Mum and three kids are 'always ill' from living in mould-ridden council home

·4-min read
Mum and three kids are 'always ill' from living in mould-ridden council home
Mum and three kids are 'always ill' from living in mould-ridden council home

The health of a mother and her three children is worsening as a result of living in social housing full of damp and mould, she has said.

The family-of-four from Burnley have lived in the two-bedroom home for four years.

Despite there being issues with mould from the start, the mother said she "was really desperate" for housing so moved in straight away.

The tenant, who asked not to be named, said she has tried to get in contact with the housing association Calico about the ongoing mould and damp, but each time is told it is "just condensation".

The law states a tenant is responsible for making sure that the property remains well ventilated, so she installed a PIV unit to try and resolve the issue but claims it has not helped.

Additionally, the PIV unit is also costing a lot of money to run, especially with the increased cost of electricity bills.

Lancashire Telegraph: Image of mould on wall in Burnley house
Lancashire Telegraph: Image of mould on wall in Burnley house

Image of mould on wall in Burnley house

The mother-of-three said: “It’s horrendous. They should not have people living in houses like this.

"It just feels like because it’s a social landlord you should be grateful despite the awful living conditions.”

Her children, who are aged one, three and four, are "always ill with chest problems and runny noses", and their mother visited her doctor and was advised their health is being impacted by the environment they are living in.

She said the property is an “old fashioned house” with an old boiler that is causing issues with temperature. The bathroom is in the middle of the house so has no window.

The tenant believes there is damp coming from the roof as the bathroom light is always going.

She said: “It’s a fixed unit so I’m not allowed to change the lightbulb.

"I rang them to let them know the light had gone but was told it’s a routine so I would have to wait 21 days for someone to come out and fix it.

“I told them that wasn’t possible because we need to access the bathroom and they said ‘just take an extension lead into the bathroom with a lamp.’ I asked them if they were joking, and they weren’t.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Another image of mould in home
Lancashire Telegraph: Another image of mould in home

Another image of mould in home

She said Calico told her to get rid of excess belongings and move items away from the walls to prevent damp appearing in tight spots, which she followed but has seen no improvements.

Shelter housing charity states condensation can be caused by poor insulation, or faulty heating and ventilation systems which are the responsibility of the landlord.

Therefore, if mould and damp is caused by structural defects the landlord must carry out repairs, however Calico have not resolved the issue yet.

Lancashire Telegraph: Damp on wall
Lancashire Telegraph: Damp on wall

Damp on wall

Additionally, the woman stated the housing association have failed to provide adequate support with other problems too.

She added: “During the heatwave last year, I had just had my youngest, so she was a newborn baby.

“Because you can’t properly open the windows in this house, and because houses here aren’t built for that kind of weather, the temperature on the thermostat was 32 degrees.

"I had the midwife come and say there’s a risk of cot death, it was really bad.”

Calico is a housing association that owns and manages approximately 5,000 homes across Lancashire, providing accommodation for families, individuals, older people and supported housing and services for homeless people.

In response to the matter Paul Lowe, Head of Operations at Calico stated:

"It is in our interest and the customer’s to resolve issues that are raised. In terms of anyone reporting it depends on the individual needs of the person with how quickly an issue is resolved.

"Mould can be caused by many reasons including too much moisture in the air so a property will need inspecting first to identify the cause of the problem.

"With more and more households struggling to pay heating bills, the number of people who understandably avoid opening their windows (to ventilate their homes) and therefore experience condensation and mould has gone up.

"We'd encourage all of our customers in this position to contact us because we have a team who are here help with money worries.*

"We hope they get in touch so we can quickly help them."

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