A FAMILY have been forced to live in a hotel for FOUR MONTHS to escape their mould-ravaged flat filled with maggots.
Marcus Gould, 27, his partner Laura, and their young daughters have spent two national lockdowns in a hotel room after being moved from their hazardous flat in Swindon, Wiltshire.
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Laura Tuck, 22, and Marcus were both made redundant from their jobs last year due to the pandemic – but the spell of bad luck continued as they were forced out of their home in October.
The pair are now having to homeschool their daughters, Ava, five, and one-year-old Aria in the hotel after asbestos was found in their walls and maggots infested their Swindon flat.
And the family also fear they're more exposed to catching coronavirus while in their temporary housing situation, compared to if they were living in the comfort of their own home.
But there's no end in sight – as their landlord Sanctuary Housing haven't fixed the "horrific" issues, four months on.
After being contacted by The Sun Online, the housing company apologised for the delays and have assured that the family will be rehoused in the coming weeks.
Speaking about the ordeal, Marcus said: "We've been living in the hotel since October 14, because our flat was damp with mould, there was asbestos in the walls, and our front door was defective.
"There was a multitude of issues, it was like one of the horror stories you read about. They kept on delaying the work and everything kept getting pushed back, meaning our stay in the hotel keeps being extended."
Mr Gould said the problems at the flat have been ongoing for two and a half years – ever since he moved in during summer 2018.
The 27-year-old added: "Mould started appearing on the walls from the very beginning.
"We’ve had maggots. I’ve walked out in the mornings and it's looked like the floor is moving. But it's thousands and thousands of maggots, and they’re all crawling under the door and into the flat.
"Because of the damp and mould, it's like a breeding ground for them.
“They dig into the carpets and try to live there. And I’ve had to spend hours upon hours every time this happens with tweezers trying to pull these maggots out of the floor."
Alongside the stress caused by the housing situation, Marcus is worried his family are more likely to catch coronavirus while living in the hotel.
The family are given a food allowance – but because of the pandemic, they are forced to order takeaways every evening because restaurants in the building are closed and they don't have access to a kitchen.
Laura has already been stopped by police and asked what she was doing, as the officers "didn't believe" that she was living in a hotel.
And now every time they leave their room, the family feel a sense of "panic."
Marcus added: "Living in the hotel is obviously increasing our risk, because we're always in contact with takeaway companies, and all the key workers here.
"There is that worry in the back of my mind.
"My partner has already been stopped by the police, and they didn't believe her that she was staying in a hotel. Now when when I leave, I always have that panic feeling."
Marcus said it's as if his family has been "spilt up," because they were unable to bring their pet dog to the hotel with them – with the pooch currently rehomed with his parents.
As well as living all together in one hotel room, Marcus and Laura are facing the battles of homeschooling, as all other parents are during the lockdown.
The tots struggle to keep focused in the limited space they have – since the youngsters have to eat, sleep, and learn all in the same room where the WiFi "isn't great."
Both girls spent their birthdays and Christmas in the hotel room, which their dad said left them in hysterics.
Marcus added: "It’s been hard to keep the kids happy.
"The girls are already upset and frustrated that they can't go home and they’re missing the dog.
"Both girls already had their birthdays in the hotel, one week apart.
"They weren't able to see anyone or do anything. Obviously no one can come to the hotel, because it's very restrictive because they need to keep everyone safe.
"My five-year-old was getting stressed and upset, and was crying. Both of them cried on their birthday."
He said the struggle with the social housing company is "never-ending" and that he fears the family will be put in the same situation again.
The former service delivery driver added: "It's never-ending. I feel that they’re backtracking and they won’t do anything that they promised in October.
"I feel like we're going to move back in and be in the same process where I have to constantly fight."
He also claims that the company have delayed paying the hotel on "multiple" occasions, as well as not getting the family's food allowance money to them on time.
The housing company accepted that one payment in January was late following staff absences.
Marcus said: "There were multiple times when they delayed paying the hotel and we’ve been overdue by 4 days a few times. And there’s also been times when they’ve delayed paying our food allowance.
"So, there was an occasion when I had to use all of my money from my utilities bills to use for food.
“They're never on time, and their communication is really bad."
A spokesperson from Sanctuary Housing said: “We have completed a number of major works to Mr Gould’s home but the nature of the investigative surveys and the complexity of the work required has meant the process has taken much longer than first anticipated.
“We are sorry for the time it has taken to resolve the issues identified and for the length of time the family have stayed in temporary accommodation as a result.
“We have previously offered the family the option to move to a self-catering apartment while the works continue but have accommodated their request to remain at the hotel.
"We expect the family to be able to return home within the next fortnight.”
Marcus said that the family chose to not move to a self-catered apartment because there was no guarantee that it would be Covid clean and safe like the hotel room.
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