A Forest Hill mum and her two young children are stuck in temporary accommodation after repeatedly being forced out of their housing association flat due to it flooding with raw sewage.

Laura Matthias, 27, has lived at the Southern Housing Group property in Taymount Rise for around 7 years and has been forced out on “several occasions” due to the drains backing up – causing her toilet and bath to erupt and flood the flat with raw sewage without warning.

Despite being repeatedly placed in temporary accommodation for months at a time while the housing association claim to have been working on repairs to the flat, the young family have been displaced again this month due to the same issue.

Miss Matthias told News Shopper: “When I first moved into the flat, nobody had said about this problem – it was only after I moved in that a neighbour said they had lived in the same flat 30 years ago and it had always been a ‘constant issue’.

“Because of all the flooding over the years it’s always got damp and mould – the previous tenant even said they’d found mushrooms growing in there.

“I’ve lost count how much money I have had to spend on replacing my furniture and my kids’ toys, let alone the cost of having to get a solicitor involved to help.”

News Shopper:

Laura Matthias with her partner and two young children

The young mum said since she was first moved out because of the issue in 2014, her family have now been forced out of the property in five-consecutive years since the start of 2016, often being placed in unsuitable hotel accommodation for months at a time.

They are on a waiting list for rehousing, but the only options offered to them to date have been too far outside the Lewisham and Greenwich area.

Living with her two young children, a 9-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, Miss Matthias said she was “very scared” for their safety and underlined the dramatic impact it has had on their early life.

“My daughter has struggled a lot with her mental health as a result of all this happening for so long”, the mum added.

“My kids have nothing at all, it’s all been destroyed every time, they have nothing. No clothes, no toys, no furniture.

“I feel too ashamed to have any visitors round because of how bad it is – all my daughter’s friends get to do the normal stuff like have sleepovers, but I can’t let her have her friends round because of how bad it is.”

She added it was frequently a challenge to find enough money to buy food for the family.

The most recent incident saw the family’s flat flood with sewage again early on the morning of November 15 – forcing them out of the property again that day.

They have since had to move between multiple hotels for temporary accommodation, some of which lacked any cooking facilities, and so far were given one set of food vouchers after repeatedly requesting further support.

She was told by Southern Housing Group that works on the flat should be completed in time for Christmas, with a date of December 14 given.

Miss Matthias said she was sceptical of the work being carried out, because in previous years it had often just involved a fresh coat of paint and no actual repairs to the drainage system or even replacement flooring.

She said she had also previously been accused by one of the housing association's staff of putting unflushables down the toilet, which she described as "ridiculous - why on earth would I put my own family through all this repeatedly?"

News Shopper:

Currently living in temporary hotel accommodation in Catford, she said she is still extremely unhappy at the situation and her children are "very unsettled".

A spokesperson for Southern Housing Group said, “We are sorry for the inconvenience and disruption that this situation has caused our resident. Despite our repeated efforts, the problem has persisted. The property clearly needs further investigations to discover and remedy the underlying issues. We have commissioned a full CCTV survey, which we hope will allow our contractors to get to the root of the problem.

“In the meantime, we will continue to support our resident and we are doing everything we can to help her through this difficult time. We expect the immediate remedial work to be complete by 14 December so that Ms Matthias can return home before Christmas.

“We share Ms Matthias’ frustration that finding a permanent alternative property for her is proving so difficult. London is desperately short of suitable, available housing. However, we have assured Ms Matthias that we are determined to find a property for her that meets her needs.”