Family plagued by mould-infested 'slum' home with 'mice in kitchen and slugs in bath'

A family-of-five are living with mice in their kitchen and slugs in the bath on a mould-infested estate that residents have likened to a "slum".

The Ahmads are among tenants on the Eastfields Estate in Mitcham, south London plagued by appalling living conditions.

Problems include cockroaches, leaks, faulty lights and dark mould that grew so large it caused a mirror to smash into pieces, MyLondon reports.

And Clarion Housing Group, the landlords, have allegedly ignored residents' pleas for repair work over the years despite the host of issues.

On the day the Ahmads moved in, they were greeted by 10 mice and constantly have them darting around kitchen worktops.

Mice nests are so prevalent in flats on the south London development residents joke darkly the creatures “should be paying rent.”

Dark mould ripples through the walls of many buildings and the problem of water leaking into electric sockets, creating a potential death trap, is so common it’s almost unremarkable.

Filthy underwear could be seen lying in broken sections of the wall and the black mould stains on the outside of the building were so bad our photographer thought there had been a fire.

Residents told MyLondon they feel like they are living in “slums” that would “fail almost every health and safety standard".

Some have even been forced to take legal action to improve conditions including an ongoing case over Environmental Protection Act breaches due to go to court at the end of the month.

The scale of the disrepair has caught the attention of ITV News, and will now feature in a report due to broadcast on Wednesday night.

Responding to these allegations a Clarion Housing Group spokesperson apologised to residents “on its repairs performance".

They said: “There are some cases where we have fallen short of the standards they have a right to expect.

"Our immediate priority is to dedicate more staff to the estate, to increase the speed at which we complete both communal and individual repairs.”

But when one resident, 22-year-old Kwajo Tweneboa, made the effort to organise a meeting between residents and Clarion, they refused to attend.

Family plagued by mould-infested 'slum' home with 'mice in kitchen and slugs in bath'

A spokesperson for Clarion said that it took the decision not to attend the public meeting “because we learned that a TV film crew had been invited”.

They added: "ITV were not transparent about their intentions to film the meeting. We discovered they intended to film and contacted ITV to corroborate.

"At that point ITV admitted they were planning to film but said as it was a public meeting they didn’t think they needed to notify us in advance.

"As a consequence, Clarion made the decision to withdraw.

"We did not feel a public meeting, being filmed by the media, was an appropriate format to work with residents to resolve their individual concerns and resolve their issues. We are focusing instead on one to one conversations and home visits, together with increased resources on the Eastfields Estate which are operating from this week.

"We are meeting regularly with local political representatives. The immediate focus of our conversations over the last week has been the Eastfields estate but our regular conversations cover our estates in the wider local area too."

However, multiple sources have said that film crews had been willing to pull out should it jeopardise Kwajo’s meeting taking place.

Faced with a line of empty seats, residents were left voicing their frustration at local MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh and members of Merton council who attended.

McDonagh’s response was brutally honest; the problem of poor housing goes way beyond one estate.

“I am meeting with Clarion every single week to go through a list of repairs not just on Eastfields, but through our constituency,” she told residents.

“I don't know how they can go through this amount of bureaucracy because if there are 74 MPs in London, if they met 74 MPs every single week, they wouldn't be doing anything else at all.”

On the same day as the meeting, Clarion’s Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Reynolds, took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to everyone on the estate on the topic of repairs.

The housing association board member announced that an office would be set up on site for dealing with issues as well as a dedicated email address and phone number for reporting.

She also promised that Clarion would go door to door to hear people’s concerns.

Residents say this engagement is a remarkable turnaround from the attitudes previously encountered.

But Kwajo is shocked that it fell to him to push for change. “Why has it taken a 22 year old who works full time to cause this much fuss [by] going out door knocking?" he said.

“Why was it not done by the people who are paid to do it?”