East London couple forced to live with 'embarrassing' mould in flat for 9 years

Alysha Sayers sitting in a bedroom
Alysha Sayers has had to live with black mould for nine years -Credit:MyLondon

An East London couple has been battling "embarrassing" mould in their council flat for almost a decade, despite repeated pleas to the local authority for help. Alysha Sayers and her husband first encountered problems in their Dagenham home on Siviter Way back in 2015, just after the property had undergone refurbishment by Barking and Dagenham Council.

The council's renovation of the building blocks in 2015 was initially met with enthusiasm by Alysha and her partner, but the work soon caused problems. Alysha, who works at Pets at Home, spotted ceiling leaks mere months post-renovation and council straight away. She claims that although a contractor was dispatched to take photos, no further action was taken.

Alysha's struggle to resolve the problem has seen mould spread through the bathroom and separate toilet, driving her to despair as she contends with what feels like a losing battle against the council. Expressing her frustration, she said: "It's embarrassing, I cannot have people over because my house is mouldy. And it's black mould, it's really bad for our health. "

She continued: "It's been reported on and off over the last nearly nine years, and every now and again, somebody will come take a picture, have a little look and go, 'Yeah, you've got a leak.' And then we never hear from them again," reports Essex Live.

Alysha claims that despite numerous contacts with the council, they have yet to determine whether the leak originates from the roof or the floors between flats. She described feeling 'frustrated' by the lack of continuity, as each time she reports the issue, a new contractor arrives, unaware of the history.

Alysha believes what could have been a simple fix has now escalated, affecting multiple flats in the building.

The mould problem in her bathroom is so severe that Alysha can't leave anything out without it getting mouldy or damaged by the crumbling ceiling. In a constant battle, Alysha has had to get a special cover for her toothbrush, is careful with towels and flannels. She added: "My towels, face cloths, if they are not immediately put to dry after each use, they go mouldy. I've already had to throw several away."

The most recent attempt to address the issue was when contractors came last December, according to Alysha. They removed all the rotten skirting and pipe housing, but the flat remains in disrepair.

Despite the conditions, Alysha is adamant about staying put, wanting to remain in the home where her husband has lived for 27 years. She insists: "It's a nice block, neighbours are nice and it's perfectly located for both our jobs. I don't want to move. Also, it's expensive and we are very fortunate to be in a council-owned flat, private rent is just completely out of range for us."

In response to Alysha's complaints, Barking and Dagenham Council has pledged to rectify the issues within the coming week. They've also agreed to compensate her and her husband for three years.

They stated: "We can confirm that officers have visited the property in the past week and will be carrying out the necessary works on the flat in the next week. In addition, we have allocated a designated officer who will continue to liaise with Mr Sayers until the problem is resolved. The delays were due to an oversight on the part of a contractor and for this we have apologised to the tenant."

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