‘We’re supposed to just accept it’: Woman and daughter left in council flat with severe damp and mould for more than a year

A mother and daughter have been left in a council flat with severe damp and mould for more than a year, causing their health to deteriorate.

Lisa Bird, 49, and Chloe Ashford 21, of Darlington Road, West Norwood, first reported damp and mould in the bedroom of their flat to Lambeth council in January 2023.

Ms Bird said: “A few months after I complained – about April 2023 – the council sent people to come round and do a mould wash.

“They told me the problem was coming from the outside. Within two weeks the mould came back.”

Despite only affecting one room in the flat, Ms Bird said the severity of the damp and mould has had serious effects on her and her daughter’s health.

Ms Bird said the mould was “only getting worse” (Picture: Lisa Bird)

Ms Bird suffers from asthma – a condition known to be linked to damp and mould – and is allergic to dust.

She said: “The bedroom is very small so the bed is surrounded by damp.

“When I was sleeping in the room my asthma was getting worse and it was making my allergies worse, I constantly had itchy eyes.”

Ms Bird said her condition got so bad she had to move out of the room and her daughter moved in.

She said: “We have the window open 24/7 because the smell is so bad. Now my daughter constantly gets soar throats and colds.”

The mould and damp has spread up the side of the bed, causing health issues for the mother and daughter (Picture: Lisa Bird)

Ms Bird moved into the flat 12 years ago and said this was the first time she has faced issues with the property, but the council’s response has left her feeling “frustrated” and “angry”. 

A spokesman for Lambeth council said tackling mould in the 33,000 council properties in the borough was a “priority”.

Ms Bird said: “I just feel angry. It’s disgusting that we’re supposed to just accept it and sleep in this mouldy room.

“The wood floor is ruined, the laminated flooring is coming up. I’m going to have to get it all redone.

“I have made countless complaints. They have offered another mould wash but they know there is an underlying problem. There is no point. 

“I went through the disclaims team and they told me Lambeth offered £400 in compensation. I refused, it won’t cover the amount of repairs needed.”

Ms Bird said she would have to redo the flooring, which has started to peel away from the walls due to damp (Picture: Lisa Bird)

Complaints about damp and mould in social housing have almost tripled in the capital, from 688 in 2021 to 1,925 in 2023, a Freedom of Information request by BBC London revealed. Cases of severe maladministration findings have also increased, from 39 in 2021 to 315 in 2023.

Councils have seen a 10 per cent drop in Government funding across the past 10 years, which has, in part, caused a lack of investment in council-run properties.

A spokesman for Lambeth council said: “We’ve carried out a mould wash at this property, but we understand that additional work may be needed. 

“We’ve ordered a new assessment and a contractor and surveyor will visit the property in the next week to agree, with the resident, what work needs to be done to tackle the mould. 

“We apologise for the inconvenience and frustration this delay has caused to Ms Bird and her daughter.”

Pictured top: From left, Chloe Ashford and Lisa Bird have been complaining about damp and mould in their flat for more than a year (Picture: Lisa Bird)

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