A family who fear for their health due to large patches of mould and water leaks in their rental home have been threatened with EVICTION – for complaining.
Desperate mother Manal Elamin, and her four children, have spent the last six years living in fear of a bad weather forecast.
A rainy day sees water pouring through the house and down the stairwells and large patches of black mould caused by the leaky roof blight the three-storey home.
The Elamin family have asked for the roof to be fixed at their Oxford Place home in Easton, Bristol, for ‘at least five years’.
Eldest son Raed Elamin, 20, said: “Every time we ask him to sort something out he just says, ‘Ok, no problem’ – but it never gets done.
“When it rains, it just pours through the ceiling, down onto the stairs. Everything gets wet and it’s a bit dangerous.
“If it starts raining and I’m out, I dread coming back home – it shouldn’t be like that, you should want to get indoors when it rains.”
The family became so desperate to fix the problem they resorted to visiting Mr Meset Ahmed at his house, with members of Bristol’s tenants’ union Acorn.
But the angry landlord responded by threatening the family with eviction and closed the door in their faces.
Manal said: “”I’m scared here, scared for our health, scared that the ceiling will collapse. No-one should have to live like this.”
The house is currently the subject of an improvement order. Mr Ahmed has been given two different dates to fix long-standing problems the family say put their health and safety at risk.
The landlord said a leak in the bathroom, which sees water drip onto a combi boiler and kitchen appliances, has been fixed, after the deadline to do so passed last week.
And he has been given until the end of this week to fix the leaking roof, which sees water drip almost continuously through the damp and mouldy home.
Manal said: “A man came to fix the roof last week, but whatever he did, it didn’t work. It was no surprise.”
And Raed added that his middle of three sisters Dalal, 15, has Crohn’s Disease and is in and out of hospital.
He said: “The hospital tell us we have to keep things clean and hygienic at home – but it’s really difficult when there’s water everywhere and everything is so mouldy and damp.”
He added that he and his mum have been looking for alternative accommodation on a daily basis for years, but they are up against heavy competition.
“We look all the time. We’ll be passing somewhere that’s new to let, and be straight onto them. But so many other people are too,” said the 20-year-old.
“We are on the council housing waiting list, but even with my sister’s health condition there’s always about 80 people ahead of us bidding for every house.
“We would move out tomorrow if we had somewhere to move to.”
Manal and Raed went with Acorn to Mr Ahmed’s house to present him with a letter asking that no rent be charged for two months in ‘recognition of the danger and distress that he had caused the family’.
But their landlord angrily told them, “If you don’t like it there, move.”
He said: “I will serve you an eviction notice, you will have two months. I will get the work done and then you will be out anyway.”
Mr Ahmed said the doorstepping was an invasion of his privacy and had left his wife and family very upset.
He said he had a licence as a landlord, and always acted in accordance with that.
“My wife is detrimentally disturbed with this action by these people – who are Acorn? It’s an invasion of privacy, it is criminal,” he said.
“I have got a deadline to do the work I will stick to. They are not allowed to turn up on my doorstep like that. As a landlord, I have a licence from the council.
“I will get her and her family out – I will get a Section 22 eviction notice now. She’s been verbally abusive over the past few years.”
He added: “I am a citizen of this country, a born and bred Bristolian, and she’s nothing but trouble.
“I’m dealing with the council on this, the bathroom is fixed and I had a man look at the roof and that will be done.”
“I’m a peaceful man and I get things done. I couldn’t believe what took place at my house.
“But I will evict them, absolutely – the notice is final, and it’s my right to do that, it is my house and I own it, and they have two months’ notice whenever I like.”
Acorn said the problems faced by the family highlighted the issues for tens of thousands of people in rented accommodation in Bristol’s housing crisis.
They said people fear complaining about issues to landlords reluctant to make proper repairs will mean they are then evicted for speaking out.
A spokesman for Acorn said with huge demand for housing, rogue landlords are increasingly threatening tenants with eviction if they complain too much about poor standards, or report their homes to the council.
An Acorn representative said: “We want to make it clear that if this landlord continues to not make these repairs, and to intimidate the tenants, we will continue visiting him.
“We’re going to let his neighbours and his community know that this person is quite willing to make money from people living in such terrible conditions.
“We will continue this action until such time as he fixes these problems and the house is fit to live in.”