Tina Barnaby, a Peabody tenant who is battling to be compensated. Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga / LDRS
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Peabody tenants feel ‘unsafe’ in their own homes after disrepair issues go unresolved for months

East London Peabody tenants raise concerns about damp, mould and other disrepair issues, saying they ‘just want to feel safe’. 

Peabody tenants in Tower Hamlets have criticised the housing association’s handling of their disrepair issues and repair jobs and say they ‘just want to be treated fairly’.

When Tina Barnaby saw water dripping through her bedroom ceiling one evening in March of last year, she knew something wasn’t quite right.

Mrs Barnaby, who cares for her husband in the house they bought their children up in Tower Hamlets, later discovered there was a leak in the roof.

She reported the leak to her landlord, Peabody, straight away and was told her roof would need to be redone in order to fix the leak.

Despite reporting the leak back in March 2023, Mrs Barnaby claims work didn’t commence on the roof until several months later.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): ‘I’ve had the workmen come back six times to do the roof because the roof has been wrong six times.

‘The scaffolding went up in March but they didn’t start the roof until December, so I had the scaffolding up for months before they started to do any work on it.’

During this time damp and mould started to emerge in the upstairs bedrooms and Mrs Barnaby believes this has been caused by problems with the roof.

As a result, Mrs Barnaby won’t let her daughter and newborn baby move back into the home because she doesn’t want them to breathe in dampness and mould. They are instead staying with a friend.

She added: ‘What’s worse is we keep getting chest infections, we have to keep going on steroids and antibiotics.

‘I’ve had to throw beds and mattresses away and curtains where all the mould is on and where the wallpaper has got mould on, we’ve had to strip it all back.’

A Peabody spokesperson said they were sorry for the problems Mrs Barnaby was having.

The scaffolding that was put up outside Mrs Barnaby’s home in March 2023 was still there a year later when the LDRS visited in March 2024.

Mrs Barnaby is in the process of claiming compensation for the time it’s taken to fix the roof and the impact it’s had on her family. However, she alleges she can only claim as far back as March 2024, due to Peabody closing down her case.

According to Mrs Barnaby, she has been told she will receive £850 in compensation.

She said: ‘I suffer with migraines, I’ve had continuous headaches through it all and it’s a full-time job but I’m not giving up on it. I’m not accepting it has been shut down, as this has been ongoing since March 2023.

‘This is a whole year of my life that’s been mucked up, a whole year, I’m not letting them get away with it.’

Peabody is one of London’s oldest and largest housing associations, with 107,000 homes in the capital and the Home Counties.

In 2011, Peabody bought four estates, Victoria Park in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, Cumberland Market in Camden, Millbank in Westminster and Lee Green in Lewisham from the Crown Estate for £140.8 million.

The former estates are where Mrs Barnaby and Sylvia Mason, an elderly Peabody resident who is from neighbouring Hackney, have both lived previously under the Crown.

Sylvia Mason, an elderly Peabody resident who is too scared to go out into her backgarden due to uneven patio slabs
Sylvia Mason, an elderly Peabody resident who is too scared to go out into her back garden due to uneven patio slabs. Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga / LDRS

Ms Mason, who lives on her own, told the LDRS about a number of uneven patio slabs in her back garden, and said she is too frightened to go outside in case she falls over.

After informing Peabody about her back garden being unsafe for her in its current state, she claims she was told by Peabody, ‘it’s not our responsibility, we only do front gardens’.

Ms Mason said: ‘It’s a health and safety hazard, I have one of those buttons when you’re on your own [in case of an emergency] but I can’t put my washing out.

‘I’m not after money from Peabody, I don’t want money from Peabody, all I want is to think that when I ask for something, it’s actually done and it’s genuine. 

‘I’m not playing up about the garden, I just want to feel safe out in the garden.’

Ms Mason also complained about the length of time it has taken Peabody to finish repairing her upstairs bathroom after the system burst a few months ago and flooded her house.

Before the flooding happened, Sylvia claimed her kitchen and bathroom were due to be replaced by Peabody.

On the flooding, she said: ‘I live on my own, I had no idea how to turn the water off. By this time it had been two hours, it was all above the skirting board in the hall.

‘It took me 55 minutes to get through to Peabody, I eventually got through and they said they’d send a plumber and electrician.’

She said: ‘I’m in the dark, I’m on my own, there’s no electricity or no landline, everything is off.’

By 10pm that night, Ms Mason said Peabody was able to turn the gas and electricity back on.

However, in the aftermath of the flooding, which happened at the end of 2023, Ms Mason said her bathroom floor wasn’t repaired until March 2024.

Ms Mason alleges the flood wouldn’t have happened if Peabody fixed her kitchen and bathroom after first informing her. 

Mrs Barnaby added: ‘Taking into consideration her age, Peabody should never have left her like that.’

Ms Mason said: ‘What worries me is you cannot get through when you need to. We just want to be treated fairly.’

A spokesperson for Peabody said they are working on ‘trying to put things right’ for Mrs Barnaby and Ms Mason.

A Peabody spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry for the problems Mrs Barnaby and Ms Mason have been having.

‘We want to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable in their home, and we’re in touch and trying to put things right for them as a priority.’

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For more local news, read about the key workers who protested against rent increases outside Peabody HQ 

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