A mother whose asthmatic son is ‘struggling to breathe’ in their flat because it is covered in black mould feels ‘fobbed off’ by the council and has had to be admitted to hospital due to the stress of the situation.
Aisha Hussain, 31, says her eldest child, Justin, 16, is asthmatic and the thick black mould that’s formed on their living room and bedroom walls has made his condition worse.
Justin has been on prescribed steroids for more than three weeks and is having to use an asthma mask to help him breathe.
The mould appeared on the walls of Ms Hussain’s flat in Harlesden, London, which she shares with her three children Justin, 16, Shay, 13, and Shahroz, two, in November 2021.
She has attempted to use mould remover and has contacted the managers of her property but is ‘slowly giving up’ because there is ‘no help’ being offered to her.
It comes as Housing Secretary Michael Gove warned this morning that ‘tens of thousands’ of homes are likely to be unsafe as he cracks down on landlords in the wake of the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak.
Awaab died from exposure to black mould which made its way into his lungs and even his blood, despite his parents repeatedly raising the issue with their landlords, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.
Ms Hussain has been left terrified in the aftermath of the case. She said: ‘It is stressing me out. I have been to the doctor with high blood pressure and my heart has been out of rhythm because of stress.
Aisha Hussain, 31, said she is ‘giving up’ that the infestation of black mould will ever be fixed
Ms Hussain said she first noticed black mould in the property in November 2021, and it has now spread across the flat
The black mould was first spotted in the family’s living room and has spread to Ms Hussain’s bedroom
Ms Hussain is concerned for the health of her three children, Justin, 16 (right), Shay, 13 (left) and Shahroz, two (right of left image)
Ms Hussain is particularly concerned about the mould after it was confirmed that two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from exposure to black mould in his Rochdale home
‘I’ve heard of a little boy aged two die of this and my baby is two. This mould is at the end of his bed and at the side of the bed where he sleeps.
‘I ring the council every day for help, but nobody seems to be there to help me.
‘I have put in a disrepair claim for condensation and I have lost furniture and clothes due to the stains from the mould.’
Last week Ms Hussain had to be taken to hospital and stayed overnight due to the stress of her situation.
She was admitted to Northwick Park Hospital with breathing problems and heart palpitations on 18 November, and had to be put on a drip to keep her hydrated. She was kept in overnight for observations and was discharged with medication designed to reduce stress levels.
In June 2022, Ms Hussain received a visit from Environmental Health who said the issue was due to condensation.
Ms Hussain said she has been told that there is nothing Brent Council or her landlord can do to address the issue.
She said: ‘I get told to open the windows to ventilate the flat. In my room there are no windows, how can you ventilate a flat that just has three windows?
‘One of my children has severe asthma, it has affected his breathing, he has been on steroids for three to four weeks and is in and out of the asthma mask.’
She said she has never ‘had a place to call home’ as all of her residences since the age of 16 have had problems.
‘I don’t have anywhere else to go and I can’t go to a B&B as they will stick me in one bedroom with me and my three children.
‘I am paying around £2,000 a month for a flat that is unliveable.
‘In October, my case officer said I would get moved, we are in November now and I am still here.’
She added she has had to set up a GoFundMe due to the amount of furniture and clothing her family has had to get rid of because of the mould.
The family has had to get rid of multiple items of furniture and clothing due to the black mould spreading onto them
Aisha Hussain, 31, says her eldest child, Justin, 16, is asthmatic and the thick black mould that’s formed on their living room and bedroom walls has made his condition worse
Last week Ms Hussain had to be taken to hospital and kept on a drip (Pictured: Aisha Hussain and her two year old son Shahroz)
She said: ‘When I go to the council, they fob me off. Every time I go to ring them, my case worker is on annual leave, and my case is not being properly looked at as there is nobody here to look at it.
‘The landlord has come in and given me spray, I have sprayed it down and it makes the mould ten times worse.’
A Brent Council spokesperson said: ‘It is our aim for everyone in Brent to live in a safe and secure home.
‘We take concerns about poor quality or overcrowded private accommodation very seriously and inspect properties quickly whenever problems are raised.
‘As in all situations like this, we have offered the family temporary accommodation and have also served a notice to the landlord to address the safety concerns.
‘The welfare of the family is our upmost priority so we will continue to look for temporary accommodation that meets the family’s needs and work with the landlord to see that any safety concerns are resolved urgently.’
In recent weeks Housing Secretary Michael Gove has launched a crackdown on poor housing conditions by demanding every council and housing authority provide details of how they plan to tackle damp and mould following the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak.
Awaab died in December 2020 in Rochdale due to severe breathing problems caused by mould fungus in his blood and lungs, an inquest was told last week.
His family repeatedly begged for help with a serious problem with black mould from housing officials and doctors, but a ‘communication breakdown’ resulted in the problem never being fixed.
This left Awaab with ‘prolonged’ and ‘chronic’ exposure to the substance in a home that was ‘not fit for human habitation’, the inquest into his death heard.
His parents, Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin, issued a heartbreaking statement saying they ‘shouted as loudly as we could, but nothing changed.’
Since the inquest’s conclusion Mr Gove has written to every English council leader and social housing provider as he warned that deaths like that of two-year-old Awaab Ishak must ‘never be allowed to happen again’.
The housing ombudsman is currently expediting three investigations into the landlord. Richard Blakely said he has been alerted to three ‘high or medium risk’ complaints involving the landlord and has instructed his team ‘to expedite these investigations’.
It follows the sacking of Gareth Swarbrick, the chief executive of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) which was in charge of Awaab’s home, after he flat-out refused to resign despite the inquest’s findings the poor conditions were the direct cause of the toddler’s death.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11466353/Mother-says-asthmatic-son-16-struggling-breathe-black-mould-council-flat.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Mother says asthmatic son, 16, is struggling to breathe due to black mould in their council flat