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Mum's fury with flat riddled with mould that even grows on her son's clothes - and she's told the rent is going up by £60
12 May 2023, 12:06
Council sends ‘mould wash’ team after being approached by LBC
A mum and her two children are living a council-run property so blighted by mould that she says both her and her six-year-old daughter have been left with "constant coughs".
Anne*, not her real name, used to live in Clapham, but was forced to escape a domestic violence relationship, and "took the first property that was made available" to her in 2020.
"When I first moved in, there was just only patch of mould in my bathroom, above the window...so they sent someone round who came and washed it," she told LBC.
Lambeth Council initially sent out a team to investigate the mould, who painted the patch over, but three years after moving in, the mould remains.
"Gradually, as the years have gone on, it has got worse and worse. This is three years now and this is what I've ended up with," Anne added.
The mould has grown so much in the property that Anne no longer cooks in her kitchen as it "just feels so unhygienic", instead opting to buy cooked food from the shop.
Mould has also started growing on her son's clothes.
A spokesperson for Lambeth Council confirmed a specialist team carried out a mould wash on Tuesday after being contacted by LBC and plans to install dehumidifiers and thermal boarding.
While the continued growth of mould is frustrating for Anne, particularly as she feels let down by Lambeth Council, she is most concerned for her daughter's health.
"Me and my daughter constantly have coughs. The last cough she had she had for about three-and-a-half months...but living at my old place, she never had a cough before that," Anne said.
'It's a kick in the teeth'
Lambeth Council has also told Anne, she says, on a number of occasions, not to dry her clothes indoors, but she says the mould returns "no matter" what she does.
"No matter what I do, whether my windows are open, whether they're closed, whether my heating is on, whether it's off...there is always condensation in this house and there is always mould," she said.
What's worse, Anne says, is that her rent has been increased by £60 per month.
"It's an absolute kick in the teeth. I'm paying for a house that is probably slowly destroying my kids lungs and it doesn't sit right with me, because if I wasn't to pay my rent, they would probably try and kick me out.
"But when it comes to your responsibility as a landlord, you're not doing what you're supposed to be."
A spokesperson for Lambeth Council told LBC: "We have been working with the resident to resolve the issues at this property, but apologise that a solution has not been found.
"We will prioritise ensuring this home is safe and secure for our tenant, a pledge we have committed in relation to all our social housing. Dealing with reports of damp and mould is a key priority for the council."
They confirmed that council officers visited Anne's property to carry out a damp and mould inspection, and plan to "take action to tackle the problems" after being contacted by LBC.
This will include a mould wash, removing the mould identified at the property, as well as "further work to help prevent it reappearing", including the installation of dehumidifiers and thermal boarding.
A spokesperson for the council continued: "Lambeth has more than 33,000 council homes and despite significant cuts in Government funding over more than a decade, we have invested hundreds of millions of pounds in improving our council homes and estates, in line with the Lambeth Housing Standard.
"We have concentrated on improving the day-to-day repairs and maintenance provided to residents, including assigning 10 new firms and a brand new in-house repairs team. We’re committed to continuing these improvements, and acting quickly to resolve problems when they are brought to our attention.
“We take seriously our responsibilities to both tenants and leaseholders. Lambeth Council is currently undertaking a survey of its entire housing stock to proactively identify future repairs programmes. Further, in response to a national trend of rising disrepair claims, is sponsoring a new and independent Disrepair Arbitration Scheme – the first of its kind in the country.
“The scheme aims to ensure disrepair claims are resolved faster and more fairly for our residents."