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'My flat is so mouldy it spreads to furniture and clothes and makes my daughter itch'

By Ruby Gregory & Graeme Murray

A mum claims she is living in a flat so mouldy her children can't play with toys on the floor.

Shauni-Leigh Tyson, her partner and three young children aged 10, seven and three years old have had to suffer the blight of damp issues.

After moving she complained of mould and damp problems which led to wallpaper peeling off the walls.

The 29-year-old from Plaistow, east London has been in temporary accommodation from housing association Local Space since 2014 which is provided by Newham Council.

She also claims they did not have a functioning toilet for six months and silverfish have infested the walls.

But cleaning products and paint have failed to stop the mould and damp coming back and it has now ruined the family's furniture, bedding and clothing.

Mould and damp problems at Shauni-Leigh Tyson’s rented home (MyLondon/BPM Media)

Shauni-Leigh told MyLondon : "I feel like this house has given me OCD because I constantly clean.

"My daughter will get very itchy because I feel I need to clean every room I'm in. I haven't had my family around in years."

She added: "The mould has ruined so much of my furniture and the kid's clothes. I cannot keep anything on the floor - nothing.

"My kids toys can't go on the floor because of the mould, it's crazy. You think, 'what? but you're in your home and you can't have a toy on the floor?'

"I've tried to redecorate, I've redecorated a lot. I've put my own wallpaper up where I can.

"I've tried to make it normal for the kids, I don't want them to think we live in a mouldy house - there's certain things, the toilet doesn't work properly and we don't have our carpet.

"It ends up mouldy underneath, it's just one thing after another."

She admits the damp has caused her clothes to smell and it is impossible to get rid of the unpleasant odour in the wash.

The reality of living in a house full of damp and mould has started to impact her children too.

"I feel like we've been set up to fail, my kids' welfare is really important to me.

"It really got to me when I saw my daughter upset about not having friends over.

Shauni-Leigh has to clean the mould in her flat regularly (MyLondon/BPM Media)
The mum-of-three says her curtains are ruined as a result of the mould (MyLondon/BPM Media)

"I thought they were going to get us out of here, because it's temporary.

"But I don't know. The property is in such bad disrepair, I've been reporting it ever since I moved in."

A number of email were sent to Newham Council and Local Space that detail the state of the flat.

After her partner unexpectantly lost his job, she quickly fell into rent arrears which resulted in Newham Council withdrawing her bidding application, which she was used to bid for properties.

She has not been able to bid for any new properties since and does not know when she will be able to again.

Shauni-Leigh claims. there has been a lack of urgency from the council and Local Space to come out and visit her home for repairs

When they do come, they do not return for a follow-up to check that the repairs are still efficient, she adds.

She said: "There's never any follow-ups, it's not very professional

"Local Space tell me to ring Newham Council and then Newham Council tell me to ring the number on the communal noticeboard so I'm not getting anywhere, you're left feeling confused."

She has lived in the temporary accommodation since 2014 (MyLondon/BPM Media)

She has previously been advised to ventilate the property as much as she can to stop damp from forming but says this is not a permanent fix to the problem

It also causes her daughter's eczema flares up and her asthma worsens.

She added: "It's just draining, I'm always looking for something I need to do or clean, it just doesn't feel healthy. It doesn't feel like I can live my life properly.

"It gives me a lot of anxiety that I don't really need. It's not fair that we have to live like this and that it costs us money. We can't save for nothing."

The mum has recently joined the housing campaign group, London Renters Union.

Newham Council said it is responsible for the day-to-day running of the flat while social housing provider Local Space oversee structural components such as heating.

A spokesperson for Newham Council said: "The safety of all our residents is our primary concern. Previous inspections of the property have not indicated damp, but we are working with Local Space and organising an inspection of the property in the next two weeks.

"We will also reiterate the correct processes for reporting issues with the property and will clarify this Ms Tyson.

"We are working directly with Ms Tyson to provide support with her rent arrears and bidding situation. In Newham the council has 600 - 800 permanent properties available per annum, but over 30,000 people on the housing register.

"That is why it is so important to build more social housing and why the council has a target of building 1,500 genuinely affordable homes by 2026."

Local Space said the council's statement is 'effectively a joint statement' with the housing association.

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