'We've been forgotten': Homeless Muswell Hill family demand action

smashed window

The Muswell Hill family was forced to flee after being threatened by a neighbour - Credit: Archant

A Muswell Hill family said they have been left homeless after police advised them to move out of their home in July, following disputes with a neighbour. 

Robert and Laura, who have been given pseudonyms for their safety, said Peabody housing association are yet to provide the young family with alternative accommodation.

The couple, who are both key workers, fled their home after a neighbour was violent towards them. 

The Metropolitan Police said they were called to the property on July 20 to reports of an attempted grievous bodily harm, and a man was taken into custody before being released on bail. 

Since then, the family has been staying at Laura’s mother’s house, driving for over an hour to take the children to and from school.

“We haven't heard anything from Peabody about new housing, and it feels like we've been forgotten,” Laura said. 

“Our children have been through so much, they're traumatised, and we can't keep living like this."

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Robert said: “I’m still paying rent and council tax on a property we’re not able to live in. 

“It feels like a kick in the teeth.” 

A Peabody spokesperson said the association is trying to find a new property, but “unfortunately, this takes time”. 

According to Havering Council, the family were helped to find "safe, alternative accommodation", but that temporary home is with Laura's mother.

The couple had lived in their Muswell Hill home for seven years with their three young children, and said the problems started around seven months ago. 

They claim their neighbour would invite friends over during lockdown, often when he was not in the flat himself, who would let themselves in by reaching though the letterbox. 

Robert said: “We were obviously worried about this, as it was a security breach and we felt unsafe.” 

People in the flat would record music until the early hours of the morning, they said, keeping the children awake. 

The family also claims the neighbour would have loud arguments with his girlfriend, and shout verbal abuse at her. 

Laura said: “Our children were obviously terrified, and couldn’t sleep at night. 

“Our three-year-old daughter was picking up on the foul language, and would hide under her duvet when the arguing began.” 

When the family complained to Peabody, they claim their neighbour shouted abuse from his flat and threatened to stab their children. 

His dog would also reportedly urinate and defecate inside the building. 

“We would open the door and see patches of urine and smell faeces – it was just disgusting,” Robert said. 

He said they even found excrement on the stairs and banisters, and the neighbour would throw rubbish into their garden from his flat, including cigarettes and broken glass. 

When the children were outside, he would allegedly swear at them and call them “evil”. 

The situation escalated in July when Robert went to bring the children inside, and he claims the neighbour threw a glass and hammer at his head.

“I saw something falling out of the corner of my eye, and next thing I knew, a grey mug smashed on the floor next to me,” he said. 

Since then, they have been staying in Laura's mother's front room in east London.

A Peabody spokesperson said the housing association is "sorry” about the family’s situation. 

They added: “We have approached Haringey Council on their behalf to offer them a short-term property until alternative accommodation becomes available. We will continue to closely support the family until they have moved into their new home.” 

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “Everyone has the right to live in a peaceful neighbourhood, free from threatening behaviour and the family did the right thing raising their concerns.  

"Our housing and children’s early help services worked with the family and Peabody Trust, their social landlord, to secure safe, alternative accommodation in another borough and provided information of agencies who could offer support.   

“Although the Peabody Trust are responsible for the family’s housing, we have ensured that the local authority in the area where the family now live have been notified and can continue to provide the necessary support.”