Case Study: ‘Milena’

Short case with no quote for Citizens Advice

Milena* lives in a studio flat with her two young children. Not only is the accommodation too small for her needs, it’s so damp that the entire family have asthma.

Desperate to find better accommodation, Milena made requests to her Housing Association until she was eventually offered a bigger flat. Milena was delighted.

Upon viewing however, Milena noticed the all-too familiar signs of damp in the walls. She also spotted a pool of water under the boiler, broken door frames and general disrepair.

Milena faced an impossible decision. Refusing the flat could mean she might never be offered a property again, but moving into it could be more harmful to their health than staying the old one.

The Housing Association began to pressure Milena to move in straight away, so she called Citizens Advice to ask what the standards for Housing Association housing should be.

Our adviser, Fay, spoke to Milena. They discussed some practical solutions, like getting a letter from her GP to confirm the family’s health conditions. This would support the need for the damp to be fixed before she moved into the property.

Fay gave Milena some guidance on what standards to legally expect from Housing Association properties and what repairs Local Authorities are obliged to make. Fay will continue to be there to help Milena with her decision and any further help should she need it.

*not her real name

I’ve written for BBC radio, science podcasts and video journalism plus online content for a wide range of clients in both the commercial and public sector.