John Gulliver: Are young are less likely to complain about damp?

First flat dream become nightmare

Tuesday, 24th May

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Reasha Barnes with her cat Hennessey

WHAT a wonderful feeling to be offered your first ever council flat.

As a young person, I am sure it comes with a rare feeling of pride, stability and hope for the future.

Reasha Barnes, 24, felt all these things when she got the nod last year – but her dream studio in Weedington Road, Queen’s Crescent, has been plagued by damp, mould and recurring leaks.

The realities of the housing repairs crisis in Camden is dawning on her as she waits for weeks in Premier Inn temporary accommodation, in Brentford, for a resolution.

Ms Barnes, who went to Maria Fidelis and grew up in Elm Village, believes young people are often bunged into poor quality council flats because they are less likely to kick up a fuss about it.

She told me: “It was such a relief when I got the flat because I had been homeless for two years and sleeping on people’s sofas, that sort of thing. I was given all these assurances about the damp and the pipes being fixed. So I painted but then I had to paint over again because of the leaks.

“I’m really grateful for the flat but I just think they are putting young people into these problem homes because they think they can get away with it. They knew this flat had faults and still they moved me in there.”

Camden said it had been working to “trace the source of the leak” and would “work with the resident until all matters are fully resolved”.

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