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‘It’s like a dungeon’: Rainham resident terrified tree will crush house deemed unsafe by council

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 December 2018

Christine Harper is living in untenable living conditions in a house which has been condemned by Havering Council.

Christine Harper is living in untenable living conditions in a house which has been condemned by Havering Council.

Archant

A Rainham resident is at her wits’ end after her landlord failed to resolve a series of issues with her housing, including a large tree that is precariously hanging over her home.

Christine Harper is living in untenable living conditions in a house which has been condemned by Havering Council.Christine Harper is living in untenable living conditions in a house which has been condemned by Havering Council.

Christine Marie Harper moved into a new property in Betterton Road, after her landlord, Alex Lewis, sold her previous property in Saddleworth Square when his licence was revoked.

The 36-year-old said she was given notice about the move on the morning of November 5 and had until 2pm that afternoon to pack her belongings.

This meant that she did not have a chance to view the new property in Rainham before moving in.

The property houses 15 tenants and Christine describes the area where she lives as an “outdoor shed that has been converted into a one-bedroom flat.”

Christine Harper is living in untenable living conditions in a house which has been condemned by Havering Council.Christine Harper is living in untenable living conditions in a house which has been condemned by Havering Council.

She told the Recorder: “Havering Council has condemned this place.

“There is a willow tree hanging over the roof, there’s no central heating, no smoke alarms and polystyrene hanging from the ceiling.

“I’ve already been flooded twice [from the stream in the garden] and the landlord was nowhere to be seen.

“Any day a strong gust of wind could just blow the tree down and my house would be crushed. I would lose everything.

“The place is dangerous.”

Havering Council has offered Christine alternative housing in Southend, however she refused on the grounds that her mother has cancer and she doesn’t want to be far from her.

Christine added: “There’s another shed and one of the flats is in a terrible condition, it’s like a dungeon.”

A Havering Council spokesman said: “Following the tenant contacting us, environmental health officers visited the privately-owned property and identified a number of issues.

“The council’s housing officers will be issuing notices to the private landlord requiring works to be carried out at the property to resolve these issues.

“Housing officers are also working with the tenant to secure alternative accommodation. One offer of accommodation has already been made.

“Officers will continue to work with this tenant to find a suitable housing solution while the necessary work is being carried out at the property.”

Mr Lewis has been contacted for a comment.

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