Woman moved into ‘cockroach, mice and bedbug infested’ property by LB Hounslow

Image above: Malacie and her two children; via Malacie Wall

Woman and two children ‘find cockroaches, mice and suspected bed bugs’ in emergency council property

A young mother was left deeply disturbed after discovering her emergency council accommodation had cockroaches, bedbugs and after finding a mouse in her son’s cot. Malacie Wall expressed her dismay at the conditions in which she and her two children were placed after seeking housing assistance from Hounslow Council.

The 19-year-old reported encountering a significant number of cockroaches, pests, and mould in the two separate hostel rooms she was assigned while awaiting temporary accommodation.  Malacie, from Hounslow, sought council assistance after her plan to move to Wales fell through.

She gave details of her initial experience of applying for help, noting that she was turned away before the Council eventually offered her a place in Southall.

“For the first four days, they put us in the flat, and I had to return to the Council daily because for the first two nights, they placed us in a room in a shared house with drug users and alcoholics,” Malacie said.

“The place was infested with bedbugs and incredibly unclean – it was truly appalling” she added.

After persistently pressing the Council for relocation, she claimed to have been moved to a place that was “20 times worse”.

“There were cockroaches everywhere, bedbugs, mice, and rats. It was genuinely so awful that I discovered a mouse in my son’s cot.”

Malacie disclosed that after spending two nights in the new accommodation, she refused to return due to her son developing a rash on his back.

In an effort to secure a safer environment for her children, she reached out to a local councillor. As a result, the council transferred her to Slough, where she currently lives in a compact one-bedroom flat.

Images above: Dead cockroaches in the emergency council housing, suspected bite marks on Malacie’s child; via Malacie Wall

Situation has caused family “significant stress”

According to Malacie, her eviction date was initially set for Monday, 16 October, days before she was compelled to begin the arduous process of relocating once more.

She started packing, notified her daughter’s nursery, and scrambled to find alternative housing before the deadline, only to receive a last-minute reprieve on the afternoon of Friday, meaning she could remain in the current housing until 6 November.

Speaking to the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service on Friday, 13 October, after receiving the news, the young mother said:

“It’s very last-minute on their part, causing me significant stress as I tried to prepare for Monday.”

While Malacie expressed some relief at having more time, she emphasised that her situation remained unchanged. She said:

“The stress has made me feel depressed. I don’t typically have mental health issues, but since all of this, I’ve never been so consistently upset to the point where I’m in tears most nights because I don’t know what’s happening.”

Malacie explained that she has been classified as intentionally homeless after leaving Wales due to a lack of paperwork from her former landlord. Although she claimed to have discussed receiving a Section 21 notice over the phone, which typically leads to eviction, it was never executed.

As a result, the Council does not bear the same legal obligations to provide housing, making the 19-year-old responsible for finding her own residence, most likely in the form of private rental accommodation. As the mother of a one-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, Malacie said that her inability to work makes securing private housing exceptionally challenging.

Malacie said she had moved frequently around the country during her teenage years and has had her children in and out of foster care. Her primary hope is for the Council to help her find a suitable home within the borough, which would allow her to remain near her support network of friends and family.

Image above: Mould in the emergency council property; via Malacie Wall, Cllr Sue Sampson

Council “urge anyone with concerns about the living standard of a property to contact us directly”

Councillor Sue Sampson, cabinet member for housing management and homelessness at Hounslow Council said:

“The Council has provided emergency accommodation to Ms Wall and her children whilst enquiries were carried out into their housing situation. We have been in communication with Ms Wall throughout the process and advice given on long-term housing options is now dependent on the outcome of those enquiries.

“We understand the concerns raised regarding the condition of the temporary accommodation and urge anyone with concerns about the living standard of a property to contact us directly. We work hard to ensure every property available is safe and secure and where this is not the case will act swiftly to make repairs or find alternative suitable accommodation.”