Council Accused of Ignoring Mother’s Plea to Be Rehoused

Her GP says mould in flat responsible for daughter’s breathing problems

Lousie Harris in her mouldy flat
Lousie Harris in her mouldy flat

A mum-of-three fears the “horrific” mould in her flat is affecting her daughters’ and her baby’s breathing.

Louise Harris, 31, says Hammersmith and Fulham Council has “ignored” her requests to move to a new property over the last five years.

She said the mould covers the walls beside her bed, as well as the bathroom and the windows of her home in Fulham Court.

The council’s website says there are “around 3,000 people” on its waiting list for social housing, and that it can take “up to 10 years to be offered a place”.

Ms Harris was told by her GP there is “no doubt” that the mould has given her three-year-old daughter Harriet respiratory problems.

A doctor’s note, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, reads: “There is no doubt that the mould is affecting Harriet’s respiratory health and that this needs to be addressed urgently.”

She also worries about the health of her youngest daughter, aged 11 months.

“My daughter has respiratory problems that get worse in the winter. She has a cough. My eldest has been living in this mould-infested flat for five years and I’m worried it will affect my baby,” Ms Harris said.

“The council have told me I shouldn’t do things like dry clothes in the flat, but where else can I dry them? And they said to not put furniture against my walls. But where else do I put it? It’s a one-bed flat.

“It’s on every single window, the sealant is crumbling, it’s grown into the plastic in the window. It’s horrific.

“All the council say is wipe it down.

“During lockdown I felt like a caged animal, I was stuck in such a small space with three children.”

Mould has built up all over the property
Mould has built up all over the property

An independent surveyor visited the second-floor flat in August, and reported: “The flat is not statutorily overcrowded but a high occupancy will increase the condensation associated mould growth risk and in this case rehousing to a larger property is recommended”.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council was approached for comment.

Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter

October 3, 2020