By Owen Sheppard
A mum-of-three whose children have asthma and autism say their North Kensington council flat has persistent damp and mould problems that are affecting their health.
Charlotte Healy, 32, claims that housing officers agreed to give her little two-bed flat an intensive “mould treatment” – a long-term fix that would involve cleaning under carpets and behind walls.
Kensington and Chelsea Council booked three nights in a hotel for the family of four while the work on their Westbourne Grove flat was carried out.
But when they came home on November 12, the family was disappointed to find only domestic mould cleaners Flash and Zinsser had been used, and that the air is “still damp”.
Mr Healy, whose boys are aged between six and 16, said: “All they have done is just spray some mould remover and scrub it.
“I had already been doing that… I thought they were going to be doing a mould treatment.
“The boy’s bedroom is still damp and affects their breathing. I have to keep the windows open to ventilate the flat but obviously it’s cold.
“When you’ve got kids with asthma you just can’t have this.
“The treatment was agreed after a lot of pressure was put on the council’s surveyor.”
The council said it does not comment on individual cases, but it is understood that housing officers argue they did the work that was necessary to a satisfactory level.
A council spokesman said: “We fully investigate any issues of mould reported to us, including surveying the cause and extent of the problem, carrying out necessary works and providing professional advice on how residents can prevent it from recurring.
“Everyone deserves to live in a safe, healthy home and we encourage residents to report any issues directly to us so that we can take appropriate action and resolve them as swiftly as possible.”
Ms Healy spoke of what it’s been like to live in the property for the last 10 years.
“The mould gets particularly bad in the boys’ bedroom,” she said.
“It gets all around the windows, on the curtains, and there was mould on their bed bases so I had to get them all new beds.
“You can’t put any furniture against the walls because it gets all over it.
“I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on buying bleach and replacing clothes and furniture over the years because of this. It’s just horrendous and unfair.”
Ms Healy also showed us a letter which the council’s own early help practitioner wrote to the housing department in support of Ms Healy’s request for the mould treatment.
The letter reads: “The current situation with the severe mould in the property is putting the family members at continued risk of their physical and mental health deteriorating. It is also having a detrimental effect on the members of the family in particular [her eldest son] who has a diagnosis of autism.”
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