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Edmonton family in temporary housing blighted by damp and mould

Disabled mother and her three sons say they are suffering from health problems from the damp in their Edmonton flat, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Various areas of damp in Tania's flat
Various areas of damp in Tania’s flat

A disabled mother who fears her family’s health is being put at risk by damp and mould in their temporary accommodation has criticised Enfield Council for failing to move them.

Tania Weiland says water leaks and damp in her Edmonton property could be causing the dizziness, headaches, stomach problems and other symptoms that are affecting her and her three sons.

She also believes asbestos and lead paint are contributing to the health complaints.

Tania has cerebral palsy and one of her sons has asthma. She says the council admitted they were a high-priority case and “should have been moved ages ago” because of the health risks they face.

But despite her attempts to contact the council for the past five weeks, she says she has not had a response to say anyone is dealing with the problems.

Tania said: “I think it’s disgusting, to tell you the truth. They don’t even send you an email. An email would be nice, to say someone is dealing with things and looking into it.

“I’ve had nothing at all, and I’ve been phoning them every single day for five weeks. I have emailed and emailed them.”

Tania said she and her family have been living in the property, which is owned by a private landlord, for around three years.

In response to this story, a council spokesperson blamed Tania’s landlord for “not acting fast or going far enough” and said it would consider “enforcement action”.

Tania said that around a year ago, after she reported damp in the property, it was painted over and a board was put in place under the kitchen sink to cover it. Later, she reported a leak because there was water on the floor in the hallway.

Recently, a leak coming from the kitchen wall underneath the sink led to water entering an area underneath the stairs, where electronics are housed. Tania said there was black mould underneath the sink, and part of the flooring near the wall had started coming up because of the water leaks.

She added: “There is water in the kitchen, hallway, and all the way into the living room. My carpet is damp in the living room, and it smells of damp when you enter the house.

“My eight-year-old is getting headaches, and he’s going for an MRI scan in December. Me and my other children are having stomach problems. I have been getting dizzy as well with headaches.

“My other son is 22, living in a bedroom next door to the kitchen. He is constantly getting headaches, throwing up and having hay fever-type symptoms.”

Tania said her landlord wanted to go through their insurance company to resolve the problems, but she fears it could be months before they pay out.

She said that when she first phoned the council, she was told that because of the health risks she “should have been moved ages ago, put in a hotel or moved to another property”. Instead, she “just got left where she is”.

Despite being told she has a housing officer who is aware of the situation, she said she had not been contacted by them, and the lack of action had begun to affect her mental health.

She said she had phoned the council every day and sent multiple emails, and although officers from the council had come to view the property, nothing had been done.

Branding the situation “ridiculous”, Tania said the council should move her, either permanently or until the problems are fixed. She said she needed to stay in Enfield because of her medical condition and because her son is in his last year of his GCSEs.

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “After bringing issues about the property to our attention, an inspection facilitated by the housing agent took place on 14th November.

“Although the landlord is taking some steps to rectify some of the problems related to damp and mould, the council does not believe they are acting fast or going far enough. We are taking additional steps to address the outstanding issues promptly and efficiently with the agent.

“We will take enforcement action against landlords who do not maintain their properties to acceptable standards. Landlords have an obligation to provide tenants with a safe, decent and warm home and we will hold landlords who ignore their obligations to account.”

Tania’s landlord could not be reached for comment.