Daughter's anger as 100-year-old mum living in 'horrendous' conditions

Doreen Harrison raised her children in the house, but now she is living in 'horrendous' conditions
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A woman claims her 100-year-old mother is living in ‘horrendous’ conditions with holes in the roof, leaking ceilings, damp walls and no access to washing facilities.

Doreen Harrison lived in the house in Bootle with her late husband and it’s where they raised their children - it is her family home and the place she wishes to die. However, according to her daughter, also called Doreen, the current state of the private rented property is putting her mum’s health at risk.

Ms Harrison is currently confined to the living room on the ground floor and has stayed in this room since a period of illness two years ago. She is unable to walk upstairs and therefore has no access to the bathroom or bedrooms. The daughter offered to cover the cost of a stair-lift as long as the landlord provided a shower, which is essential as her mum was unable to get in the bath. Doreen claimed she received the following reply from the landlord: “Well, you only live down the road. Can’t she go to your house?”

Doreen looks after her mum as well as working a full-time job – the combination of these two responsibilities takes up 99% of her time. In recent years, she has endured a series of difficult moments including the loss of several close friends. Added to her mother’s deteriorating health and ongoing housing problems, the impact on her mental health has been significant.

Over the years, the concerned daughter has raised numerous and serious disrepair issues in relation to the property but claims she has either been ‘ignored’ or subjected to ‘lies’ by the landlord.

Two years ago part of the ceiling in the back bedroom came down due to a severe leak. Doreen said it took the landlord approximately six months to fix. At the time, she raised the issue as soon as it happened and claims the landlord told her there was ‘nothing’ he could do and she should ‘call the fire brigade’.

Doreen said the latest issue occurred in December last year when roof tiles crashed into her mum’s back yard. As a result, a prominent hole is visible on the roof and water has started coming through the ceilings of the front bedroom and the landing.

The resulting damage shows a large hole in the bedroom ceiling with one part crashing onto the carpet and a constant ‘tip tapping’ can be heard as water leaks onto the loft hatch. For the sake of her mum’s health, Doreen refuses to tell her mother about the damage. She said: “My mum doesn’t know anything about the roof because she wouldn’t sleep at night.”

Doreen at her home in BootleDoreen at her home in Bootle
Doreen at her home in Bootle

Two months later and the roof is still in a state of disrepair – a period when Merseyside was hit by numerous storms and freezing conditions. Asked what the landlord has done to get the roof fixed and the damage repaired Doreen’s answer is short and simple: “Nothing”.

The freehold of the property is owned by a Wallace Estates. However, they have leased this property out and are not responsible for maintenance or upkeep. Whilst Wallace Estates confirmed their ownership of the freehold and an existing leasehold agreement they could not divulge who the leaseholder actually is.

The person understood by Doreen to be the leaseholder and landlord is Thomas Brian Phillips and his company BPM Property.

When Doreen raises issues about repairs or updates to the property – the kitchen has not been replaced in over 30 years – she says there is only one response given by Mr Phillips ‘the investors won’t do it. To this day, Doreen doesn’t know whether these ‘investors’ exist or who they might be.

The day we visited Doreen was cold, rainy and blustery. Damp could be seen and smelt in the bedrooms, wet ceiling plaster was spattered across the bedroom floors and wind was whistling through the gaps between the windows.

Before we left, Doreen had one final question. She said: “What sort of human being would keep a 100 year-old woman living like this?” Mr Phillips was repeatedly approached for comment, but no response was given by the time of publication.

In an email sent to Doreen’s daughter, Mr Phillips responds to her continuing complaints about the roof – approximately 5 weeks after the roof tile incident. It reads: “As you know the last 3 weeks+ has been particularly impossible for any roof work to be undertaken, and as a result of that no doubt all roofers will be under particular stress, I am trying my best to get something done – if you can help that would be great!”.