We’re stuck in a mouldy flat with our 11 children and one toilet – the council has done nothing to help us – Daily Mail

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  • Wahidullah Safi, 35, and his wife Bibi Safi, 45, moved to Canning Town in 2023

A father, his pregnant wife and their eleven children have developed ‘dangerous’ coughs after being left in a council house over-run with black mould. 

Wahidullah Safi, 35, and his wife Bibi Safi, 45, were moved into the three-bed property in Canning Town in 2023 but quickly realised the dire state of the mice infested apartment. 

Mr Safi has put in multiple complaints of black mould to Newham council but despite receiving a preliminary check-up visit, claims no further action has been taken.

He said: ‘Newham Council has done nothing. They sent a person to take pictures of the damp, who said ‘this is very dangerous for the children, we have a team we can send round’. Since then, I have not seen anyone.’ 

His family came to the UK aided by the British Army in 2022 after the Taliban took over Afghanistan , although Mr Safi has been a resident of the UK for seven years as he works as a delivery driver

He is now becoming increasingly desperate as his wife’s health has deteriorated further and she is due to give birth to their 12th child ‘any day’. 

His family came to the UK aided by the British Army in 2022 after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, although Mr Safi has been a resident of the UK for seven years as he works as a delivery driver. 

He has tried to relocate from his crumbling apartment, but his attempts have been rejected as they have not yet lived there for three years. 

He added that he has resorted to repeatedly repainting the walls in the house himself in an effort to keep the mould at bay, but ‘the damp always comes again,’ continuing: ‘It’s a difficult life.’ 

The family lived in temporary accommodation in Central London for a year, before Greenwich Council stepped in to secure them a permanent home in Newham. 

However as it is only a three-bed for all 13 of them, they struggled to fit and three children are forced to sleep in the living room. 

As the property is located in the borough of Newham, but was found by Greenwich Council, Mr Safi claims neither local authority will take responsibility or the family’s case seriously. 

When his application for rehousing was rejected by Newham Council, he said he was directed to speak to Greenwich Council, who he says six months later directed him back to Newham Council.

A spokesperson for Newham Council said: ‘Mr Safi and his family were helped to move in to this privately rented property in Newham by the London Borough of Greenwich. 

‘We are aware of the substandard conditions in the property. As this is a privately rented property [managed by the agency Freshview] not managed by Newham Council, our private rented sector housing enforcement team has been liaising with the landlord to address the disrepair.

‘The landlord has informed us that some improvement works have been made to rectify some of these issues, but we are aware that the overcrowding in the property still remains an issue of concern. 

‘We are currently working with the London Borough of Greenwich to resolve the situation and we are in direct contact with the family to discuss their housing options.’

A Greenwich Council spokesperson echoed this statement, adding: ‘We are currently working with Newham Council to resolve the situation and we are in direct contact with Mr Safi to support him in finding more suitable accommodation, however it is harder to find larger family homes.

‘Unfortunately, there is a housing crisis in London and we have more than 27,000 households on our housing waiting list, and more than 1,900 households living in temporary accommodation. With homelessness sadly at record levels, it is a huge challenge for local authorities across the capital and beyond.’

Mr Safi claimed he has also taken the case to his local MP, Lyn Brown MP for West Ham, and subsequently the MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, Matthew Pennycook, to no avail. He said: ‘Lyn Brown said talk to Matthew Pennycook. Matthew Pennycook said you have to talk to Lyn Brown. Greenwich Housing said talk to Newham. Newham Housing said talk to Greenwich. We are in the middle. I don’t know where else we can go.’

A spokesperson for Ms Brown said: ‘Lyn did not advise Mr Safi to approach Greenwich Council but rather conveyed to him a response received from Newham Council following her representations on his behalf, advising that Newham Council would not be in a position to rehouse him given he has not yet lived in the borough for three years.’

A spokesperson for Mr Pennycook said: ‘The address and postcode provided previously by Mr Safi indicated that he and his family are actually residents of the West Ham constituency represented by Lyn Brown MP. 

‘While Mr Pennycook takes the issues the family raised extremely seriously, strict parliamentary rules prohibit him from making representations on behalf of or responding in full to those who are not his own constituents.

‘It is also the case that Mr Pennycook is not a member of Greenwich Council nor responsible in any way for the services it provides, including in relation to housing and temporary accommodation.’

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