An asylum seeker has claimed that his government accommodation in Whitechapel is “falling apart”.

Mohammed (not his real name) spoke exclusively to the East London Advertiser about the conditions at the four-bedroom house, where five asylum seekers currently live.

He claimed the house has been plagued by rodents, malfunctioning heating, cramped conditions and, until recently, the accommodation did not have a working shower.

Mohammed, who has lived at the Whitechapel accommodation for three months, claimed: “The whole house is falling apart.

“The heating system is very old, it keeps breaking down.

“The gas is always out, we have to constantly contact the accommodation manager so he can give us the credit for the heating meter. It’s always a very small amount so every five days the gas is out again.”

A working shower was only fitted into the accommodation after residents submitted a collective complaint about the conditions they were housed in.

Clearsprings Ready Homes, which owns Mohammed’s accommodation, is one of the companies contracted by the Home Office to provide suitable accommodation for asylum seekers.  

The statement of requirements that sets out the services that must be provided by these accommodation providers says that “the provider shall, as a minimum…provide the effective resolution of service user maintenance issues and complaints”. 


Another concern raised by Mohammed about his current accommodation was a lack of privacy within the house.

He claimed: “Our accommodation is meant to be for a maximum of four people, so one room they’ve split in half so two people can live in it.

“The rooms have very thin walls, so it feels like we are all living together [in one room].

“We can hear each other floor-to-floor as well. There is no privacy, zero.

“I don’t sleep well. I’m not in very good shape. This accommodation is a lot [to deal with].”

Since arriving in the UK a year-and-a-half ago, Mohammed has been housed in four different Clearsprings accommodations across London, as well as a migrant centre in Dover.

Mohammed, who is in his 30s, said that many refugees are too scared to speak out about the poor conditions they experience in government accommodation because they fear this would harm their asylum application.

He said: "I feel like I cannot do anything – I cannot fight the system.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The number of people arriving in the UK who seek asylum and require accommodation has reached record levels, placing unprecedented pressures on the asylum system.  

 “The Home Office and partners identify sites for accommodation and we continue to ensure the accommodation provided is safe, secure, leaves no one destitute and is appropriate for an individual’s needs.”

Clearsprings Ready Homes said: "Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, we treat any complaints of this nature seriously and the health and safety of the people we accommodate is of paramount importance.   

"Our Service Users are able to raise any issues or concerns with Ready Homes staff directly or via the 24/7 Migrant Help hotline.

"We will then investigate the issue and resolve it in line with the requirements of the contract."