By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter
A mother and daughter have been living in a Croydon flat so damp they can’t even cook without paint and plaster falling into their food.
Hawanatu Turay, 33, has lived in Mayday Road since 2008, but says conditions have become worse in the past few years.
She said: “I clean it but it just comes back. Sometimes it comes back as mushrooms. It is not healthy living here.
“When I am cooking in the kitchen, the paint will just fall into the food, it is so bad. They are ignoring us.
“I get colds a lot and my cough is really bad in the winter.”
The 33-year-old said she has sent several emails to Croydon Council, her landlord, and most recently emailed Croydon North MP Steve Reed asking for help.
Hawantu works at a Pret coffee shop, and when she was let go during the pandemic she did bank shifts as a nursing assistant at a hospital in East London.
Her daughter came to live with her from Sierra Leone in 2018 and since then she has been trying to move to a bigger place.
At the moment, there is just one main room in the flat where the pair sleep, eat and where 19-year-old Saffinatu studies.
The health and social care student said: “It has always been bad and it is getting worse everyday.
“Normally we like to cook but now we can’t use the hob because paint will fall in the food. We just put something in the oven now.
“I feel sad about it, my mum is always on the phone to the council, they are heartless people, they always come here and take pictures but they never do anything about it.
“I would like a nice place to live with my own room at least. When I came to this country I didn’t expect to be living in this kind of place.”
Last week, the Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to the mother and daughter’s next door neighbours who were facing similar issues in the flat they had been placed in by Lambeth Council.
Croydon Council said that flat was privately owned and it was not aware of the conditions – which saw mushrooms growing from the floor and walls.
In the same three-storey block of flats, 48-82 Mayday Road, another man in his sixties was facing similar issues with damp on the walls of his property,
Sufian Miah has lived in the flat for five years and says he is also a Croydon Council tenant.
A front window of his flat is boarded up with wood, it has been this way for the full five years he has lived there.
The pensioner said: “I am suffering. It is affecting my health, it makes my asthma worse.
“I can’t do anything about [the walls] I have tried cleaning it and painting it bit it doesn’t work.
“When I moved in the window was broken, they (the council) haven’t done anything.”
A Croydon Council spokesperson said: “We have classed this family as a priority due to overcrowding, and although two-beds are in limited supply we hope they will be successful soon in getting one as they continue to bid on our online lettings system.
“All outstanding repairs at this property have been carried out, and if there are further issues then we urge them to get in touch via My Account so we can resolve these as soon as we can.”
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