31-year-old Jermel Taylor-Crawford was forced to live in horrible conditions for years by Greenwich Borough Council when his requests for assistance were routinely ignored.
The flat had mould spreading across its walls, and in his bedroom water dripped from his ceiling onto his bed.
Jermel said: “The damp began to be a problem around six months after I first moved into the flat seven years ago.
“I’ve had mould on the walls and drips of water coming from the ceiling. I even had to buy a new bed and furniture because the old ones got ruined.
“I kept asking the council to have it repaired and they just didn’t seem to care. They tried to blame me for everything and even said that my dog was part of the problem causing condensation.
“It has caused me a lot of stress and it has affected my asthma too, but the council don’t seem to be in a hurry to fix anything.
“All I want is for the repairs to be made so I can live in a normal home, but I keep getting fobbed off.”
The cost of living with disrepair
Jermel, who lives in a studio apartment in Eltham, South London with his German Shepherd, Lily, spent more than £1,000 replacing items and furniture damaged by mould, dampness and water.
After reaching his breaking point, he enlisted the help of CEL Solicitors’ dedicated housing disrepair department who were able to force Greenwich London Borough Council to act.
Jermel: “The problem has been going on too long and I just want it sorted.
“The council told me they will come out again later this month to carry out the remaining repairs, but I don’t believe them, I have heard it all before.
“I have learning difficulties and I think the council has taken advantage of this because they think it makes it easier to fob me off.
“CEL Solicitors has been brilliant with helping me and it’s good to have them on my side so the council can’t keep ignoring me.
“I just want to live in a normal home without these problems with damp and mould.”
Despite coming to an initial agreement on the repairs with a deadline for completion, Greenwich Borough Council failed in their commitment on two separate occasions. While each breach of their agreement means additional compensation, Jermel simply wants to live in a safe and clean home.
At CEL, once repairs have been agreed upon between the clients and their landlord the case is handed to our dedicated repairs team to ensure the promises are kept and the repairs made promptly.
In October of 2022 – after 6 years of asking for repairs – Jermel’s case was successful during a hearing against his landlord, and the repairs were completed within the month.
CEL Solicitors’ Repairs Team
Speaking on the issue, Deepa Chand, a Trainee Solicitor with CEL said that councils and housing associations across the country need to step up and take their responsibilities seriously.
“Problems with damp, mould and general disrepair can have a major impact on families’ everyday lives and we have seen many cases where landlords unfairly blame tenants’ lifestyles or simply ignore their complaints.
“Nobody should have to live in these conditions and, too often, tenants’ voices go unheard.
“It is completely unacceptable that landlords still fail to take responsibility and comply with their obligations. We have seen landlords breach settlement agreements, and even court orders, by failing to complete repairs they have agreed to carry out.
“We are proud to work with tenants such as Jermel to take up the cause on their behalf and fight for what’s fair – their right to live in a safe and comfortable home.”