A tenant has accused St Albans District Council of neglect, after her home became affected by mould which she says has caused a bacterial chest infection.

Kristal Campbell moved to St Albans with her two young sons late last year.

Both of her children have severe autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) which makes life difficult for them and requires them to have their own space.

At the beginning of May, Kristal came downstairs to find her living room floor 'completely soaked' from a leak in the house.

She claims she was told by the council to 'keep an eye on it'. Eventually the water began to spread across the house, and when the council did send someone they could not find the source of the problem.

By this point a damp socket had begun to fill with mould which would eventually spread.

The damp and mould spread to a plug socketThe damp and mould spread to a plug socket (Image: Kristal Campbell)

Kristal has described this state as being like "living in a ticking time bomb".

Her children have to be kept upstairs for their safety. Due to their ASD - which causes diminished hazard perception - the exposed damp plug socket poses a heightened danger to them.

Kristal has been diagnosed with a bacterial chest infection, which her doctor says is a "direct effect of her living conditions".

The council have said "as a responsible social housing landlord, we tackle damp and mould issues robustly", and have offered to move the family to a hotel temporarily. 

However, Kristal says this is not possible as it would be "extremely difficult" for her children. This is because their condition means they are highly uncomfortable in small spaces, leading to 'stimming'.

"I think it's disgusting the way they expect me to live," she said. 

"My children are confined upstairs, I've missed crucial appointments and I now have a health problem because of their neglect".

In response, Chris Traill, strategic director of community and place delivery for St Albans City and District Council, said: “We have been working along with our repairs contractor to resolve some issues at a tenant’s property.

"A water leak from the tenant’s washing machine has been sorted and work to deal with water damage on the nearby kitchen wall is due to be finished shortly. This has involved stripping, treating and reinstating the affected area.

"An electric socket the tenant was concerned about has been checked and is in full working order with no water damage.

"We offered the tenant alternative accommodation while the work was being carried out because of their health concerns, but this was turned down.

"Our team has engaged with the tenant throughout, keeping them informed of progress, but unfortunately there have been problems gaining access which has caused some delay.

"As a responsible social housing landlord, we tackle damp and mould issues robustly. This includes investigating all reports in a timely manner and carrying out all reasonable repairs and improvements.

“In doing so, we work with our tenants, advising them on how they can avoid condensation by keeping areas well ventilated.”