A mum-of-seven says she has not been able to wash herself in her home for three years. Christine Bowden says her bathroom is now dangerous to use because her local council has taken so long to remove mould.
Christine, 44, says that water began to leak through the bathroom ceiling when she moved in eight years ago. She shares the property with her partner and six children.
Two of the children also have breathing difficulties. Christine claims that the growing black mould as well as falling tiles have rendered the bathroom ‘completely unsafe’ for use, the Mirror reports.
Christine said that initially, the leaks happened once every couple of months but that since 2019 its been a bi-weekly occurrence. The concerned mother said she has complained about the issue to Hammersmith and Fulham Council “at least 20 times” but claims nothing has been done about it.
She says that by the start of 2020, water was dripping through her ceiling up to four times a week and that she’d measure “two-and-a-half pints of water each time”. Christine claimed that by February things had gotten so bad that “tiles began falling off the wall” and almost hit her on the head, leaving her “terrified” that one of her kids might be seriously injured.
After, this she decided it was too dangerous to continue using the bathroom and the family has been washing at her parent’s home nearby, which she said she’s thankful for as she’d be “stuffed otherwise”. Their bathroom has now been eaten by mould, she said. Luckily, the family’s toilet is in a separate room but they still have to wash their hands in the bathroom sink, which “definitely” worries Christine, she said: “We don’t like using that room because the black mould in there is disgusting.”
Two of Christine’s children — aged two and five — also have breathing difficulties, which can be exacerbated by black mould. She said that her five-year-old’s paediatrician has deemed the bathroom “completely unsafe for his breathing issues” and wrote to the council about the issue. Christine added: “She is disgusted that we have been left in that condition.”
She also claimed that when her twins were born the neonatal nurse was horrified at the family’s living conditions, and also wrote to Hammersmith and Fulham council. The council told MyLondon that while they don’t doubt Christine’s version of events, they have no record of either of these concerns being filed.
The stressful situation has also exacerbated Christine’s anxiety and depression, which she says has been “devastating”. She added: “I’m angry at the council’s lack of responsibility and lack of care.” Christine doesn’t want to be rehoused by the council but simply wants a functioning and safe bathroom that her family can use. “I love where we live and I love the estate we live on,” she said.
The council have apologised for the delay and said they are now working on the repairs.
A spokesperson said: “We unreservedly apologise for the delay in repairing the Bowden family’s home. It is unacceptable for the family to have endured this and we’ve offered them compensation for this delay.
“We have offered Ms Bowden and her family a new property temporarily while works are completed. A full mould wash and all lighting repairs will be finished on 2 February. The works to repair the tiling will start on February 11. We have investigated the cause of this delay with our contractors to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”