A mum believes her mouldy home has caused her two young daughters to get ill – and a doctor has told them to move out in order for them to get better.
Josie Higgins’s toddlers – Shiylah, 2, and Shenayah, 1 – have both been poorly since July and the worried mum believes it is down to the black mould that was found underneath her floor tiles in her kitchen.
The two tots have both developed coughs and Shenayah has had “really bad breathing” with Josie having to repeatedly take them to see a doctor, reports SomersetLive.
Both have been on a course of antibiotics and now have inhalers and the mum fears they could both end up with life-long asthma.
It was only when the family had to stay in a hotel when the house was repaired that the children’s condition started to improve.
But now the mould has returned and they have started to become ill again, and the family face the prospect of being trapped in the home at Christmas.
A paediatrician has told the mum “we need to move for my daughters to get better” but Josie said it would be a “big upheaval”.
The 30-year-old first discovered there was an issue at her home when her living room walls “started to look wet”.
The house is owned by housing association Live West who assessed the home and at first said that the roof was leaking and needed to be fixed.
But a scaffolding company said otherwise and they could not work out where the water was coming from but noticed the floor in the kitchen – which is situated above the living room – was “soaking wet”.
“It wasn’t until they ripped up the floor to fix the leak that they found the mould, it was literally black underneath all the tiles and the laminate flooring,” said Josie.
“I moved here in May 2019 and I had been here two years before I noticed the wet walls. They think the leak has been going on all that time and we’re only noticing it now.
One-year-old Shenayah has a worrying cough
“The boiler has been serviced since then, so they should have noticed the pressure was down.”
When Live West told Josie that the leak was fixed, she asked them to double-check the rest of the kitchen.
“I told them to rip up the floors and check again, and they found another leak behind the cooker. Then they said they would have to take out the floor,” Josie explained.
After four weeks, the family was allowed to move back into their home – but it didn’t stay dry for long.
“We moved back into the house two Fridays ago and straight away my one-year-old daughter got really bad breathing again.
“Shenayah has to have an operation anyway to have her tear ducts removed, and for ages, I was sure that was causing her cough, but when we went to the hotel her cough went away.
“My older daughter has been on three courses of antibiotics and my youngest has had one, and both my children are on inhalers.
“I had to take my daughters to A&E the other night, their breathing had got that bad.
“When I spoke to the ambulance man he told me he had life-long asthma as the result of living in a mouldy house – I don’t want my daughters to end up like that,” Josie said.
Live West have now offered the family a house in Bristol, which Josie has decided to view.
“The paediatrician has said we need to move for my daughters to get better, but our life is in Bath, so it would be a big upheaval,” Josie said.
Liane Sheppard, director of property services for LiveWest, said: “We are sorry to hear of Josie’s concerns and we are working hard to find a solution.
“After identifying some leaks at the property, our contractor carried out significant repairs, including fitting a new kitchen, and we supported the family by providing temporary accommodation while the work took place.
“While the repairs were completed successfully, we have recently been made aware that a small amount of damp has returned in the hall area of the property and around a light switch.
“A maintenance officer visited this week and we have arranged for our contractor to undertake some more work on Monday to resolve the issue.
“We will ensure this work is completed as soon as possible and are sorry for the inconvenience the family have been caused.
“We did offer Josie and her family some alternative accommodation while we completed this work, but this has been declined.
“We have also been made aware that Josie would like to move home and we have been working hard to identify a suitable property for her and her family.
“We have been able to offer Josie a home in Hanham, which she is interested in but understandably wants to view first.
“This particular property will become vacant on 29 December, and if suitable, we will support Josie and her family with a move during January.”