Stevenage family ‘scared’ to live in their council house because of mould covering house

  • Rebecca Briffitt showed her mould-ridden home to ITV News Anglia's Graham Stothard

A mother claims her family is scared to live in their own home because the mould is making her child ill. 

Rebecca Briffitt, 29, sleeps with her partner and seven-year-old son, Charlie, in one room in a council flat riddled with damp - despite what she says are repeated appeals for the authority to sort it out.

Mould covers pipes and windows, creeping up walls and across ceilings. Ms Briffitt said she felt keeping the damp at bay was a battle that cannot be won. 

Ms Briffitt said: "I can't watch my little boy being ill, being scared to live in the place that he's living in."

Mould seen on the family's walls Credit: ITV Anglia

“The worst place is our son's bed, it's all over his mattress. And we've had to replace it every six months. 

“It's completely rotten, the wood that the mattress is on.”

Ms Briffitt, who runs her own baking business, even keeps clean clothes in bin bags to try to stop mould spreading to them.

Speaking after an ITV News Anglia report, Stevenage Borough Council, which runs the flat, said work was now being brought forward to deal with the situation. 

Operations director Rob Gregory said: “We're absolutely committed to improving Rebecca's situation.

“I can guarantee that that work is coming forward to improve her security and safety."

He added: “We will work with her to look at how we can further address some of the damp and mould issues.”

Ms Briffitt’s family are not alone with their housing problems.

ITV News has been shining the light on poor housing conditions, with more than 800,000 properties in England having mould and damp problems.

Research conducted by ITV News last year found it costs the NHS £38m a year to treat people living in such conditions.

In some cases mould problems in council flats across the UK have even led to death. 

Awaab Ishak, two, died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mould in the one-bedroom housing association flat where he lived with parents in Rochdale.

The Housing Ombudsman has said all too often tenants are blamed for poor living conditions, calling for a culture change in social housing.

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