St Albans mum forced to live in flat with collapsing ceiling
- Credit: Archant
A father and child with life-limiting breathing conditions are being forced to live beneath a collapsed ceiling with water constantly pouring from the roof of their St Albans flat.
Amina Khan has lived at Ellis House on Charrington Place since it was new 10 years ago, with Hightown Housing Association acting as landlord throughout this period.
On September 30 the mum-of-two heard a huge thud before the ceiling fell into her open-plan lounge and kitchen.
She immediately reported the incident to Hightown Housing Association, but despite several calls, emails and a GP's letter of advice to the landlord, the problem has still not been fixed.
The management company First Port and the housing association remain at loggerheads over who has the responsibility to provide alternative accommodation in the interim.
Amina said: "I am absolutely frustrated and outraged that this matter has been passed back and forth from Hightown to First Port.
"I have been emptying bowls of water for weeks now. My main concern is the priority of my husband's and my children's health.
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"There is mould so bad that my GP has written to the housing association to tell them the property condition is 'likely to result in increased frequency of exacerbations and possible hospital admission'."
She added: "How could I afford to go to a hotel? How would I feed my family? My husband's insulin needs to stay in a fridge."
Amina's husband, Faisul, has COPD and other serious conditions and their daughter, Amelia, has chronic asthma.
A spokesperson for Hightown Housing Association said: "The managing agent is responsible for repairs to the building and we have been regularly contacting them for updates on when they will repair the leak in the roof which would then allow the insurance company to arrange for the ceiling to be fixed.
"We are told that the delay has been due to the managing agent's contractor waiting for parts to arrive but that repairs should start this week.
"We understand how frustrating this has been and our estates inspector has been visiting regularly to check that the property is safe.
"We explained to the resident that she can ask the insurance company for alternative accommodation in a hotel if they wish to move out until the repairs are completed, but this option has not been taken up.
However, a spokesperson for managing association First Port said:
"We are sorry about the delay in being able to fix the leak at Ms Khan's property. We appointed a specialist contractor as soon as we were made aware of the leak and they immediately put in place a temporary repair, which may have been impacted by the recent heavy rainfall.
"The longer-term solution does require a specialist part, which has caused the delay. We are now working with the contractor to make sure that the leak is fixed as soon as possible.
"This is an absolute priority, but the contractor has flagged that their ability to complete the fix is weather dependent."