A Dundee dad says his six-year-old son has been left confused and scared by drug users injecting and defecating in a communal stairwell.
Jake Osborne, 27, says no child should have to witness the depravity which often takes place in the close of their Dundonald Street tenement block.
His son, Logan Hill, stays with him four days per week and has frequently seen addicts in the act as the pair enter and exit.
They have also seen human faeces left, as well as tin foil used for ‘cooking’ heroin and smashed bottles.
‘He’s seen them doing it as we walk past’
Jake, a Covid-19 cleaner at BT’s Bell Street call centre, has lived in the flat for around two and a half years.
He says he’s been promised a secure entrance to the block many times but this has not come to fruition.
He said: “My son is only six so I have to try and explain what they are doing and it’s not easy.
“He’s seen them doing it as we walk past. It’s just not something a child should see.
“I try to get them to leave but they’re usually high as a kite and can be quite aggressive.”
‘Collective agreement’ needed
Mr Osborne rents the flat from Rockford Properties, which does not manage all the units in the block.
Upgrades to communal areas requires permission from all landlords.
Georgia Bedford, a director at Rockford, said: “In regards to this particular block, Rockford have been instrumental in engaging with the police and the council since 2017 to try and get something going.
“In order to get any improvements done, it does require the collective agreement of all the owners.
“Our forms for the door entry system have been with the council for years.
“Sadly, other landlords have refused to engage and there is no legal requirement for them to do so.
“I have taken a personal interest to try and get this over the line but it’s not an easy situation.”
She added she believes it “could be months, rather than weeks” before a security entry is put in place.
Jake added: “The inside of our flat is really nice so we would rather not move. The solution seems fairly simple.
“I know Dundonald Street has had problems for a long time with this kind of thing and many of the flats were given secure entrance ways to solve it.
“I believe we are the only block on the street that still does not have this.”
Council say grants are available to help
It comes as Dundee City Council held a recent meeting with community groups to discuss the wider issue of how to protect private tenants dealing with sub-standard conditions.
Colin Clement, from the Stobswell Forum, said the group has been campaigning for better security and lighting in closes for years.
He said: “A decent safe home is a human right.
“The key is to keep pushing. We are not going away.”
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “Our Private Sector Services Unit provide advice, information and limited financial assistance to owners, landlords and private tenants to enable them to deal with a range of housing-related matters.
“There is limited Private Sector Housing Grant (PSHG) funding available to assist homeowners with improvement works in tenement blocks.
“Officers will continue to engage with any residents who are interested in pursuing financial assistance for the installation of a secure door entry or lighting.”