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Tearful plight of Islington woman who can’t leave her bed

I shouldn’t be living here, pleads disabled tenant in rising damp flat

12 January, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Tenant Chantal Hac and partner Philip Horn: ‘It’s too cold and damp’

A SEVERELY disabled woman has been unable to leave her bed or wash herself for a month as her home crumbles around her.

The Tribune is often called by readers about the state of their homes or overdue repairs but even hardened reporters were shocked by the life being led by Chantal Hac, 50, whose flat is being wrecked by rising damp and a rodent infestation.

Ms Hac, who suffers from cerebral palsy and relies on a carer to hoist her from her bed, is now pleading for help from the housing association which owns the flat in St John’s Court, Highbury Park.

When we visited her this week, she said the last time she had washed was when her carer had used a hosepipe to clean her.

Mould has spread so badly that the carer no longer feels able to sleep through the night in the flat.

“I can’t leave my bed, it’s too cold and damp. I’ve been in floods of tears and no one comes to visit me anymore. This is a health and safety issue. I shouldn’t be living here at all,” said Ms Hac.

A pool of water has formed at the bottom of Ms Hac’s wardrobe in her bedroom and liquid seeps out of living-room floorboards. Workers from her housing association, Family Mosaic, took out her wash area around four weeks ago in a bid to fix rising damp.

“They ripped out the wet room but when they dug out the new shower tray the water started coming out of the bathroom floor so they just left it like that,” she said. “I can’t have regular showers, I’ve got sores. I’ve been getting red rashes and that. My carer used the hosepipe the other day.”

Damp bedroom walls

Ms Hac says she still pays £60 a month in rent to Family Mosaic, which merged with Peabody Trust last year, while her housing benefit covers the rest, which totals around £520.

Despite the issues, Ms Hac does not want to leave the property for good. She has called for Family Mosaic to fix up the home she “loves” – she’s been there since 1997 – and to reimburse her for the rent she’s paid while living without a wet room.

Wet room that Chantal Hac can no longer use

“I don’t want to leave the area and I am friends with my neighbours. They help me out. I’m worried they won’t find me suitable accommodation for all my specialist equipment and my dogs.

They don’t build them like this anymore,” she said. Ms Hac says her current home with three bedrooms – one for herself, which includes a large medical bed, and two rooms for her partner and carer – is perfect for her needs.

Her partner, Philip Horn, said he had seen a large number of mice in the property in recent weeks. “I’ve seen three or four, with one dead in the bathtub. I think next door had them too,” he added.

Ms Hac’s neighbour, June Collins, 54, who lives in an adjoining bungalow and suffers from lung problems, moved to her sister’s house in Haringey last month after water started gushing out of her bedroom floor.

She said: “I’ve had several people round to have a look but nothing has been done. They should have done work in February last year when you could first hear squelching under the floorboards.”

At the time of going to press, Family Mosaic had not responded to the Tribune’s request for comment.

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