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Woman with cerebral palsy left ‘sleeping on couch’ after complaining of damp problem for eight years

A woman with cerebral palsy says she feels “neglected” by a housing association after damp ruined her bed and left her sleeping on her couch.

Natasha McNeil says the ground-floor flat in Grange Road, Bermondsey, owned by London and Quadrant (L&Q), is not suitable for her needs as it has damp in the bedroom, kitchen and living room, and has a shower over a bath rather than a wet room.

The 30-year-old said she had reported the issue of damp in the property to L&Q since it began in 2010 and was now sleeping on a couch in her living room because her bedroom furniture had been ruined.

“I’ve been raising the issue with L&Q since 2010 and I feel like they’ve just neglected me,” said Ms McNeil, whose legs are both affected by cerebral palsy.

“My flat is not suitable for my needs; I haven’t got a wet room and can’t climb in and out of the bath sometimes because my legs seize up.

“I haven’t got a bed, wardrobe or chest of drawers – I’m literally sleeping on my little sofa. It’s really hard.

“I’m 30 and I don’t have a life really and no clothes because they have been ruined by the damp.”

Ms McNeil said she had initially been offered £1,000 in compensation by L&Q and then £1,925 but that this was not enough and that she wanted to move away from the area.

An L&Q spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the delay in resolving this issue.

“We take the health, safety and well-being of our residents very seriously.

“On this occasion we have not provided the high standard of service we aim to provide.

“At present we are in constant contact with Ms McNeil regarding the damp in her property and are in the process of carrying out extensive repairs which we expect to be completely shortly.

“We will ensure that Ms McNeil is adequately compensated for any distress and inconvenience this has caused.

“We have provided Ms McNeil with advice on her options for moving and will continue to assist her in this regard.

“We are happy to carry out adaptations to any property that is deemed to be unsuitable for a resident following an occupational therapist report.

“We will investigate and advise Ms McNeil should further adaptations be required.”


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