Aylesbury Estate in Southwark.

Southwark Council flat not fit for humans, says mother

A mother of five says her Southwark council flat is not fit for humans to inhabit, amid a nine-year mouse and cockroach infestation.

Fatmata Koroma, 34, claims Southwark Council has failed to solve the severe pest problems in her Aylesbury Estate flat. 

Cockroaches lay eggs throughout the home, including in the fridge of her council-owned property, and a dead mouse was found in her child’s cereal box last week. 

Koroma, works part time as an NHS maternity support worker, said: “Even animals should not live here – this place is not liveable.”

A dead mouse in a cereal box.
LAST WEEK: A dead mouse lies in the tenant’s cereal box (credit: Fatmata Koroma)

A fire broke out in the flat in 2021 after a mouse chewed through the cable connected to an electric cooker.

Two further fires occurred elsewhere in the block last year.

The council were first alerted to the issues in September 2014, when the family moved into the property.

Koroma said: “When my son found the mouse inside his food, I just felt so helpless.

“I feel like I’m talking to people and they’re not listening to me.

“At night time, you only hear the mice.

“My two younger daughters don’t sleep in the other room anymore because they’re so scared – they can’t even go to the toilet by themselves.

“My son used to be scared of nothing. Now he’s even scared of flies – I had to persuade him that they don’t bite.

“This is the place I’m going to end up dying if I’m not careful.”

Dozens of cockroaches behind a bed in a London flat.
HEALTH HAZARD: Cockroaches can be seen behind a bed in the mother-of-five’s flat (credit: Fatmata Koroma)

Emails sent by Southwark Council confirm that Koroma’s central heating remained unfixed for six months last winter, because engineers said they were unable to work in a property with pest infestations.

A letter sent to the council this month by her GP insisted the flat was a health hazard and asked for the family to be moved urgently.

The NHS worker says she has been prescribed anti-depressants and is anxious about potentially carrying cockroach eggs into her workplace.

At one time Southwark Council carried out weekly pest treatments of the flat, but the situation did not improve according to Koroma. 

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for homes, communities and finance, called the conditions in Koroma’s property horrifying.

Cryan said: “We do all that we can to prevent pests on Aylesbury Estate with regular treatments of both the whole blocks and individual flats when needed.”

“Both housing and pest control officers are on site on the estate almost every day and I am sorry if we have not responded quickly enough to the tenant about this matter on this occasion. 

“We will treat the tenant’s property as a matter of urgency, which we hope will resolve the problem.”

Following the claims, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has called on Southwark Council to address the problems without delay. 

A spokesperson for the department said: “The conditions in the Aylesbury Estate are totally unacceptable – nobody should have to live in conditions as awful as this. 

“Our landmark Social Housing Act is now law, meaning rogue landlords can no longer hide from their responsibilities, and we will be introducing new strict time limits to fix homes through Awaab’s Law.”

Featured image via YouTube

Other images courtesy of Fatmata Koroma

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