Houses are so bad on a South London estate that a council has paid residents almost £1 million in compensation.
Lambeth Council has dished out the cash to people living on the Leigham Court Road Estate in Streatham to reimburse them for damage caused by problems like damp and mould.
It paid residents £980,000 over four years between January 2017 and December 2021.
Tenants of the estate have been plagued with leaks, rotting window frames and damp problems for years.
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Despite repeated pleas to Lambeth Council to fix the issues, they say few repairs have been completed.
Cissy, a mother of two, says her young daughter almost got electrocuted after water gushed through a light socket above her bed.
The 39-year-old has been sleeping in the living room of the house with her daughter ever since.
She can’t turn the lights on in most of the property because it’s too dangerous and is forced to rely on plug-in lamps.
Cissy has to line the house’s beds with dustbin liners to stop water from ceiling leaks ruining the duvets.
Damage caused by damp to her ceilings is so bad that her house is now surrounded by scaffolding.
(Image: Robert Firth)
She said: “I put my little one to bed and she started screaming because water had started shooting out of the light socket above her bed.
“They turned off the electricity because the water travelled through the electricity. This was the end of July.
“We had no electricity through the summer and I sent my daughter and son to live with their nan in Waterloo for bit.
“What has to happen for them to take us seriously? My daughter almost got electrocuted.”
Nurses have warned Cissy that the damp in the house could be aggravating her daughter’s asthma.
An oak kitchen floor Cissy saved up to buy for months and purchased in instalments has been ruined by the leaking ceiling.
Lambeth Council finally offered to complete extensive maintenance on the flat last year.
But it means the family will have to move out of the property and into a pokey flat in Clapham for months while the work is completed.
(Image: Robert Firth)
(Image: Robert Firth)
Cissy, who runs a local cleaning company, said: “I’m worried I’ll lose customers when I move because lots of people prefer their cleaner to live nearby for emergencies.
“My little girl has asthma but she didn’t have it before moving in here.”
Other residents on the estate have been waiting for the council to repair their homes for decades.
Olive Hewitt, 77, said she has been waiting for her rotting window frames to be fixed since she moved into the house in 1976.
Her neighbour, mum-of-two Joanne Hopwood, has needed £600 worth of plumbing issues to be fixed for years.
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The 51-year-old said: “The plumbing and window frames are the only repairs I’ve needed in 12 years.
“If I can fix it myself I will but if it costs hundreds of pounds, I shouldn’t have to.”
Lambeth Council said: “Lambeth has suffered over a decade of funding cuts through austerity measures and reductions in its income brought about by central government policies.
“Funds the Council would have otherwise invested on repairs and maintenance to improve estates across the borough.
“Despite this, Lambeth has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in improving its council homes and estates in recent years, and homes on the Leigham Court Estate have benefitted from improvements including new bathrooms and kitchens under the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS).
“The council is now pushing ahead with a rolling programme of improvement works, including windows, for properties on the Leigham Court Estate. This will include work to 60 homes in this financial year and more in 2022/23, simultaneously the council are undertaking external repairs, decorations and other works to 41 homes on the estate.”