A mother who says she and her son have been left living in a “squalid” mice-infested B&B with no running hot water after a six-month housing ordeal is taking legal action against a London council.
She and her son, who has learning difficulties and is being assessed for possible autism and ADHD, have been moved around a succession of B&Bs, living out of rooms with only one bed and sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities with strangers.
With the support of a solicitor at Osbornes Law, they are now mounting a legal case against the council after being left sharing a bed in a property they say is riddled with mice and bed bugs.
“I am really worried about my son”, said the mother. “He cries at night and asks me why we do not have a safe home like other children at his school.
“He is not coping with being moved from one B&B to another, with living with so many strangers, the loudness of the other people living here and with the long journey to and from school.
“His autism and learning disabilities make this so much harder for him.”
She said her son is struggling to concentrate at school and he has visible bites on his face and body from the bed bugs.
“My son’s GP has said that his mental and physical health has been worsening these last months since he has been living in shared accommodations”, the mother added.
“The GP said that the situation is not sustainable, that he will burnout and suffer significant trauma from this situation that will likely impact him in later life.
“I just want a safe clean home for us, with our own beds, that my son does not have to share with strangers, that has hot water and is close enough to my son’s school to give him the best chance to recover from what he has been through.
“I thought I was making the right decision to protect me and my child when we finally ran away from my abusive ex-husband, but we have suffered so much these last six months because of Ealing Council. ”
She said her pleas for suitable accommodation have gone unanswered, leaving them in an “overcrowded” property with a garden full of debris, rubbish and hazards.
Sam O’Flaherty, housing and social care solicitor at Osbornes Law, said: “The way in which Ealing Council has consistently failed this vulnerable family is appalling.”
He said the council has a duty to find suitable accommodation for the mother and son, as well as a legal duty to safeguard the child’s welfare and protect him as a disabled person.
“We have been urging Ealing Council to comply with their legal duties so that this family can begin to rebuild their lives, but this has been ignored, leaving Mrs A with no other option but to take legal action.”
A spokesperson for Ealing Council said: “The council is engaged in legal correspondence with the solicitors representing the family, therefore we are unable to comment on this case.”