December 7 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Thursday, September 26, 2013
A family with a disabled child have been kept in a rat-infested B&B by Redbridge Council for five months – more than three times the legal limit.
Interpreter Mohamed Djitli said one tenant at Imperial Guest House, in Grove Road, woke up with a rat on her face and the rodents and their droppings are only one of their problems.
He was moved into the temporary accommodation with his wife and two children in April when their previous landlord stopped renting his flat to the council.
They have two rooms out of seven in the house, where toilets and a kitchen are shared between several other families.
Son Amine, who is only 20 months old, suffers from Angelman Syndrome which causes development, speech, balance and behavioural problems.
He needs frequent visits from doctors and older sister Nour is just three and about to start nursery.
Mr Djitli said: “We were only meant to be here for six weeks but we haven’t been told anything about a house.
“My wife has seen rats on two occasions and there were big piles of droppings.
“We were wondering where the smell was coming from in the kitchen and there was a big hole behind the units.
“One girl here woke up last month with a rat on her face and she came running downstairs to me screaming.
“There were droppings in her hand too.”
Pest control officers have now visited the guest house but Mr Djitli said he and other residents had complained for months.
He said there has also been a water leak and problems with electrics at the guest house.
The father-of-two added: “It’s difficult enough to have a child with special needs but it’s even more traumatic living in these conditions.”
The family are not even sure they will get a three-bedroom house as new “bedroom tax” could mean the children have to share a room unless the council allocates discretionary funding.
Temporary accommodation, including B&Bs, hostels and flats, cost the council a staggering £26million last year.
It is used in emergencies when people are deemed homeless but with 13,729 households on the waiting list for homes, many overstay the statutory limit of six weeks when there is nowhere for them to be moved into.
A council spokesman said accomodation is inspected for hazards and vermin and problems are resolved if found.
She added: “The complainant has confirmed that all issues raised have been resolved.
“A further inspection was undertaken on Monday and the bathroom leak has been repaired and a pest control contractor carried out treatment. A new manhole cover has also been fitted in the back garden.”