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Before you see the water falling from the ceilings and coming down the walls, you can hear it: the tortuous, continuous drip, drip, drip of dirty water into buckets. The damage is so bad, it has been described by both the chief executive of the UK’s biggest housing charity, Shelter, and the former chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive as the worst housing conditions they have ever seen.
It is impossible to put into words the appalling conditions we found people living in, in Croydon, south London.Not even the pictures you can see below do justice to the dangerous squalor residents, some of them young children, have been forced to endure for months. Before you even see the black mould and the damp inside the flats, you can smell it in the corridors.
Since 2019, residents of the tower block on Regina Road in South Norwood have been complaining to their landlord, Croydon Council, of leaks in their flats – leaks that have now turned their homes dangerous and uninhabitable. Fransoy Hewitt, who lives on the ground floor with her two sons, aged five and seven, started noticing damp and mould 18 months ago. She has shown us evidence of contacting the council in October 2019 to inform them of a leak in the flat.