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Ilford family of seven forced to live in ‘vermin infested’ flat

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2016

Mark Coleman and his family's one room flat on Balfour Road.

Mark Coleman and his family's one room flat on Balfour Road.

Niall Joyce

A family of seven are having to live in a one room flat which they claim is unsafe and infested with vermin.

A fire door with a gap the size of a two pence coin.A fire door with a gap the size of a two pence coin.

Mark Coleman, 47, and his family have been living at the property, in Balfour Road, Ilford, since April and are worried that the flat is posing a health and safety hazard.

“There is one table bed, a single bed, a broken futon and a camp bed for us all to sleep,” said Mark.

“The added problem is that the place is substandard. What I’m really scared of is dying in a fire because the fire door is not safe – none of the doors are fire proof but according to Redbridge it is up to standard.”

Since being placed in the flat, Mark, his partner Gillian Cooper and five children, say they have been faced with cockroaches, broken fire extinguishers, ceiling leaks and nails protruding from floor boards throughout their one room flat.

“The place is vermin infested,” said Mark. “There’s mice under the floorboards – they squeak and scratch away and it just grates on you.”

The council said it carried out a routine inspection of the premises on Friday as well as one in November, which it followed up in June, and found no problems which would pose an imminent risk to health and safety.

“The work had been carried out in line with the officers’ request back in June and there was no evidence of cockroaches or mice at the time of the inspection,” said a spokesman.

The council added that all gas, fire risk, pest control and fire test certificates were valid and in place.

However, The Recorder has seen evidence of cockroaches, fire doors with gaps and broken fire extinguishers – although the council admitted that these issues may arise between visits.

“We know that the condition of properties can deteriorate quickly, and sometimes problems which may not have been present during our inspections may occur afterwards,” said a council spokesman.

To make matters worse the family wouldn’t have to live in the property if they weren’t deemed intentionally homeless - an issue mark refutes heavily.

According to Mark the council used incorrect information when completing the families S202 form, which is used to assess individual cases.

“The only way to get out of limbo is if they correct the mistakes on the S202. If the S202 was done properly I would of accepted the findings,” said Mark.


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