fighting to keep the house because there was a clause in the contract that said a spouse could have the house, but the children could not.

“They knew what they were doing was wrong but they wanted their rent money to keep coming. So the easiest option for them, I believe, was to give us a contract.

“I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety shortly after [my dad] passed away, and I was given antidepressants because at that time I was very suicidal.

“I’m not asking to live in a mansion. I am asking for our basic needs, and what we pay rent for. They have a duty of care and they have violated their tenancy agreement.”

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A Clarion spokesman said: “We would like to provide absolute reassurance that the safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority. We are committed to resolving all of the outstanding repairs at Mr Tweneboa’s home.

“We have undertaken a significant amount of work already and are currently working with Mr Tweneboa’s solicitors to agree a schedule for the remainder.

“We acknowledge the inconvenience the repairs issues at this property have caused and apologise if Mr Tweneboa feels we haven’t provided the service expected from us.

“We were very sorry to hear of the passing of Mr Tweneboa’s father. A Notice to Quit was served as part of the end of tenancy process and a new tenancy for the property was then granted to Mr Tweneboa following this.”

Merton Council’s member for housing, Martin Whelton, said: “I am very concerned to hear about the condition of the property in Mitcham and we have raised these issues as a matter of urgency with Clarion, who own the property and are responsible for the maintenance of the property.”

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