A MUM-of-one won £5,500 compensation after her house was invaded by slugs slithering up the walls.
The slimy intruders slithered up her walls and along skirting boards for years as her landlord refused to recognise the “severity and urgency of the situation”.
The damp was so bad that the moisture levels of her ground floor put her rental at serious risk of rot – the home wasn’t even considered “viable”.
Finally, years after reporting the disgusting pests to her housing provider, Orbit, the woman has received an apology and some compensation for the hellish living conditions.
The mum had complained to the Housing Ombudsman after Orbit failed to tackle the property’s problems itself.
The Ombudsman found Orbit guilty of one count of severe maladministration and one count of maladministration because of the way it had poorly handled the woman’s desperate pleas.
She’d been in the property since 2006 and recorded complaints between 2009 and 2019 about mould, damp and water ingress.
But the Ombudsman’s report focussed from the start of July 2020, when the woman’s latest woes began.
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Orbit carried out a damp survey in October 2020, which recommended further internal works be carried out.
Its report said: “The moisture levels to the ground floor were noted as significantly in excess of the levels at which rot and defects to timber would occur. The level of works exceeded ordinary repairs.”
The Ombudsman report said Orbit did not consider the property as “viable” and there were discussions of the tenant moving out.
She officially complained to Orbit in March 2021.
The Ombudsman said: “She was dissatisfied with the landlord’s response to the damp issues at the property and the lack of communication, despite the severity and urgency of the situation.
“She added that she had contacted the local authorities suggested by the landlord but they would not accept her on the housing list as she had no local connections there.”
The Ombudsman said that the frustrated tenant escalated her complaint in April as her own and her son’s health was suffering.
It wrote: “There is no evidence of the landlord taking any steps at all to address the reports of slugs, which were reported as an infestation on a number of occasions; an infestation that was caused by the condition of the property and not the resident’s lifestyle or otherwise and the landlord was consequently required to address.
“It is clear that there were serious problems with damp and mould at the property throughout the period of time that this report is focussing on, as well as related issues with slugs at the property for a substantial period of time and that required repairs were not carried out.
“Failure to carry out works is a serious failure on the part of the landlord and this is particularly serious given the length of time and the severity of the issues.
“It is apparent that the landlord was focussed primarily on the resident’s desire to find suitable alternative accommodation and when it was unable to facilitate this it responded to the re-housing issue rather than addressing the property condition issues.”
As well as ordering £5,500 compensation the Housing Ombudsman has ordered Orbit to carry out required works by October.
In a letter to her, Paul Richards, Orbit’s group director of customer and communities, said “I am writing to offer you a sincere and unreserved apology for the ongoing and extensive failures in relation to the maintenance of your home.
“Having reviewed your case personally, I recognise and apologise for the frustration and detriment this has caused you.
“I appreciate that you have received a number of visits and surveys in relation to your home, but I ask your permission to send a specialist building surveyor to re-visit your property, in order to advise me directly on what action we can take to finally resolve the issues relating to damp and mould.
“Once we have this report, we will share it with you and agree what work needs to take place.”
The disgusting home follows news of another desperate parent battling with horrible living conditions.
A mum-of-two has said her flat is so infested with ants that insects burst out of cereal boxes and plug sockets and even bite her children.
Ruth Archibald lives in temporary accommoation in Wandsworth, South London, along with her five-year-old twins Jonah and Prudent.
The 23-year-old claims to have been plagued by the problem since the start of last year when she first noticed tiny brown ants a week after moving in.
Since then she said ants have poured out of tiny cracks in the walls and taken over the kitchen cupboard.