Friday, 9 December 2011

Hopeless, helpless and getting Angry.

Last night i called the previous tenant of this property (for the sake of my wrists, we'll call them PT). I know the woman in particular has had some quite serious health problems since living here and i wondered, i had to find out if it could have been related to the mould.

So i explained about the blog post, told her how things were going and asked the all important question...
BSM - "Was there ever any sign of the mould when you lived here?"

PT - "Oh yes, when we moved in there was mould all behind the wood panelling on the stairs. In fact it was in the utility room and the floors in two of the bedrooms actually"

BSM - "So, did you speak to the council about it then? I mean, did they repair it or try to deal with it?"

PT - "Yes, of course. They came out and removed the floor in the two smaller bedrooms, they replaced that. I cant remember whether they fixed the utility room but i guess they must have done. They gave us money for paint too, so we could re paint over the worst of it once we had cleaned it all"

So they knew. The council KNEW before i even moved in that there was an existing mould problem in this house. They have let us live here, let me bring home tiny newborn babies to this place KNOWING that we would be breathing mould. 

I don't think angry and disgusted can even come close to how i feel.
All the headaches, the random unexplained illnesses we have suffered, i put it down to 'one of those things' and thought perhaps we were just unlucky with our health. Not so, it seems. God, we HAVE to get out of here, now, yesterday.

So, having established that yet again there are no suitable properties on the bidding list, i turned to private rentals. I'm not keen, i have had friends who have had some really awful experiences with private landlords but what are my choices? I can't just stay here, sit here on my mouldy sofa waiting for us to get sicker and sicker.

I find a place, it has not only a separate dining room i could have as a temporary bedroom but also a downstairs bathroom AND it is within the max limit for housing benefit (though it is the ONLY one in the county that i can find, thanks for that rental cap Cameron). Great, brilliant, but how do i deal with the deposit? Twitter to the rescue once more, @jaimelicious tells me that some councils do a deposit bond scheme. I have a quick look and lo and behold, they do do it! I'm trying not to get excited, but it does feel like maybe things are lining up a bit.
 Next step, check that the landlord accepts housing benefit, yes, they do (which in itself is nothing short of a miracle). Haha! Ok, then time to phone the council, see if i can get into this bond scheme thing.


That was me, hitting a brick wall.
"I'm sorry, we don't do bonds for people who are already in a council property, because you are secure in your tenancy there and a landlord could make you homeless in six months time. I do appreciate the situation you are in, and i will ask my manager but it's unlikely. I can put you through to Environmental Health though?"*

So, that is it. Environmental health will be in touch before the 23rd. And once again my attempts to lift my family out of this situation are scuppered, squashed, shot down in flames.

What am i supposed to do?


* I am paraphrasing, but this is as close to the actual conversation as i can remember.

Edited to add, after many kind offers of financial donations i have opened a 'fund me' account. Initially i will be trying to raise enough to use as a deposit to get out of here. If there is anything over that, it will be held in the account until i can move and then will be used to buy furniture for myself and the children.
Here is the link thankyou guys xx


  1. UGH i am SO FURIOUS for you. How much is the deposit? Can we try to raise some money for you? There has to be a way out of this.

  2. We can all put together and raise the money for the deposit I am sure there are many of us that will help you. I will do all I can just let me know and I'll help. x

  3. well you are trying your best, i do hope things move faster for you and you get a better home,you canput a donate button on, to raise funds,contact local paper/MP,i would try and hold out for the council, because you would be a secure tennent, can't you get an improvement loan from income support,

  4. Contact your local paper and MP and if HB is paying the rent, I'd let the council know about the state of the place too. Basically, embarrass the people who can get the place fixed.

  5. I am not fully up to date with your story. Have you made a formal complaint to your landlord and got an acknowledgement letter back with details of the complaints process? Here are some ideas of what you can dO if you haven't already.

    1. Revisit your application on the housing register. Black mould is one of the things that bumps you up the priority list. How much was black mould emphasised on your application? Now that you know more about how it effects health you could write a letter asking them to review your priority with the view to them giving you more priority 'points' on grounds of health. List the areas where you have black mould in the house, list your families health complaints, and get a GP supporting letter.

    2. The formal complaint mentioned above is important if it has not been done already. Some landlords are bad. Some landlords are willing to learn from their mistakes. I had problems with our new property for over a year including mould and asbestos and disrepair. We kept writing letters until we got the attention of people at the top: the head of housing and director of the housing association. This was stage two or three of saying no we ate still not satisfied with your response to our complaint. The result after a year or so of misery was over 1000 compensation and a new fence on top of all the repairs and they made changes to their organisation and the way repairs are managed as a result of our complaint. They had only ever paid 200 pounds compensation before so keep at it. For mould we had someone come out and clean it for us and also install moisture extraction vents. We also got advice about ventilation. Try not to overcrowd walls with furniture and keep windows open a crack to allow ventilation through the rooms. Easier with central heating though. What heating do you have? We complained at the results of their energy survey and got central heating installed too. The point is, making noise works. Keep it up. In your case I would make sure you find out the complaints process and go through all the steps until you are talking to the top of the organisation. Use the previous remnant as an example. The landlord did something about her mould problem so why won't they come and clean yours and assess the best solution for ongoing prevention (on our bathroom they tiled a problem wall). Find out their responsibility for caring for the property and quote their own website or leaflet when telling them they are not meeting their responsibility. Good luck! Message me if you have any questions.

  6. Sorry phone made some strange predictive text decisions. I meant tenant not remnant!