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HomeNewsHousing association apologises to Edgware family after months in temporary accommodation

Housing association apologises to Edgware family after months in temporary accommodation

A housing association has apologised to an Edgware family who have spent nearly five months and counting in temporary accommodation due to unfinished repair works.

The mother and her disabled daughter are stuck living at a hotel in Cricklewood while landlord Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) tackles issues including damp and leaks at their flat.

Government guidance states that families with children shouldn’t be housed in emergency hotel accommodation for longer than six weeks.

Sarah* was moved with her daughter into the Edgware flat in June last year after becoming a victim of stalking and quickly noticed “signs of disrepair” but was told if she didn’t accept the property she would be made homeless.

As well as the maintenance issues, Sarah said that due to her daughter’s disabilities the second floor flat with no lift wasn’t “suitable” for them. However, because of a lack of other options, she decided to accept.

In September, following heavy rain, Sarah said she began to notice the damp patch in her daughter’s room, above electrical wiring, “getting larger”. Water began to run down cabling, from the ceiling, and into plug sockets near the floor.

An electrician came out and determined the roof was the issue and advised Sarah not to use any of the electrics in her daughter’s room.

In December there was a power cut, which shut off the heating, gas and electricity to the flat. Sarah said her energy company told her it was a “major fault” and electric cabling from the ground floor leading into the second would need to be “fully replaced” and that it wouldn’t be a quick job.

NHG then placed Sarah and her daughter at a hotel in Brent Cross, where she said she experienced “security issues and anti-social behaviour”.

Sarah then had an issue with her Universal Credit which, in response to her now living in a hotel, had halted her rent payments. Sarah said NHG began to write to her saying she owed “two months” in rent equating to thousands of pounds which she said was “extremely stressful”.

Universal Credit have since reinstated Sarah’s rent payments and acknowledged the mistake. A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We are reviewing her case.”

In February, Sarah was moved to Travelodge Cricklewood but approached NHG to request alternative temporary accommodation, which was was rejected.

She then approached Barnet Council, declaring herself homeless, but said she was told she “wasn’t a priority” and the local authority couldn’t offer her accommodation since she was with NHG.

Sarah said repair work on her flat finally began in mid-March 2024 but claimed the roof had yet to be addressed.

Further complications arose as Sarah was told the roof of the building was owned by the council.

In response, a NHG spokesperson said they had apologised for the “distress” caused by the “length of time” Sarah had spent living in hotels. They said the need to move was unavoidable due to the extent of the work and repairs required, describing them as “substantial” and taking a “long time” but added they wanted to ensure “all issues” were resolved before she moved back in.

They added: “The availability of empty and suitable housing is so low that it is difficult to find more stable and suitable temporary accommodation. We offered [Sarah] a transfer but unfortunately she felt it did not meet her needs.”

In response to enquiries, a spokesperson for Barnet Homes, the council’s housing arm,  apologised for the distress caused and asserted they were working with NHG to ensure repairs within the property were carried out so Sarah could return home “as soon as possible”.

They clarified they were the freeholder of the block, and said they’d scheduled works to repair the roof beginning on 22nd April.

The spokesperson added: “We are also carrying out works to the electrical supply to the property which are scheduled to begin shortly. We will keep [Sarah] and her landlord informed throughout the process.

“Our housing options team is currently assessing [Sarah’s] homelessness application, and a decision will be made shortly. We are keeping [Sarah] informed during this process.”

*Anonymity requested, Sarah is not her real name

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