Natasha Wardle claims that the mould in her Birmingham council property refuses to go away and has got so bad it spread to her nine month old’s presents
Image: Birmingham Mail)
A mum was horrified to find her baby’s presents caked in mould when she woke up on Christmas Day.
Natasha Wardle wanted to celebrate her nine-month-old Ronnie’s first Christmas only to discover the black damp that has plagued her home had spread to his gifts.
The 28-year-old claims she has been forced to throw away four mouldy wardrobes, rip up soaking wet carpet and replace drawers, beds and wallpaper since living in the Birmingham property.
She says that attempts to clean the spores from her walls and furniture have been unsuccessful, and despite attempts to make the flat a home for her and her baby, the mould just keeps returning, Birmingham Live reports.
The problems recently saw Ms Wardle call Birmingham City Council in ‘floods of tears’ ready to hand back her keys, but she says she was warned the pair would then be homeless.
A spokesman for the council said external work to rectify the damp problem was carried out but their crews were unable to access the inside of the property. They added, though, that work would be carried out soon.
But the mum believes her son’s ‘constant cough’ is a direct result of their living conditions.
“I had a Christmas tree up for my son’s first Christmas and had his presents underneath the tree and when cleaning one day I realised all my sons presents were soaking wet from the damp in the room,” she said.
“My problem is the damp and mould in here, I feel cruel keeping my son in a property where its so damp and mouldy and all of his toys and his wooden toy kitchen all covered in mould have to be thrown away constantly.
“I can’t hand my keys in or I will end up homeless with him, so I’m in a no-win situation.
“I used to just clean it constantly, and it would come back over and over again.
“It’s been really upsetting as I’ve literally had to throw away tons of my furniture and belongings. After paying out time and time again for furniture, it’s leaving me broke.
“I’ve got through about four wardrobes, chest of drawers, beds, carpets, I’ve wallpapered my living room over and over again, and had to have it taken down because it ends up black and wet.
“I paid £400 for a carpet and underlay in my living room and it ended up completely damp so I ripped it up.
“I’ve had lino, then purchased more carpet and they’ve all ended up in the bin. I know people must think I’m crazy to keep replacing things but I’ve just always tried to make it a home.”
“I’ve researched and saw the effects that mould can have on our health and the damp in the air. I don’t want my son to end up with asthma,” she explained.
“I feel like nothing is clean I constantly boil all the cups and plates before I use them because I’m scared there might be mould on them and worry for my son’s health.
“My son is constantly coughing and I believe its down to the mould on the walls.”
She claims she has been ‘palmed off’ from department to department since the problems started two years ago.
“I have called environmental health and they tell me that it’s nothing to do with them, and they’ll put me through to someone else,” she added.
“I’ve called repairs and they say unfortunately it’s not a repair and pass me onto a different department.
“I called recently and I was ready to hand my keys in on the phone I was in floods of tears over it, as I had just had to throw yet another wardrobe away it was caked in mould.
“The man I spoke to told me it was not wise to hand my keys in as me and my son will be homeless so I feel completely trapped here.”
The mother and son are on the bidding list for a two-bedroom property, as they are currently overcrowded in the one-bed flat.
However Ms Wardle was told she was “looking at a six year wait to get moved”.
Council workers have been out, she said, but they have only ‘slapped’ white damp seal paint across the bottom of her walls – over the top of her wallpaper.
“They sent someone else out to paint some see through protective paint on the bricks outside, however the bricks outside are black,” she said.
“They are so damp, and I also get a puddle of water especially on a rainy day under my window in my living room.
“Some of the council men have actually said that this flat is unliveable and it’s disgusting that they have a nine-month-old baby in here and they can actually smell the damp as soon as they come into my property.
“But they can’t do anything about it as they are only obligated to do as they’ve been told.
“It’s really depressing and I’m now suffering with health anxiety and have had to go to the doctors because of it and I think it all stems from being in a mouldy flat.
“No one should have to live like this, damp clothes in my wardrobe constantly, I’ve had to take the back off my sons wardrobe because it was caked in mould and also take the drawer out of my wardrobe because it was mouldy inside.
“I have only just ripped all of my wallpaper off from under my bedroom window, this whole room was decorated only six or seven months ago fresh for Ronnie, and look at the state of it again.”
In response to BirminghamLive, Birmingham city council apologised to Ms Wardle and vowed to complete the “necessary work” to resolve the issues in the New Year 2022.
A spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to hear about Ms Wardle’s experience.
“On 21 October the external brickwork was treated with a waterproof barrier to prevent any water penetrating but the council was unable to access the property to assess the interior situation.
“We will be contacting Ms Wardle, at the earliest possible opportunity, in the new year, to arrange a site meeting with a member of Birmingham City Council’s technical team to ensure the necessary work is completed which should resolve the damp issues.”