'Landlords like ours leave poor people living in slums'

RESIDENTS who live in slum-like conditions in a run-down housing estate say they have been abandoned by their landlords

Sanchez Manning

RESIDENTS who live in slum-like conditions in a run-down housing estate say they have been abandoned by their landlords.

The 100-year-old Miles Buildings, close to the Edgware Road, is run by a series of private landlords who have sparked a flood of complaints from negelected tenants.

One family living on the estate was forced to throw out nearly all their furniture when the flat was overtaken by damp.

In desperation, they contacted Westminster Council's environmental health team but were told there was not much they could do to help.

Letting agent Ord, Carmell and Kritzler, then responded to the family of four's plight by trying to evict them from the property.

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Mother Aisha Hakoui said: "We have damp everywhere. I had to throw all my furniture out because the damp made it all soaking wet."

"I was worried about how the damp was affecting my babies because the health visitor told me that it was no good for them and I also have asthma."

"I complained to environmental health but they said there was nothing wrong with the flat and the damp is down to condensation.

"They said it was being caused because there are too many people living in the flat but I have two kids so what can I do?

The 42-year-old mother added: "After the council contacted the landlord to tell him about my complaint he told us that we had to leave because we were causing trouble. But I have young children - a six-month-old baby and a two-year old - and we have nowhere to go."

Mr Salah Kheari, 45, who has rented his flat at 48 Miles Buildings for more than 20 years, claims his landlord had left him with cold water no heating for weeks.

"These buildings are really old so we regularly have problems," he said. "In the past I have had damp, the heating has broken and the hot water gone off.

"But when you complain you have to chase the landlord for weeks on end before anything is done."

A spokesperson for Westminster Council said: "Private landlords are responsible for maintaining standards in Miles Buildings and not Westminster City Council.

"Westminster City Council's Environmental Health department was contacted by the occupiers of flat at Miles Buildings.

After discussions with the property's landlord a humidifier was fitted and the council is considering if other measures are necessary to improve standards at the flat."