Man forced to live with cockroaches in flat with poo left needing respirator

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A man who was forced to live with cockroaches in a flat riddled with faeces has revealed that he still needs a respirator to breathe despite having fled the property.

Mehdi Sheikh's council flat was deemed "unfit for humans" and the conditions were so bad that he was left "suffocating" in the home for years in Lewisham, southeast London.

Shocking images revealed the extent of the squalid conditions – which saw his property plagued with black mould and excrement dripping down the walls.

After years of suffering, the 48-year-old was relocated across several hotels before he was finally allocated a one-bedroom property in October, reports The Sun.

Are you living in appalling housing conditions? Share your story with [email protected].

But the devastated tenant says the substandard home has had a lasting impact on his health, which he realised when he had an operation to remove his kidney stones on November 17.

Mr Sheikh said he was meant to be discharged after a few hours but ended up bed-bound at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for three weeks because he was "too ill to go home".

He said: "I blame my old flat and Lewisham Homes. It would have severely weakened my immune system and has clearly damaged my health.

"There was urine and faecal-contaminated water coming into my home and I was sleeping on a mattress with cockroaches, centipedes and mice."

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The tenant, who lives with his four cats, said that although he is glad to have been relocated, he is still "depressed" due to waiting for 80 per cent of his belongings to be moved into the new property.

He lived in the two-bed flat for 20 years and said that downsizing has proven an issue when it comes to his carers and friends needing a space to sleep when they look after him.

"I'm a disabled person in a wheelchair living with 20% of my possessions in a one-bed flat. I was supposed to be getting a two-bed as I have always had," he said.

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"They are saying a one-bed is enough and this is my new permanent home but I have had no change of circumstances."

Lewisham Homes is the social housing provider who runs properties on behalf of the council.

Chief executive Margaret Dodwell issued an apology in September and said: "We realise Mehdi has been put in a very difficult and distressing position, and we apologise to him for the condition of his home.

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"Although we did make attempts to resolve the leaks, the service he has received is of an unacceptable standard.

"We are working closely with Mr Sheikh to find a new home.

"The increasing complexity of his needs and low availability of accessible properties, along with his understandable wish to keep his pets, have made that very challenging."

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