A MUM has been left feeling like “a beggar” after being forced to live in a council flat destroyed by black mold and water damage.
Abiodun Adebayo, 51, says the severe mold issue has left her children sleeping on sofas for months at their flat in Hackney Downs, North London.
The mum-of four has been battling with Hackney Council to move her from the first-floor flat riddled with problems – including peeling paint, plaster and electrical damage.
Ms Adebayo moved into the property in July 2018, and is worried that her children’s health could decline if they are forced to stay in the riddled home.
She told LondonWorld: “I don’t want my kids to see me crying. If I have to, it’s after they’ve gone to bed. I hold my head in my hands and let the tears come.
“I don’t want them to see things like this. I don’t want them to worry about me.”
The property has had issues since August 2019, with Ms Adebayo and her three daughters, aged 18, 15, and 10, along with her son, eight, enduring the conditions during the lockdown.
She claims she has asked the council to move her out, but has only been offered properties that are too far from her kids schools – meaning she will not be able to work.
Ms Adebayo said: “When you’re a single mother with four kids, you don’t have anyone that you can go to for help.
“I have to go to work. They must move me out before they do the work.
“I tell my friends not to visit. I can’t allow someone to visit me here, like this.
“My kids ask me when I pick them up from school if I’ve heard from Hackney Council yet.
“I feel like a beggar with no choice. I’m still paying rent but they are still treating me like this.
“That’s not what the council is supposed to do, but especially to families with children.
“They don’t see exactly what we go through. They fixed it and painted it and it came back again. It’s spreading through the walls.
“If they come here to see this, they might know the right thing to do.”
The care worker has started taking heart medication for her stress, and one of her daughters who suffers from eczema cannot bear to shower.
Two of the girls have been forced to sleep on the sofa for months because of the mold coating their room.
After seeing photographs of Ms Adebayo’s living conditions London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Those conditions are unacceptable but Hackney Council have been working incredibly hard to bring all the houses up to a decent standard – that’s not a decent standard – but also to build a new council houses.
“We are the most centralized democracy in the western world, almost three quarters of councils’ money comes from central government and they’ve had it cut by more than half in the last 12 years.
“The people responsible for poor quality maintenance are those who are cutting the pipeline of money for a great council like Hackney to do a great job in repairing these homes.
“It’s not good enough and it’s important the council takes steps to rectify that particular property, but we’ve got to recognise the context which is massive cuts in public services.”
Labor Party leader Keir Starmer added: “We want higher standards and we want security for those renting – or anyone living – in London, that’s a fundamental and a fundamental right that goes to the heart of Labor values.
“Labour councils are working hard on that.I’m not going to excuse individual examples where it’s obvious that the conditions aren’t what they should be, and I’m thinking about the families that are living in those conditions – but there is a political issue here about the money that’s available to councils and the cuts they’ve had over many years.
“What the Government is trying to do is outsource the problems from Government and put them at the door of local authorities.
“But I’m not going to try and excuse those conditions and I’m not going to get away from the impact that will have on those living there.”
A spokesman for Hackney Council said both properties offered to the family were in Hackney and that they had also offered Ms Adebayo a hotel, or to begin work while they were in the property, which she declined.
Steve Waddington, housing director at Hackney Council, said: “The conditions Ms Adebayo and her family are living in are unacceptable and we have been working with her to try and address the repair issues.
“The initial cause of the water penetration was a leak from a neighbor leasehold property, which was repaired by British Gas in November 2021.
“Since then, we have completed maintenance work on windows and improved the ventilation in her home.
“We have offered two temporary properties to Ms Adebayo to move into while we rectify the issues with her home, however Ms Adebayo declined these properties, stating that she wished to remain closer to where she lives at the moment.
“Unfortunately, the shortage of council housing means that no suitable nearby properties have been available for Ms Adebayo to move into temporarily.
“She remains a high priority to be temporarily moved into any property that becomes available so we can undertake the work to remove the mould.
“We fully recognise that this is a situation that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible.
“We anticipate being able to offer a temporary move in the coming weeks.”