A Rainham lady has hit out at the council for allowing her and her mother to live in appalling conditions, despite repeatedly asking for help and even taking her complaints to the ombudsman.
Shannon feels completely let down and angry by the way her case has been dealt with by officers and also by the many issues she has at her property including the endless anti social behaviour issues.
She told the Havering Daily: “I had to return home in 2016 due to problems with the lady upstairs and as my mother was not in the best of health, so I returned home for my mother’s safety.
“Police have been called numerous times over the years, but it’s a vicious circle as the Council say to call the police and the police say they are unable to do anything as it is a Council issue. I was told I would be added to the tenancy because of the circumstances I wouldn’t have to wait one year, I could be added immediately upon my return due to the conclusion that if something happened to my mother I would not be homeless.
“With all due respect, all they wanted to know was my wages and how much to charge myself and now never added me to the tenancy and for the past 5 years almost, I have in essence had no address history. Even when I sent all correspondence, which in black and white says ‘which name did I want to be added to the tenancy’.
“I was given a pathetic excuse of this is not what she meant to say…What she said and meant to say is not down to myself to read between the lines, and to falsify what is clearly in front of their eyes just baffles me once again. The fact that I have paid over £26,000 since my return and to have no security.
“I was added as an occupant in November 2020 (not from 2016 of my return) but this still does not give me the security of the home if anything happened to my mother, and each time they deny my mother’s request to have me added as they say I have not lived there long enough?!
“The tenancy officers I have dealt with over the years have been abysmal and didn’t want to do anything or any involvement with the tenant upstairs. We did all the logs, recordings and had equipment fitted and they said it was general noises and was most rude to my mother and was hounding myself whilst abroad for my wage details, etc….and here we are five years later and they still stick to this (I do not see how slamming doors and stamping up the stairs in the late evening/early hours of the morning is general noise). Even when the tenant’s daughter tried to jump out of the window back in October 2020 and the police were called, still nothing seemed to flag alarm bells.”
Shannon’s mental health has since started to suffer. She continued:
“I have also experienced my mental health being mocked and laughed at from the recent TO assigned. I have since been without a TO since 16th November 2020 as they will not reassign me another officer (they don’t feel that the mocking of myself or being verbally shouted at down the phone by herself is reason to assign a new TO), but to be perfectly honest the manager and Head of Department, have been ignoring myself since February. All my emails have been ignored and no response at all. It seems that no one wants to deal with the incompetence of the staff, but I am very quick to receive a response when I mention the possibility of withholding the rent.
“We have had ongoing problems since the tenant upstairs arrived in 2016. She and her family tried to intimidate my mother on her doorstep when they first arrived. Within a few months the police had been called and even after the tenant threatening to kill myself and my mother, the police still refused to do anything and was advised to speak to the council. Each time they have come out, it seems they have no interest in talking to the tenant and just say to continue recording and speak to the council but how much longer can this carry on as has been ongoing since October 2020 from the most recent outburst. I was advised by A PCSO in South Hornchurch, that they have left several cards at the address for her to return contact but she never has done. We have done all the steps several times over and over, and all the tenant has had in these five years was one warning, and the rest they deemed as normal noises but have been very vocal to myself that I cannot play loud music, I cannot bang up in retaliation, I just have to allow her to do as she pleases.”
“Since my return my mother has been contacting the Council over the years regarding mould and damp in the property. A staff member from the maintenance department advised my mother that they don’t log calls and not one single visit was recorded on our file for the damp and mould over the years! They have since rectified my mother’s room but wouldn’t do my room as I asked if my wardrobe could be painted/sealed and the wall would have to be looked into once I leave the property. We have been told ridiculous excuses as such that you can’t put wallpaper on a front wall….Ignoring the fact that the mould started when we had works on the porch that were never completed fully and this is where I believe that the problems stem from with it not being fully insulated and sealed. I have asked several times for details of a claims department as I have lost hundreds and hundreds of pounds worth of clothing and accessories, and let alone with decoration damage it has done. I’ve lost the end use of my wardrobe (approx £200 worth of furniture unable to use, alongside many other items). We have our main electric box that in essence has been condemned on 29th January 2021 due to its age and has been stickered to change asap but since this date, my mother has been in regular contact with the contractor and they are still awaiting Havering Council to confirm the works to go ahead. Heaven forbid a fuse or anything trips, we are not able to touch it due to the age and possible problems with this.”
“We had a surveyor come to our home (we had problems with the first one as they said one thing and then when I chased this, once again they said and tried to make it seem my mother was lying, so there was a second whom came to the home to assess everything including the noise from upstairs. I asked if insulation could be put in as we have 6″-8″gap between her floorboards and my ceiling, so on top of heavy banging and jumping, this denseness only amplifies it even more. I was told this isn’t within their budget and yet I have been advised by a third party that an insulation could be pumped between the area, but of course this is not something the Council will want to pay for. Considering I pay full rent and council tax for this property, the service and maintenance from themselves is shocking. I never had any problems like this when I was in private accommodation of which I had to leave to return home for my mother.”
A spokesperson for Havering Council told the Havering Daily:
“The Council is aware of these complaints. Three outstanding complaints are currently going through the Council’s complaints process. This is being dealt with as a priority and we aim to respond within the timeframe since given by the Housing Ombudsman.
“The tenancy complaint has been through the Council’s complaints process – and the outcome has been sent to the resident. If the resident wishes to peruse this complaint further – she has been advised that she can take this to the Ombudsman.
“The Council acknowledges that on this occasion the responses to these complaints are overdue and we apologise for any inconvenience or distress caused to the resident.”
Shannon finished: “I’m baffled at their apology as this has taken them nine months to deal with and I have still not received any communication from them. We are living in appalling conditions.”