A grieving woman is being forced to cook in her living room because her landlord won’t move her out of her collapsing flat.

Nicola Branch, who lost her father in February, is surviving off ready meals cooked in a microwave next to her sofa while workmen fix her crumbling home.

The 56-year-old claims landlord Peabody refuses to rehouse her, despite  having nowhere to wash or cook during construction work on her kitchen and bathroom.

News Shopper: Nicola Branch has had to move all her items to the living room (photo: Robert Firth)Nicola Branch has had to move all her items to the living room (photo: Robert Firth)

Ms Branch has resorted to using her neighbour’s shower and toilet during the day as the builders work in her bathroom. 

She woke up on March 18 to find herself trapped in the fourth floor flat after builders knocked down the stairwell ceiling outside her front door.

She claims she raised concerns about the cracked ceiling to Peabody weeks ago.  

Ms Branch, who works for Islington Council, is signed off with stress and spends all day in her cramped and cluttered living room, counting down the minutes until the workmen’s hammering stops.

Speaking through tears at her home in Southwark, Ms Branch said: “I’m eating microwave dinners. I’m in my living room and bedroom because they won’t decant me.

News Shopper: Nicola Branch in her stairwell hallway where builders knocked down the crumbling ceiling (photo: Robert Firth)Nicola Branch in her stairwell hallway where builders knocked down the crumbling ceiling (photo: Robert Firth)  

“I’ve been using my neighbour’s shower. I wanted to use their toilet this morning but couldn’t get past the mess in the hallway. There’s a hole in my bedroom wall from the bathroom work. That was an accident and they’re going to fix it but I don’t feel safe.  

“I’ve been signed off work because my mental health has nosedived. I just want to be back at my dad’s place in Lincolnshire with my brother and my cat.

"It’s bad enough when your parents die but to be having that and this disruption at the same time is unbearable.” 

Ms Branch fears she will have to spend weeks longer confined to her messy living room until her kitchen and bathroom is finished. 

Despite pleading with Peabody to rehouse her during the works, the housing association has so far refused.

In an email from March 9 seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the housing association told Ms Branch it would not move her because there were “no outstanding works” needed to her flat. 

Ms Branch was left baffled by the message because her kitchen and bathroom are undergoing a complete refit.

She believes Peabody may have been referring to fixing the corridor ceiling in her flat in Southwark Street which collapsed last year. 

Ms Branch estimates she has shelled out over £120,000 to the housing association over 20 years.

She said the least they could do is rehouse her during the works, especially as she comes to terms with losing her dad and mum in less than six months.

She said: “It’s expensive to move me but Christ they get enough money from us with our rent – 20 years I’ve lived here. There’s no respect.”

A Peabody spokesperson said: “We apologise to residents for the disruption and are looking into the issues raised directly with us.”

Have you got a story for us? You can contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletters to get updates sent straight to your inbox.