A Camberwell family with two young children live in a council flat ‘infested with vermin which had human waste pouring down the walls for ten months’.
Zara Rowley, 33, a tenant of Camberwell’s Castlemead Estate, says she has also counted three different species of cockroach living in her home.
“It’s appalling. It’s just got so bad to the point where I feel like a shell of a person. There’s no Zara in there anymore”, she said.
Zara says flooding, leaks and vermin have been a problem ever since she arrived in 2013 but the situation seriously deteriorated recently.
In September 2021, a pipe burst, causing fluid to cascade down her walls. Tests confirmed it contained high levels of E. Coli, a bacteria found in faecal matter.
It explained why her ten-year-old has been suffering from repeated illnesses. Zara described their living conditions as “a death sentence”.
The leak was finally repaired on Tuesday, July 26, after Zara got her solicitor involved. Since contractors left, a new leak has appeared in the living room.
Zara is appalled by how long it took the council to fix the burst pipe. She says excuses like they “couldn’t find the source of the leak” or were “struggling to access people’s flats” are not good enough.
Zara also claims the block’s entire first floor is infested with bed bugs and cockroaches. She collects the vermin in plastic tubs as evidence of the nightmare she’s living.
Bedbugs are even nesting in the wood frame of her two-year-old’s cot and her eldest has scarring from the constant bites.
Tearing her hair out, Zara said: “My boys wake up with marks on their face. They’re sick and tired of being bitten all the time. And I don’t sleep because as you go to sleep you see a bed bug crawling right behind you.”
“I’m isolated – nobody visits me except my brother. He says I would rather see you and risk getting bitten”, she said.