A disabled woman who lives alone in Lambeth says she has been forced to endure rat-infested social housing for six months.
Asia White, 37, moved into her new home in May to find rats living beneath her but claims her requests for help from social housing provider Peabody have been repeatedly ignored.
Ms White, who is mentally and physically disabled, claims her living conditions contributed to her being hospitalised after her health rapidly worsened because she had accidentally consumed rat faeces, urine, and was almost bitten by the giant rats on several occasions.
Ms White said: “I am petrified of living here daily. It’s like I’m imprisoned in my home.
“I’m getting more sick day by day. I’m appalled at my housing, they are not addressing it, they are not helping me.”
Only one service team has been sent out in the last six months, and the rats remain and have free access to her house as the sewage pipe they enter through connects directly to her basement.
Ms White said her application to transfer to more liveable housing was denied by Peabody, despite substantial medical evidence provided by her doctors.
Peabody housing have killed some of the rats with poison but Ms White said the decomposing bodies of the dead rodents are causing a stench, and without repairing the entry holes, more continue to enter.
Ms White claims Peabody are not making the necessary repairs because it will cost them too much money.
Last year the Peabody group generated more than half of their profit – £365 million – from social housing lettings.
The cost of providing social housing amounts to £250 million which leaves Peabody with a £115 million surplus.
As a registered charity, Peabody does not have to pay tax and last year recorded a turnover of £609 million.
A Peabody spokesperson said: “We are sorry that the issue in Ms White’s home has yet to be resolved.
“Our contractors have visited twice in an attempt to do this since we learned of the drain problem recently.
“We have asked them to return to the property urgently to try and remedy it without delay.
“We continue to offer Ms White support in this difficult situation and are doing everything possible with the contractors and their subcontractors to resolve this.”
Ms White said she had received help from Lambeth’s Larkhall ward councillor Tina Valcarcel, who she said prompted the visit from Peabody.
Ms Valcarcel said: “I have been helping the resident of my ward with her housing issues for a number of months, in my role as a local councillor.
“We have made progress, but there’s still a long way to go. I’m determined to continue working on her behalf until these issues are resolved.”
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