A mother says she has been repeatedly hospitalised after moving into her ‘horror’ rented home including falling through the floor and a ceiling collapsing on her head.
Disabled mother-of-three Victoria Parkhill, 45, has been living in the sheltered housing after an accident left her with a broken neck.
She says the home has rotten floors, flooding and severe mould which has left her having to eat and sleep in the lounge.
Victoria has lived in the property in Watchet, Somerset, since October 2010 when she moved in following an accident where she broke her neck.
She hoped the new home would accommodate her accessibility needs but she said ‘everything that could go wrong, did go wrong’.
Victoria Parkhill, 45, says the mouldy and dilapidated house have left her family extremely ill
The floor of a wet room became rotton after mould was not addressed resulting in the floor collapsing suddenly – Victoria suffered a violent fall
Victoria had to go to A&E after she fell through the rotton floor of her wet room. The disabled mother of three was back in hospital shortly after when her ceiling fell down
A downstairs wet room which was built so Victoria could shower became mouldy and covered in rust, she says.
When Victoria notified her housing association she said they sent workers to paint over it.
But the underlying problems went unresolved, resulting in the rotten wet room floor collapsing suddenly and Victoria suffered a violent fall into the floor.
She split her head open and was taken to hospital.
The mother of three was back in A&E again after not long after when her ceiling crashed down onto her.
Victoria said the incidents have left her with a damaged disc and ongoing issues with her back.
The 45-year-old said: ‘I have cried every day. I feel like I have the weight of the world – my children are severely ill, terribly poorly.
‘It has been hell.’
Victoria was left with serious injuries after she claims issues with her rented home were not dealt with
The family’s Christmas was ruined after a leaking tap flooded the kitchen, damaging appliances and blowing out the electricity
But the violent fall was just the beginning of Victoria’s problems with the house.
Her family’s festive season was ruined when Victoria’s 8-year-old daughter Isla woke her up shouting ‘Mommy the house is flooded!’
A leaking upstairs tap had filled the ground floor with a foot of water overnight, blowing out the electricity, destroying appliances and wrecking the kitchen.
Victoria said: ‘I will never forget waking up and seeing water pouring out of a tap that wasn’t even turned on. It was horrific, my ankles were in water.
‘But it is now day 43 since this flood – and they still have not done a single thing.
‘The floors still have water underneath – it’s absolutely devastating and the smell is just disgusting.’
She said Magna housing association, who own the property, failed to attend to the waterlogged ceiling for over a month, until it deteriorated so much the plaster rained down on Victoria and her dog in early February.
While a Magna surveyor agreed they would fix the ceiling, they provided no date, and did not make any attempt to fix it before it partially fell down, she says.
The crumbling plaster ceiling left the Victoria, her 15-year old son and daughter, 8, unable to eat in the dining room, forcing them to eat their meals in the lounge.
She said Magna have refused to fix much of the damage, leaving Victoria and her family with waterlogged floors, warped doors, and a damp house.
Victoria said the incidents have left her with a damaged disc and ongoing issues with her back
The disabled mother says it has been 43 days since the flood and claims Magna have still not fixed the problem leaving Victoria with waterlogged floors and a ‘disgusting’ smell
While a Magna surveyor agreed they would fix the ceiling, they provided no date, and did not make any attempt to fix it before it partially fell down, Victoria says
The humid home is now aggravating a long-term damp problem in the property, which has left 8-year-old Isla off sick from school, and 28-year-old Ashley sleeping downstairs with his young daughter when she comes to visit.
Victoria said: ‘My daughter has missed half of the term with severe coughs and colds, she is now on antibiotics.
‘My son is terribly poorly – we have slipped through the net and should have been put in sheltered accommodation.’
Magna provided the family with a dehumidifier, but it has done little to tackle the thick black mould growing around the windows and walls of the property – which stubbornly returns despite being regularly cleaned.
In an attempt to air the house the wet room window is left open, but as a result ivy is now invading the property and has to be cut back from the interior walls.
Victoria said there was no hope of winning the fight against the mould when water was coming up from beneath the floorboards.
She said the situation had left her crying so badly she was unable to speak.
She said: ‘I’ve lost so much money than just my flooring.
‘My carpets still stink upstairs and yet I’ve tried to not be one of those people who claim for ridiculous things to be greedy.
‘I’m so poorly – it’s awful I feel like I don’t know where to start.
‘The kitchen’s falling apart which was donated to me in 2014 to help me be more independent with cooking but it’s just ruined.’
She added that a Magna housing officer was ‘shocked’ her family had not been offered alternative accommodation following the flood.
Victoria has said she has been left ‘extremely concerned’ after claiming Magna have ‘suddenly gotten rid of her calls’ – and feels she has been treated ‘appallingly’ by the agents.
She said: ‘To these powerful companies, the little person doesn’t matter, the tenant doesn’t matter – I have been reporting this for years. ‘
In a statement from Magna, they said: ‘We are really sorry that Ms Parkhill has outstanding repairs in her home that have taken longer than we would normally expect.
‘The wet room was initially installed in 2011, then was extensively refurbished by Magna in 2021. This is in a separate part of the house and unrelated to the recent leak.
‘Ms Parkhill contacted our out of hours team in late December to report a leak from the upstairs bathroom, which we responded to the following day.
‘We were able to fix the leak and replace a spotlight that had been damaged, used a wet vac to clean the affected area, and provided a dehumidifier.
‘However, it wasn’t until after Ms Parkhill contacted us again on 18 January that we visited the very next day to inspect the water damage to the ceiling and downstairs flooring.
‘This should have happened sooner, and we have apologised to Ms Parkhill that it didn’t.
‘We then arranged to return on Friday 2 February to begin the repairs but were unable to access the property because a member of the family was unwell. We have now confirmed the repairs will be done the week of 19 February.
‘In the past week we have been in contact with Ms Parkhill to discuss any outstanding issues and any other support she and her family may need.’