We’re being kicked out of our flat because we refuse to pay £4k rent – we won’t give in until our demands are met
A FAMILY whose temporary accommodation is plagued with mould, flooding and cracked walls has refused to pay over £4k in overdue rent.
Marie McManus, 38, lives in the decaying temporary accommodation in Brixton, London, while their home on Coldharbour Lane is being fixed.
There, she looks after her stroke survivor mum Agnes, 67, and her two brothers.
But the family found themselves moving from one broken property into another – with widespread mould and flooding making the home unliveable, MyLondon reported.
Lambeth Council failed to act on promises to come and solve the numerous issues reported by Marie – even after an independent surveyor concluded the council were “in breach of their duty” by not acting on complaints.
The family even appeared on an episode of BBC’s ‘Rip Off Britain’ – with the Beeb commissioning another surveyor to inspect the house.
The inhabitable state of the provisional home – complete with cracked ceilings, a broken door and an unkempt garden – has resulted in Marie refusing to pay rent amounting to over £4k.
Marie told MyLondon: “It’s just a complete damn joke. They signed off the house as being habitable when it is not.
“Let’s take it to a judge and see what Your Honour has to say about the whole damn situation.
“In my opinion this whole situation is Lambeth’s fault.
“If it was not in disrepair in the first place we would not be fighting them.
“And then the insult to put us in another property in disrepair for another five years.”
In response to Marie’s concerns, a Lambeth Council spokesperson told MyLondon: “We have worked to resolve a number of problems identified at both of these homes for several months, and to ensure that the issues reported to us are attended to.
“We have now carried out a comprehensive programme of repairs to the family’s original home, and to the temporary accommodation we provided for them at Saxby Road.
“We have apologised for any distress Mrs McManus and her family have experienced in the meantime.
“However, the required repairs to the family’s permanent home have been completed, and it has been ready and waiting for them to move back into for some time.
“The family have declined to return to their original home, and they have been given the highest priority to bid for another council property.”
What to do if you’re behind on rent
Speak to your landlord
Talk to your landlord as soon as possible about the issues you’re having meeting your payments.
It could be that they agree to lower your rent, set up an affordable repayment plan or give you more time to pay up – though landlords are not compelled to do this.
Reduce your council tax bill
You can apply for a discount to lower your council tax bill, which could help free up money to pay off your rent arrears.
You can check out Citizens Advice for a full list to check if you’re eligible.
Apply for benefits
You might be able to get more help from the government to help pay your rent if you’re struggling.
Universal Credit claimants could also get Housing Benefit if they are on a low income with savings below £16,000, are unemployed, or are on benefits.
If you’re still finding paying your way difficult, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
You’ll have to apply for this through your local council, which you can find here.
Get a grant
Some charities may give grants to help with covering housing costs.
Most grants do not have to be paid back.