Mum-of-five recovering from cancer left without efficient heating for five years

A mother-of-five said she was left in a flat with “unsuitable” heating for five years, including two years during her cancer treatment. 

Diamella Mwamba, 35, is currently staying with her family in temporary accommodation after she raised concerns about ongoing disrepair in her flat in Widmore Road, Bromley, to housing association A2Dominion.

Ms Mwamba said: “The heating in my bedroom didn’t work throughout my pregnancy with twins and after they were born. They were constantly getting colds last year.

“I have five children, ranging from a newborn to a 14-year-old, we also went without heating in the living room for four months after the radiator broke. It was left hanging off the wall – I have a house full of children. It’s unsafe.”

Ms Mwamba said the radiator in the living room was left broken for four months (Picture: Diamella Mwamba)

Since 2019, Ms Mwamba has been complaining to A2Dominion regarding issues with heating and a leak in her property. 

Throughout the past two years, Ms Mwamba has undergone chemotherapy treatment for cancer – which she has now recovered from – but says the lack of heating worsened her health at the time and was left “distressed” by the situation.

She said: “Housing associations have a policy to carry out repairs to issues in 28 days. I have been contesting the issue for years now.”

A spokeswoman from A2Dominion said that repairs were not carried out on the property because workmen were not permitted access by Ms Mwamba.

Ms Mwamba has been moved into temporary accommodation while the housing association fix the heating and broken decking (Picture: Diamella Mwamba)

Ms Mwamba said: “My immune system was run down when I was going through treatment. They wanted to come and do work during the pandemic and wouldn’t take Covid tests, so I didn’t let them in.

“Workers had come before and I let them in but no work was done – they didn’t want to pay for repairs.”

Ms Mwamba has requested to be moved from the property for the last four years due to ongoing issues with heating and personal health problems.

During her pregnancy in 2022, Ms Mwamba’s midwife sent a letter to A2Dominion advising her to be moved due to her caesarean section and damage to her spine – which can cause her to become temporarily paralyzed – meant her property was unsuitable due to the stairs and three young children she was already caring for.

In 2022 Ms Mwamba’s midwife advised the housing association to move the family to a new property which suited her health needs (Picture: Diamella Mwamba)

Ms Mwamba and her family have been in temporary accommodation since October while the housing association completes works to fix the heating in the property. She was also offered £100 in compensation for delays to the repairs, which she refused.

The family are due to be moved back into the home in the coming weeks, but Ms Mwamba said she is still concerned that the issue will not be resolved. On the staircase, they were going to leave it like that until I asked them to repair it – I don’t trust what they think is safe.

She said: “They have treated me as if my health doesn’t matter.

“I currently taking my accountancy exams, I don’t need this stress.”

Dawn Wightman, Director of Homes and Communities at A2Dominion, said: “Unfortunately, Ms Mwamba wouldn’t allow us access to fix the bedroom radiator and pipes until she was housed in a specific area, which took time to arrange. Then we repaired the leaking radiator pipe and the boiler, along with other maintenance as she requested.

“Our team have supervised works to ensure the home is safe to move back to, and Ms Mwamba can now move back in whenever she is ready, she has asked to stay in temporary accommodation for an extra two weeks so she can make arrangements.”

Pictured top: Diamella Mwamba and the radiator in her living room that was broken for four months (Picture: Diamella Mwamba) 

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