The family of a disabled and distressed woman are appealing for help to free her from living like a ‘prisoner in her own home’.
Sandra Walden is confined to the ground-floor of her rented three-bedroom cottage in Amber Hill – sleeping in a chair in her front room and living off tinned food.
“I can’t go upstairs and can only afford to heat one room so I sleep in a special chair,” said Sandra, 59, who suffers with spinal cirrhosis, arthritis and depression.
Struggling to perform daily tasks, she is unable to work and has recently been hit by the Government’s introduction of the bedroom tax.
She put in a request with Boston Mayflower Housing Association to be moved to a bungalow in Boston, nearer family, and was told a suitable home had been found for her.
However, Mayflower has said she can not go there until extensive work to her house is completed to return it to a condition fit for new tenants. This includes removing four sheds with asbestos roofs, taking up a laminate floor deemed to be a trip hazard, replacing a glass door and light fittings, and extensive clearance of the garden.
A Mayflower surveyor said it could cost £3,000 for the sheds to be removed alone – something she cannot afford.
Daughter Lacy Walden said: “It’s like she is being kept a prisoner in that home. She feels completely trapped as she can’t afford to do all these things herself.”
Sister Jayne Izzard said: “We were prepared to clear the place out and replace the lights, floor and door – but the sheds were all here when she moved in. She’s got to get out of that place. She’s isolated out there and we’re all concerned for her. We’d appeal for anyone who can help to get in touch.”
Mrs Walden moved to the address in 2003, taking on the home from her ex-partner after their relationship ended. She was asked by Mayflower to sign a contract taking over responsibility of the property, including the sheds.
Mayflower’s director of operations Matthew Spittles said tenants are responsible for leaving homes in an ‘acceptable standard’ for the next person, adding: “An inspection at this property showed various aspects of disrepair which are the responsibility of the tenant and Ms Walden would have been made aware of this upon moving in.”
He said tenants have the chance to fix issues before they move out and that Mayflower helps people with this. However he added if the work is not done it may ‘enforce a recharge’ for repairs needed.
Mr Spittles added: “Our policy requires our tenants to pay any outstanding recharges prior to being allowed to transfer to a different Boston Mayflower property. Whilst we try to operate in a fair and consistent manner tenants do have the right of appeal.”
l To help the family email firstname.lastname@example.org