Woman forced to move out afraid her ceiling would collapse received only £30

Fatima Djabra stayed with friends to escape appalling conditions at her flat in Brixton, south London, where the ceiling collapsed and fungus grew on the walls

The resident feared her kitchen ceiling would collapse due to the terrible humidity
The resident feared her kitchen ceiling would collapse due to the terrible humidity

A woman who moved out of her flat because she feared her ceiling would collapse received just £30 in compensation.

Fatima Djabra told of fungus and mold growing on the walls of her south London flat in Brixton, where a huge hole in her ceiling had led to leaks and debris on the floor.

The council renter, in her late 50s, lived with friends for four desperate months after her kitchen ceiling collapsed in December.

But she still had to pay £504-a-month rent to Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH) for the flat, while paying council tax and part of her friends’ bills.

Fatima had hoped her housing association would fully reimburse her rent for the inconvenience of staying elsewhere until she moved into her apartment in April, she says My London.

The tenant said that fungi also appeared on the walls


Fatima Diabra)

But the association refused to reimburse her in full, instead awarding her a meager £30 in compensation after she complained about the delay in repairs.

“I was concerned for my own safety which is why I moved out, but MTVH completely ignored that point,” Fatima said.

MTVH told Fatima it would not refund her rent in full because she decided to leave the house and “decant” herself before the repair team could confirm if it was necessary.

But Fatima insists that her apartment is no longer habitable and that she has received no answers from her housing association.

“When I read the apology letter, I was so upset that I didn’t even reply,” she continued.

The ground was covered in debris after the collapse


Fatima Diabra)

“It was an apology letter because ‘I’ve decided to quit,’ so basically I was being punished.

“They said, ‘It’s your decision, it’s your decision whether you moved out of the apartment.’

“So it seems like I’m the culprit because I moved out of my apartment, which doesn’t make sense to me.”

Fatima, who works at a nearby school, said the compensation made her disgusted because MTVH failed to realize how disruptive the past four months had been for her.

As a result, MTVH awarded Fatima compensation for “poor handling of complaints”.

Photos show the appalling condition of the Brixton property


Fatima Diabra)

This referred to the time it took them to resolve their problems with the dilapidation of their homes and further escalate their grievances.

MTVH previously said the leak was fixed before Christmas, when Fatima claimed she regularly returned to the apartment to empty buckets used to catch spilled water.

In March she said: “I have to go through the same thing, fight, leave my home.

“But I still have to work and pay the rent and bills because if I’m not doing that [MTVH] will throw me out.”

Fatima returned home in April after MTVH confirmed repairs were complete.

But she said yellow stains appeared on her ceiling, which she thinks could be the result of a leak.

The resident also claims she didn’t have a working water heater and her sink is still clogged, which was reported to MTVH.

“I just want all this ramshackle crap to just stop so I can get on with my life,” Fatima said.

“They waste my time, they drain my energy and they drag me down.

“I can’t do this anymore, they abuse me emotionally.”

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Another problem is that MTVH employees reportedly do not show up for appointments or show up unexpectedly while Fatima is still at work.

“I’ve told them I can’t afford to miss another day of work, but again I’m being completely ignored. I’m back to square one,” she added.

Fatima received £190.40 on top of her £30 compensation after taking legal action, but 30% was deducted to help pay for solicitors’ fees.

A spokesman for MTVH said: “We understand Ms Djabra’s frustration. Quite simply, everyone wants and expects to feel comfortable in their home.

“That is why we continue to work on solving the problems. It is unfortunate that recent work has not resolved all issues.

“However, our colleagues have since been at Ms Djabra’s home to assess what work is now required and we are reaching out to them.

“To this end, we have contacted Mrs. Djabra to arrange a boiler appointment and will soon be able to confirm a visit for our repair team.

“Ms Djabra was dissatisfied with the way her initial complaint was handled. This was thoroughly investigated and concluded that we could have managed things better, for which we sincerely apologize.

“The compensation awarded related exclusively to the handling of the complaint.

“We know that moving people out of their homes is a very important step. Therefore, the decantation decision was referred to a professional expert, on whose opinion our decision was based.

“At the same time, we know that Ms Djabra has experienced disruption and hardship during this time. We want Mrs. Djabra to be happy in her home.

“As such, we will continue to work with her to ensure that the necessary repairs are completed as quickly as possible.”

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