'My council flat is covered in black mould and it's even on my baby's mattress'
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'My council flat is covered in black mould and it's even on my baby's mattress'

Jun 07, 2024

Swansea Council said air vents and an extractor fan had been provided to try to tackle the mould issue but claimed they were not being used by the tenant

A mum claims black mould is covering parts of her council flat – including her nine-month-old baby's cot mattress. Chloe Wilkinson's baby daughter Gracie has been taken to hospital on more than one occasion with a chesty cough and Chloe fears the two things could be linked although there is no evidence they are at this stage.

A spokesman for Swansea Council said measures had been taken to try to solve the mould issue and said air vents and a fitted extractor fan at the property were not being used. Chloe, 22, claimed she was already having to fork out £40 a week on gas bills alone just to keep her flat warm said and ventilating it let all the heat out and cost her more money.

Chloe claimed she first complained about the mould on June 20 and alleged the council sent someone out who she claimed told her to wipe the wall and paint over it. But when Chloe went to change her daughter Gracie's cot mattress she claimed she noticed a black mould stain. Chloe also claimed mould covered the lower wall and window in her bedroom where Gracie also sleeps and the ceiling and window of the bathroom. Since July Chloe said the problem had worsened and she said she recently complained again to the council. The council said in contrast the issue had only recently been highlighted by the tenant on November 7 and it had since made several attempts to contact the tenant to address the issue. You can get more Swansea news and other story updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletters here.

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Chloe said that in late August she was worried about her baby's daughter chesty cough and took her to A&E. Gracie was diagnosed with a viral infection which went away on its own but more recently on Sunday, November 13, Chloe took Gracie to the out-of-hours clinic at Morriston Hospital once again for a chesty cough which had been bothering her for a week. Gracie was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and almost a fortnight later she is still suffering from the cough.

Despite no proven link between the mould and her daughter's health Chloe said she was worried about it and claimed she was told to keep windows open to ventilate the rooms but said her gas bill was rising as she tried to keep her flat warm. "The room is constantly cold. I saw last week that a two-year-old died of black mould. I wasn't that bothered about it until I saw that," she said. The two-year-old was Awaab Ishak from Rochdale. Following a six-day inquest a coroner ruled that he died, in December 2020, following exposure to untreated mould in his home. Coroner Joanne Kearsley gave a narrative conclusion for Awaab's death with a medical cause of acute airway oedema with severe granulomatous tracheobronchitis due to environmental mould exposure. She told the hearing: "Awaab Ishak died as a result of a severe respiratory condition caused due to prolonged exposure to mould in his home environment. Action to treat and prevent the mould was not taken. His severe respiratory condition led to Awaab going into respiratory arrest."

Chloe said she had lived in the Penlan flat for two years and alleged there had been other issues with the property. Chloe claimed her bath did not drain properly for a year and said while the council had sent people out to fix it the issue was ongoing, forcing her to drain her bath with a mop and bucket after washing Gracie or running herself a bath.

The mother also claimed she had witnessed fights in the communal hallways of the building, which she alleged were sometimes soiled with vomit and urine, and added that she did not always feel safe leaving her flat. Having faced these issues she said she would like her and her daughter to be moved to an alternative property.

On November 24 a spokesman for Swansea Council said: "During our visit today assessments were made on the property, observing that air vents and a fitted extractor fan were not being utilised by the tenant. This means they have no way of effectively dealing with build-ups in condensation. We are continuing to support the tenant with further work to deal with mould present in the property and provided advice on how to deal with condensation. Further discussions were had in terms of fitting additional ventilation equipment to help resolve the issue."

They added that stairwells in the flats were cleaned regularly and added: "We would urge tenants to report any instances of anti-social behaviour so we can take action. In terms of the transfer request this matter is still ongoing."