Shocking pictures show the appalling state of a family’s home in London, which is covered in black mould and has mushrooms growing out of the walls and ceilings where sewage has leaked through.
The heartbreaking footage comes just a week after a landmark ruling concluded two-year-old Awaab Ishak died after prolonged exposure to mould – three years after his parents had complained about the damp in their one-bedroom housing association flat in Rochdale.
Kwajo Tweneboa, who shared the videos today, claimed this family is going through a ‘similar’ experience and implored Islington Council to do something to address the situation, which he said was raised with them last December.
He said many of the family’s belongings have been destroyed due to ongoing leaks and black mould in the bedrooms, while all remaining items have been stacked in the front room for the last year.
The mother reportedly has to sleep on the sofa in the front room due to the disgusting mould and peeling ceilings in two of the three bedrooms.
Shocking pictures show the appalling state of a family’s home in Islington, London, which is covered in black mould
The mother reportedly has to sleep on the sofa in the front room due to the disgusting mould and peeling ceilings in two of the three bedrooms
Mr Tweneboa continued: ‘Mushrooms now grow from the bacteria where sewage has seeped through the walls and ceilings in the bedroom.
‘The walls of the second bedroom is covered in black mould. In another corner the mould was light and growing fur, indicating two different types of mould in the same bedroom.
‘The tenants have been paying rent for a three bed property. They haven’t had two of the bedrooms for a year.’
Destroyed wardrobes, other pieces of furniture and belongings from the bedrooms are piled up outside the home, where Mr Tweneboa says they have been since January, clearly water damaged.
Gaps in the walls also appear to have been patched up. ‘They’ve had to resort to using foil and tape to try and keep mice out of the property. All these issues they’ve reported.
‘They said communication from Islington Council has been beyond a disgrace.
‘Workmen and ‘surveyors’ have seen it but nothing ever done to fix it.’
Kwajo Tweneboa, who shared the videos today, implored Islington Council to do something to address the situation
Campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa said the tenants have had to resort to using foil and tape to try and keep mice out of the property
An Islington Council spokesperson said: ‘We want everyone to have a home which is secure, decent, and genuinely affordable.
‘The images posted by @KwajoHousing are extremely concerning.
‘We’ve spoken with the tenant today, have offered immediate rehousing, and are discussing permanent rehousing options. We’re also urgently reviewing this repairs case.’
MailOnline has also contacted the area’s MP Emily Thornberry for comment.
This week Michael Gove stripped new funding from the housing organisation which owns the flat where Awaab Ishak died from prolonged exposure to mould in December 2020.
The toddler’s parents repeatedly begged housing officials and medical professionals to help, but no action was taken to treat and prevent the mould – leaving Awaab with ‘prolonged’ and ‘chronic’ exposure to the substance – due to a communication breakdown, the inquest into his death heard.
The heart-breaking footage comes just a week after a landmark ruling concluded two-year-old Awaab Ishak died after prolonged exposure to mould
Why toxic mould is dangerous to health – and more common in rented homes
Mould is an allergen and, if allowed to spread, can become highly toxic and cause severe respiratory infections. Spores can grow on plaster, wood, carpet and even dust.
The problem is worse in tenanted homes, rather than privately owned ones, as these tend to be cheaply built with thin walls and are prone to condensation.
Much rental stock is old and not built to current housing regulations, and properties tend to be less well looked after by landlords than owner-occupied homes.
Around 40 per cent of rental homes are susceptible to mould, according to homeless charity Shelter.
Their data shows that approximately 4.7 million private renters have battled mould issues at their homes in the past year.
The social housing ombudsman has received 3,350 complaints about damp, mould and leaks in 2022 – almost double the number reported in 2020.
The Government on Thursday said Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), which owned the flat, will not be given its expected £1 million funding from the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) or receive any new AHP contracts for new homes, until the Regulator of Social Housing has finished its investigation and RBH can prove it is a responsible landlord.
Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Mr Gove announced that every council and housing authority must provide details of how they plan to tackle damp and mould in their properties.
He wrote to every English council leader and social housing provider to warn that deaths like that of two-year-old Awaab’s must ‘never be allowed to happen again’.
He has said he fears that tens of thousands of British homes were unsafe because they are not being properly maintained.
Mr Gove said in a statement: ‘RBH failed its tenants so it will not receive a penny of additional taxpayers’ money for new housing until it gets its act together and does right by tenants.
‘Let this be a warning to other housing providers who are ignoring complaints and failing in their obligations to tenants. We will not hesitate to act.
‘Everyone deserves the right to live in safe, decent home and this Government will always act to protect tenants.’
The Government says it will continue to monitor housing standards of RBH tenancies closely, working with the regulator and ombudsman, to ensure that tenants have appropriate housing, the statement added.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Gove added: ‘I fear it’s the case that there are tens of thousands of properties that are not in the state that they should be.’
‘We know there are a significant number of properties – some of which were built in the 60s and 70s and are in poor conditions, but some of which have been poorly maintained – that simply need to be properly repaired and properly maintained.’
As part of a wider crackdown on poor standards, Mr Gove will block any housing provider that breaches the regulator’s consumer standards from new AHP funding until they make improvements.
He will also consider stripping providers of existing AHP funding, unless construction has already started on site, his statement added.
Gareth Swarbrick, chief executive of the family’s housing association Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, was sacked by his own board last week after refusing to resign
Last Saturday, Gareth Swarbrick was removed as chief executive of RBH after pressure from campaigner’s over the findings around Awaab’s death.
