St Albans family living in mould infested council house

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 January 2019

Mould on the walls in the St Albans council house. Picture: Natalie Jones

Mould on the walls in the St Albans council house. Picture: Natalie Jones

Archant

Miserable council flat tenants are battling an infestation of mould which is covering their beds, walls, and belongings.

Mould on the walls in the St Albans council house. Picture: Natalie JonesMould on the walls in the St Albans council house. Picture: Natalie Jones

When Natalie Jones, Alan Stevens and their three children moved into a St Albans council house on Thirlestane, Lemsford Road six months ago they noticed a small amount of mould in a bedroom.

The problem grew from there and black fungus now covers 50 per cent of every wall in the house, soaking the family’s bedsheets with damp and making them feel unwell.

Three-month-old Harley has been hospitalised with bronchitis twice since moving in, 10-year-old Morgan has asthma, six-year-old Rhiannon is disturbed by sleep apnea, and Natalie suffers with post natal depression and anxiety.

Natalie said her doctors advised the family that all of these conditions have been caused by or worsened by the mould.

Mould on the walls in the St Albans council house. Picture: Natalie JonesMould on the walls in the St Albans council house. Picture: Natalie Jones

She has had to throw away the children’s soft toys and belongings when they have been ruined by mould.

Natalie added: “The property is affecting our health. My anxiety and depression has gone through the roof and I haven’t had it this bad in years.”

She feels that St Albans district council (SADC) has not done enough to fix the problem despite her reporting it five months ago.

“The council just aren’t listening and aren’t helping us. I have even contemplated telling the council to shove their tenancy but I can’t do that because I am not making myself and my kids homeless. The kids hate it, they don’t like living here either. It is awful, I have lived in St Albans for 11 years and I have never been so miserable. It is affecting all our lives, it is disgusting, no matter where we go we have to look at mould and wet.”

Head of housing at SADC, Karen Dragovic, said: “We are concerned this family have a major condensation problem at their home and we’ve been working with them to find a solution.

“Our repairs team and a damp contractor carried out inspections shortly after being made aware of the issue and we’ve kept the tenants fully informed of our proposed actions.”

She said SADC has commissioned a number of works such as fan installation, anti-mould wash, and stain block to the ceilings and walls.

She added: “We offered to house the tenants elsewhere for around six days while this extensive work was carried out, but did not reach a satisfactory agreement. We’re now talking to our contractor to see if it is possible to undertake the work while the property is occupied.”

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