A WIRRAL mum and her disabled son are living like "squatters" in their home after essential maintenance work came to a standstill.

Julie Riding, from Leasowe, is forced to sleep on an old mattress in her living room while she waits for her landlords to carry out vital repairs.

And shockingly, workers have even placed a sign in her front window declaring the house a building site and recommending that visitors wear safety hats.

Julie was told almost four years ago that her three-bedroom house was subsiding and needed immediate attention.

However when her landlords Leasowe Community Homes (LCH) arranged for the work to be done earlier this year, builders were delayed – after finding asbestos in the house.

And Julie and 20-year-old Josh, who has Cerebral Palsy, were made to live in the asbestos-ridden house while a specialist team came in to treat it.

The pair were then told to pack up all their belongings - including a couch and Julie’s bed - so that repair work could begin.

Julie, 46, said: "We have been living like this for five weeks and I just feel like Leasowe Community Homes are laughing at us.

"When the builders told us there was asbestos in the house, I couldn’t believe it. And we were expected to keep living here knowing it was dangerous for our health.

"We then faced more waiting while that got sorted and when it was finally time for repairs to take place, there was more confusion.

"As one job starts to get done, another crack appears so the insurers have to be informed before it can be fixed and it is an on-going battle to get answers.

"I usually have such a beautiful home and I just feel dirty with the dust coming down all the time.

"Josh and I wake up almost every night and find ourselves coughing for about an hour because of the amount of dust.

"Alternative accommodation was never given to us as a real option because of my son's specific needs and we were under the impression that the work wouldn’t take that long anyway."

Julie now faces more uncertainty as to when work will start again.

She added: "Every time I speak to LCH, I am given the run-around. There seems to be a serious lack of communication between the surveyors, builders and decorators.

"We just want our home back but it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon."

Mary Quigg, managing director of Leasowe Community Homes, said: "We completely understand and respect the reasons why our tenant chose to remain in her own home while these essential repairs are carried out.

"We are doing everything we possibly can to minimise any inconvenience but, due to unforeseen circumstances, the work required is taking longer than any of us anticipated.

2One of the reasons for this is that asbestos was detected in the bedroom ceiling when pre-works testing was carried out. This, in itself, is not unusual for properties built prior to 2000. Ms Riding was informed that we were to seal the rooms affected, remove the asbestos, and carry out a series of subsequent tests to confirm that all material had been removed.

"This was completed, following all health and safety guidelines and, at no point, did it pose any hazard to anyone living or working in the property.

"All remaining works are scheduled to be completed within the next few weeks, when we sincerely hope that the improvements made will make a significant long-term difference to our tenant and her son."