‘My healthy son developed severe asthma due to mould-riddled council home’

Shannon Spayne, 28, first found black mould in her one-bed Clarion property in Mitcham, South London in 2019 and even though it was treated and painted over she says it has come back

This image shows how the black mould looked in 2019
This image shows how the black mould looked in 2019

A single mum-of-three claims her healthy son developed severe asthma after he was exposed to toxic black mould in their home.

Shannon Spayne, 28, first discovered black mould in her one-bed Clarion property in Mitcham, South London in 2019.

She says it was treated and painted over by the housing association and claims it grew back six months later.

Shannon says it has infested her living room, kitchen and bathroom, MyLondon reports.

Shannon shares the one-bedroom property with her three children aged six, four and three because the living room is covered in black mould.

She says her youngest son struggled to sleep at night and is often off from school because his asthma keeps him awake.

Shannon Spayne claims her sone has developed severe asthma while living in a home with black mould

Shannon says living in a one-bedroom home with her three children has been challenging

She added that he relies on asthma inhalers, and has prescribed tablets to control his symptoms.

Shannon has been left extremely “angry” after a doctor told her the mould was responsible for her son’s asthma diagnosis.

She said: “He didn’t have asthma before the mould came along, he was a perfectly healthy child but now he is going to be stuck with this for the rest of his life because of his asthma.

“He became part of the high-risk category during the pandemic but before the mould, he would have never been classed as high risk.”

Shannon says her son now relies on medication and inhalers to control his symptoms

She continued: ” All year round it’s bad, but especially during this time of year he’s up all night and his coughing is bad.

“It makes me so angry because had I not removed myself from this property, my son wouldn’t have had these problems. Clarion doesn’t care at all, but they would care if you didn’t pay your rent.”

Shannan says she cannot leave her property because it’s tough to care for her children as a single mum as her oldest son is autistic and has ADHD, and her other son is awaiting further assessment for autism.

Another option was to be transferred under Clarion’s in-house transfer list but she was told her housing association doesn’t have one.

Shannon says living in an overcrowded house is difficult because her autistic son likes a quiet room and a routine but this often clashes with her other children who like to play loudly.

Living in a cramped house is difficult because Shannon’s autistic son likes a quiet room and an established routine, but this often clashes and results in fights with her two youngest who like to play loudly.

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Shannon’s £464-a-month property is also infested with mice that cause havoc in the kitchen and disturb the family while they sleep.

A former legal dispute resulted in Shannon being awarded £400 for new clothes and furniture after the mould destroyed everything, however, she says she never saw the compensation money because Clarion put it towards her rent arrears.

She also claims they accepted “no liability” following legal action.

Shannon has been bidding for a new property under Merton Council for over a year.

She adds: “I’d like to know would they (Clarion) let their son or daughter live in the conditions they let my son and my daughter live in? Would they as a parent, watch their child and grandchildren live in a place like this and not be able to do anything to help them. They just have no heart whatsoever, it’s all about making money.

“Quiet isn’t getting me anywhere. The fact I can now see how it’s impacting my children. No, it’s not happening anymore. My son’s missing out on time on school because he’s up all night with asthma, which he wouldn’t have had if we didn’t live here.”

A Clarion spokesperson said: “We are aware of Ms Spayne’s current situation and that her family needs a larger home. Unfortunately, overcrowding can contribute to increased condensation and subsequently mould growth.

“We have discussed options for the household to move to a larger property that better meet their needs, and following her recent assessment, Ms Spayne is now registered on the local authority’s housing waiting list.

“Our contractors have previously completed works at the property to address the mould. We are sorry the problem has continued and will continue to support Ms Spayne to alleviate the issue while she waits for a larger home to become available.

“We do not have a record of having been contacted regarding mice but we do have contractors managing a pest control programme at the estate and can arrange for them to visit the property.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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