Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Combination of mould and doorstep drug users leaves single mum fearing for safety

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter

A young child living in a mouldly west London flat coughed so much it caused him to vomit, his mother has said – while drug-taking on the doorstep has compounded the pressures she feels in her council home.

Shaniece Nugent, 26, of the White City Estate in Shepherd’s Bush, said she fears for her and her son’s safety due to suspected drug users regularly knocking on her door with cash in their hands.

She is in temporary accommodation while repairs to leaks are taking place.

Ms Nugent was recently offered £475 in compensation by her landlord, Hammersmith and Fulham council, after acknowledging the impact of the leaks and a lack of communication.

She said she has refused the money, describing it as ‘insulting’, and has since escalated her complaint.

A Hammersmith and Fulham council spokesman said they have been unable to begin repair works until the leak, in a leasehold property above Ms Nugent’s, is resolved by the managing agent, Dexters.

The council added it has apologised to Ms Nugent and “continues to work closely with her”. Dexters has been contacted for comment.

She moved on to the White City estate in May last year, following the birth of her son.

Based on the ground floor, Ms Nugent said it was not long before she began receiving knocks from suspected drug addicts, who would turn up waving money in their hands. This came to a head in August, when Ms Nugent filed a report with the police.

A spokesman for the council said following the ASB issue being raised, housing officers offered support, and Local Enforcement Team (LET) patrols have been made alongside daily visits to the estate.

Ms Nugent, however, said she remained concerned, due to behaviour such as cannabis being openly smoked as well as the visitors to her front door. She said: “It got to the point where it’s happened so many times, and in my house it’s me and my son, and I don’t want to open the door.”

Problems first arose when a leak from a leasehold flat several floors above broke out in January this year. Water flooded down into Ms Nugent’s home, affecting rooms including her bathroom and kitchen, and causing mould and damp to spread across several walls.

Ms Nugent said she was told the leak had been resolved the following month, but the issue persisted on and off, with further damage caused to her flat. This included a period of several weeks in February when her shower did not work due to the electrics tripping.

An example of some of the damp and mould damage in Shaniece Nugent’s flat (left) and Shaniece in her temporary home waiting for her issues to be resolved (Pictures: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

The concerns around damp and mould were particularly pertinent due to the history of lung issues in Ms Nugent’s family. She said her mother had asthma and her dad chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and that she and her brother also have asthma. She added she is in the process of getting her son tested.

In one particularly graphic incident, she said he coughed so much while in their White City flat that he vomited. Since moving out, however, she said he has had no such issues. “He hasn’t actually had any coughing episodes here,” she said. “He’s not been sick, he’s not had a cold, he’s not had a cough, he’s not had nothing.”

In refusing the compensation offered after a complaint she made to the council in March, Ms Nugent said: “For me, you can’t put a price on the fact that my son has been ill, the fact I can’t sleep at night and this whole situation has worried me and I now check if he’s breathing. I don’t even understand what the £475 is for.

“I was quite shocked when they offered me compensation, because that was never my intention. My intention is to live somewhere where I won’t be pestered by drug users, where I can open my windows and my house doesn’t smell like weed. Where my son and I can be safe.”

Ms Nugent’s GP issued a letter to the housing department backing her request to be re-housed, saying the issues had: “massively affected her mental health.”

A spokesman for Hammersmith and Fulham council said: “Due to an ongoing leak from a leaseholder property into the flat and the extensive damage being caused we have provided Ms Nugent with temporary accommodation. We are unable to start repair works on the property until the leak is dealt with by the managing agent of the neighbouring property.

“We have apologised to Ms Nugent for the time taken to respond to her repair request and we continue to work closely with her to ensure she has all the support she needs.”

Pictured top: Shaniece Nugent said the issues experienced at her White City home have left her concerned for her and her son’s safety (Picture: Facundo Arrizabalaga)

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