The two-year-old’s family repeatedly begged for help from housing officials and doctors to improve the condition of their flat but the serious black mould problem was not fixed.
This left Awaab with ‘prolonged’ and ‘chronic’ exposure to the substance in a home that was ‘not fit for human habitation’.
In her ruling, Senior Coronor Joanne Kearsley found ventilation at the home was ‘not effective’, and criticised RBH for blaming the family – insisting there was ‘no evidence that the ways of living by the family were in any way excessive’.
As she delivered her damning verdict, she told the inquest: ‘I’m sure I’m not alone in having thought, ‘How does this happen? How, in the UK in 2020, does a two-year-old child die from exposure to mould in his home?’.
‘The tragic death of Awaab will and should be a defining moment for the housing sector in terms of increasing knowledge, increasing awareness and a deepening of understanding surrounding the issue of damp and mould.’
His parents, Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin, issued a heartbreaking statement saying they ‘shouted as loudly as we could, but nothing changed.’
Senior coroner Joanne Kearsley argues the death of a toddler who suffered prolonged exposure to mould should be a ‘defining moment’ for the housing sector
Originally from Sudan, they believed their treatment, after repeatedly complaining about the mould, was shaped by them not being from the UK.
The inquest heard how RBH workers assumed the family were carrying out ‘ritual bathing’ involving a ‘bucket’ which was leading to excess water on the bathroom floor.
But workers never asked the family directly about this, and Mr Abdullah told the court his family showered, and such ‘rituals’ were not in his family’s ‘culture’.
In a statement on Tuesday, RBH said: ‘We did make assumptions about lifestyle and we accept that we got that wrong.
‘We abhor racism in any shape or form and we know that we have a responsibility to all our communities.’
Awaab’s condition was caused by mould in the one-bedroom housing association flat where he lived with parents Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin in Rochdale, Greater Manchester
‘We shouted as loudly as we could, but nothing changed. We were trapped’: Heartbreaking statement from parents who watched their little boy die
Awaab Ishak’s father, Faisal Abdullah issued a statement following the verdict on his son’s death, saying: ‘The past two years have been gruelling.
‘When Awaab died, our lives changed forever. Today, two years on, the coroner has found that our little boy’s prolonged exposure to mould led entirely to his death.
‘We still cannot get our head around the fact that despite all of the complaints we made to RBH, in addition to the information RBH received from an NHS member of staff expressing their concern for Awaab due to mould at the property, RBH did absolutely nothing to rectify the severe mould in our property.
‘We cannot tell you how many health professionals we’ve cried in front and RBH staff we have pleaded to expressing concern for the conditions ourselves and Awaab have been living in. We shouted out as loudly as we could, but despite making all of those efforts, every night we would be coming back to the same problem. Nothing was changing.
‘We felt like we weren’t getting anywhere, and we weren’t. Often our calls weren’t even answered. We don’t feel RBH actually cared about us.
‘Awaab’s coughing fits would sometimes last two to three days. There were days we wouldn’t be able to take Awaab out of the house because of how bad his coughing was – but of course by him staying in the house, this made his coughing worse. We were absolutely trapped.
‘Living in these conditions affected every aspect of our lives. We didn’t feel at peace with ourselves when in the property. All the time we felt troubled.
‘We were anxious and fearful of what the mould was doing to Awaab. Whenever friends would come to visit, they would tell us that the conditions RBH were keeping us in ‘were not right’.
‘We have no doubt at all that we were treated this way because we are not from the country and less aware of how the systems in the UK work. RBH we have a message for you – stop discriminating, stop being racist, stop providing unfair treatment to people coming from abroad who are refugees or asylum seekers, stop housing people in homes you know are unfit for human habitation. We were left feeling absolutely worthless at the hands of RBH.
‘If RBH ever come across similar issues again – we hope they deal with it in a more humane, efficient, professional way than how they behaved with us.
‘We want to end by telling you who our beautiful Awaab was. He was always full of smiles, he liked to joke and was full of life and laughter. He used to enjoy playing on his bike and with his ball. He always wanted to be with us. His absence leaves a huge void.
‘We would like to say a huge thank you for all the advice and support Farleys Solicitors and Christian Weaver of Garden Court North Chambers have given us throughout this difficult process. We would also like to thank HM Senior Coroner for carrying out such a thorough investigation into our son’s death.
‘Our lawyers very kindly worked on our case with no guarantee of payment. The legal aid agency only confirmed that the lawyers would be paid two days before the case started, despite preparations for the case having been ongoing for months and months. It should never be the case that families in our situation have to go through the inquest process without legal representation – singlehandedly up against multiple lawyers from the very bodies we feel bear responsibility for our child’s death.
‘Were it not for our legal team being so committed to representing us, even without payment, that could very well have been our reality. We fear that the admissions made by RBH in this inquest – such as their acceptance that they did receive the letter sent by the NHS health visitor warning of Awaab’s ill heath, along with the fact that they do accept they should have taken responsibility for the mould in our home may otherwise never have come out.
‘The family would now like to be left to process the findings of this inquest in private for the remainder of today.’
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11474741/Shocking-photos-familys-three-bed-home-mushrooms-SEWAGE-seeping-walls.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Shocking photos of family’s three-bed home with mushrooms and SEWAGE seeping through walls