Council tenant forced to bin belongings after mould 'spreads like the plague'

A tenant was forced to throw away dozens of possessions and seek medical support after a council failed to tackle mould for 18 months.

Suzanne Addams, who suffers from various health issues, has lived at Fox Hill Crescent in Sheffield for four years but black and green mould which has spread “like the plague” across the carpets, walls, ceilings and her belongings in recent years has made her home uninhabitable.

Wardrobes, clothes, shoes, picture frames and bedside tables have had to be binned while she has battled with the council, her landlord, to take action.

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She said: “It’s driving me mad. I have never, ever lived in a property like this in my life. It’s awful. It’s a shame because they are nice flats and they are being ruined by that. It’s going on all of my possessions which I’ve built up over 34 years and I’m having to save up to buy other things. All of my clothes smell of mould. I just don’t know when it’s going to end.

Suzanne Addams said the mould 'spread like the plague'Suzanne Addams said the mould 'spread like the plague'
Suzanne Addams said the mould 'spread like the plague'

“I’m so fed up with this situation I just need to get out of it. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. They are not taking anything seriously at all. The next route would be a solicitor. I’m at my wits end, I’m just stuck.”

Despite a letter from her doctor asking the council to resolve the issue in December for the sake of her physical and mental health and support from her MP, the council has still not resolved the problem.

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Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “My team and I have been assisting Suzanne in contacting the council about significant issues in her home since the start of this year.

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Suzanne's home in Fox Hill CrescentSuzanne's home in Fox Hill Crescent
Suzanne's home in Fox Hill Crescent

The issues that Suzanne has reported are extremely distressing. Council housing suffers from scandalous under resourcing from Government however Sheffield Council must prioritise ensuring people can live in healthy homes, free from damp and mould.”

Suzanne said she had often been messed around on the rare occasions she managed to get through to the council.

Incidents include visiting council offices in the city centre to register complaints only to be given a compliments form, workmen turning up at the wrong time and the council saying an electric air flow machine needed to be set up and running around the clock at her expense.

The situation is so bad Suzanne is trying to move out altogether but she is struggling to find a suitable alternative even after 20 years on the housing waiting list.

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Tom Smith, director of direct services at the council, said: “We apologise for the delays to the work needed at this property. A survey has been carried out by our specialist damp contractor and based on this we are working with the tenant to find a solution they are happy with. Once agreed, we will carry out the necessary work as soon as possible.”

Suzanne said she is seeking compensation for the damage and disruption caused.