Quadruple amputee living in mouldy house where mushrooms grow around the toilet slams council delays
Danielle Bailey, 24, says she is struggling to raise her baby, one, in such torrid living conditions. The mother-of-one has been living with the mould since the start of this year and Leeds City Council have been slow to respond, she claims. They are now dealing with the mould around her toilet but the supposed "quick job" has taken longer than expected, she says.
She claims this means she has to go to a family member's house every time she needs the toilet. And, while one relative lives nearby, if they are unavailable she has to travel to the next nearest - which she says is 30 minutes away.
Danielle, from Otley, said: "The mould in my house has become so bad, it's a health hazard - especially for my son. I told Leeds City Council about the condition of my bathroom at the start of this year, and they have only just sent someone round to have a look it. In that time, it got so bad mushrooms grew around the toilet - it was horrific."
Danielle had to have all four of her limbs amputated after she contracted meningitis when she was four. She receives disability benefit for her condition, and moved into her council flat three years ago. Life as a quadruple amputee has been a struggle, although Danielle successfully negotiated her way through her early years and became a mum in April last year.
But around eight months after she brought her newborn home, she began to notice a damp smell around her flat. After a while, mould started developing between her bathroom tiles, she claims -which became progressively worse through the winter. She reported the problem to Leeds City Council at the beginning of this year, who only sent a qualified tradesmen round for the first time last month, she says.
During that time, Danielle claims the mould became so bad mushrooms were growing around her toilet and inside her walk-in shower.
Danielle said: "Getting the council to acknowledge my maintenance requests was a nightmare, and they were so slow to respond. Originally someone came and applied a layer of paint to the mouldy areas of my bathroom - but obviously that did nothing to fix the problem. I was then told someone was coming to deal with the mould again, but no one ever came.
"It just got worse and worse and by the end, small mushrooms started to grow around the bathroom. The smell was overbearing."
Leeds City Council finally addressed Danielle's bathroom properly last month, and she was told it would take a few days to replace the tiles and change the toilet. But she claims the work is painfully slow and workmen who have arrived don't seem to know what they're doing.
They have ripped up her bathroom entirely, meaning Danielle is having to make daily trips to her family member's house to use their facilities. Her son's room is also covered wall to wall in black mould, making it unsafe for him to stay in there, she says. The longer the mould is left, the more it will spread to other areas of the flat, but Danielle says she remains at the mercy of the council.
"It's been over two weeks and I still don't have a working bathroom," she said. "People have been coming out with the wrong equipment, and putting tiles in the wrong way - it doesn't really seem like they know what they're doing. Because I'm a quad amputee, I have a special walk in shower where I can wash myself - but with that out of action, I'm having to rely on family.
"It has been a 30-minute journey to use a relative's bathroom, which I've had to do in my wheelchair. My boyfriend has had to come over and push my son in his pram there and back each time - so as you can imagine, it's been a real struggle. I was also left without a toilet for an entire day, with no working alternative.
"The black mould in my son's bedroom is dangerous to us both, but the council seem incapable of doing two things at once - so it's just being left. I'm just praying they'll get their act together soon."
A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: "We are aware of some outstanding repairs at the property following a leak which has now been fixed. We are treating these as a priority and we have scheduled them in with the tenant for completion. The council's housing teams are committed to doing the best possible job on behalf of all tenants across the city, and we always endeavour to address any issues that people might be having with their properties as quickly as we can."