Housing Associations/landlords and asthma

Hi, I'm looking for advice. I have a housing association flat in London. The HA has known since I've moved in that I'm asthmatic and once before ignored this when I had a window that needed to be replaced as it was not closing and making it impossible to heat the flat properly, hence making my asthma much worse in the winter.

After that, I thought they'd finally got the message that I was asthmatic, but this week they have really surpassed themselves re lack of care. They had talked about doing work in the property past year, but postponed it till now. When it was first mooted last year that they would be carrying out work, I reminded the, that I was asthmatic and would need to have alternative accommodation as I can't be around paint/solvents. They agreed. Then when they decided to reschedule the work for this year (ie now) I again contacted the to remind them that I was asthmatic and would need to be temporarily rehoused. However, they told me that they were not going to be doing such extensive work as originally planned, only painting outside areas and some areas so [I] wouldn't have to be rehoused. I'd also asked several times to have clarified what they were doing and when. No response.

The scaffolding went up - fine; the contractors seemed to spent a lot of time up on the roof - fine. Then they started blocking my only entrance/exit to the house by leaving equipment and tine of paint overnight i mediately behind the front door. I complained about this, and thought by the time I came back from my first day of a new job in Tuesday that it would have been removed. Instead, inside in to find I had serious breathing problems. Not only had they used high volatility wood filler extensively including on both the inside of the main house door and front (inside the property) of both mine and my neighbour's flat doors but they'd also left it along with all the other stuff from the previous day and more tins of paint behind the front door. I had to get out immediately and have been out ever since. The HA reluctantly rehoused me in a hotel the second night. However this turned out to be having building work done and the builders themselves told me I shouldn't be there when I asked about the fumes as they were using fibreglass cement. Second night they put me in another hotel. Thereafter they refused to rehouse me any longer.p, basically putting a gun to my head to return. The decision has been mede for me by their 'Asset Management Team' that the flat is fine, even though a friend of mine had been up there to pick up some things for me just the day before they passed it, and said it was still very fumey. They would not consider any submissions from my GP as they said these were unless my doctor was prepared to go to the flat herself (ie the fact that my peak flow was recorded as being down and the fact that I've had to double all my medication and am having to take Ventolin - plus am still wheezing is irrelevant). I'm still not recovered, but I'm going crazy being in this situation and also having to impose on friends. I'm really scared too they are ultimately going to kill me by either choosing to downplay my condition else repeatedly (conveniently) failing to record this. In order to check after the last time that they had it on file, I submitted a subject access request - but they didn't comply with this either.

Can anyone offer me advice on how to get the, a)to provide alternative accommodation for now and b) about what responsibilities landlords have and how to make them comply with this? I am massively out of pocket from having to eat out and also from using my mobile phone all the time (in part to try and sort this out) instead of a landline. I'm also on a short-term contract though with the possibility if extension-if this one goes well, so really under a lot of stress as I was unemployed for months before I got this one. Feeling pretty despairing.

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2 Replies

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  • Shazz

    I have twice been in this position. The first time a friend came round, saw the state I was in and dragged me off to her house and I think she probably saved my life. As it was, I was ill from the October, when the work started, until the following March.

    The second time I decided to go into a B& B for a couple of days, but again my friend insisted that I should stay with her, for which I will always be grateful. Do you have anyone whose sofa you could borrow for a few days? I know it's not that great but it could save you a whole heap of grief.

    Good luck.

  • Sorry, I have no direct experience of this, so can't comment. But have you tried going into a Citizen's Advice Bureau and having a chat? They are very helpful in these sorts of situations, in my experience. Good luck!

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