A social home built by the council has been taken over by squatters and “left to rot”.

The house at 1b Alders Avenue in Woodford Green sits within Waltham Forest’s borough boundaries and was originally built on council land to be sold for shared ownership.

Despite being ready in October 2015, the property has been empty since.

Squatters have taken advantage and moved into the house at least three times and have been evicted repeatedly by police.

Kara Tsiaperas, who lives nearby, said: “On the land registry there are no sales listed for the house and the council, the housing association and developers all say they do not own it and will not do anything about it.

“All of the neighbourhood has been pressing the councillors for answers for over a year and nothing.

“Police resources are being stretched by calling them about squatters.

“The bottom line is a new house was build as part of a council shared ownership scheme and left to rot for over four years while families sat on a waiting list trying to buy it.”

One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said: “I feel quite vulnerable. While the squatters have not caused me any trouble as yet, you never know what might happen in the future.

“The property is in a bad way, the fence is broken, the back door is broken. It is an awful situation, the house has been left to fall into disrepair and there have been at least three occassions when squatters have moved in and police have attended to evict them.

“It is ridiculous, no one wants to take responsibility for it. And if I had a pound for every time someone knocked on my door enquiring about the house and whether it’s available, I wouldn’t have to live here.

“It is very frustrating for all of the residents, we just want some answers.”

The neighbour said they had repeatedly got in touch with the housing association originally responsible for the house, L&Q, but a spokesman said the company had sold the property and it was therefore no longer its responsibility.

When asked whether the authority could seize the house and bring it up to standard for a family to live in, a spokesman for Waltham Forest Council confirmed the property was not the authority's responsibilty and that all enquiries should be directed to the housing association L&Q.

A spokesman for L&Q said: “This shared ownership property has stood empty for an extended period of time due to land ownership issues between the London Borough of Waltham Forest and the City of London.

“We have done everything we can to resolve the issues including escalating this to senior officials. 

“We are disappointed about the continued delay, which is outside of our control, as we would like to provide an affordable home for a local family.

“In the meantime we have secured the property and are taking legal advice to see if we can let the property while we wait for a resolution."