Leytonstone News

Leytonstone mother slams council after seven years of damp

Farzana Begum says Waltham Forest Council has failed to stop leaks despite repeated complaints reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Damp, mould and other substances in a hall way at Fred Wigg Tower, a council block in Leytonstone
Damp, mould and other substances are building up on Farzana Begum’s hallway wall – (Credit – LDRS)

A Leytonstone mother says she has been living in a damp-damaged council flat for seven years.

Farzana Begum, 29, has lived with a severely damp wall in the hallway of her flat in Fred Wigg Tower in Montague Road, Leytonstone since she moved in in 2016.

Safety concerns about electric shocks from wiring running in the water-damaged wall led to her hallway fire alarm and light switches being disconnected two years ago.

Farzana told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that her landlord, Waltham Forest Council, has not stopped the leaks, which appear to come from her neighbour’s bathroom, despite her repeated complaints over several years.

She said: “We wake up in the morning and have to walk straight past this.

“I don’t think anyone should be living like this – it’s not fair – they said they will do something and take pictures and then nothing happens.”

After the leak appeared to have stopped in 2018, the council’s repairs contractor Morgan Sindall re-plastered her wall, but the dampness soon returned causing peeling paint, mould and limescale to build up.

The damp has also damaged the frame around Farzana’s new fireproof front door to the extent that it must be held in place by masking tape.

The mother of two young children said she feels increasingly stressed as she suspects that the dampness affects her daughter’s breathing.


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She told the LDRS that she rarely invites friends over as the wall is so embarrassing and regularly “plays” on her mind.

She added: “I can’t have friends over – when I see my friends’ places they have perfect houses.

“I started thinking, are they picking on me? It plays in my head. Everyone else has nice doors.

“I just want the problems to be solved, if they want to pay for plastering that’s fine, I just want the leak to be solved.”

Another Fred Wigg tower resident Sonia McKenzie said: “It’s a simple situation that could have been dealt with years ago, it shouldn’t have taken this long.

“The question is, if nothing is being actually done, what are they getting paid for?

“To me, it’s a breach of the council’s tenancy contract because it’s poor service.”

The council recently set up a damp and mould “taskforce” in response to a coroner’s finding that Rochdale toddler Awaab Ishak died from a fatal respiratory condition linked to long-term mould.

Waltham Forest Council and its repairs contractor Morgan Sindall have been contacted for comment but have not responded at the time of publication

If you live in Waltham Forest, Redbridge or Havering and have a housing story to share, email: [email protected].

UPDATE:

Following the publication of this article, Ahsan Khan, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and regeneration apologised for delays in resolving issues with Farzana’s flat.

He added: “We have arranged for an urgent visit by a council officer to visit her home to assess the situation, and we will also be working with our contractors to find out why this issue was not fixed earlier.”


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