Mould-infested ‘icy’ flat leaves Portsmouth single mum fearing for health of son

A SINGLE mum fears the health of her son is being put at risk as the beleaguered pair are forced to live in a mould-infested ‘icy’ flat.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 12:50 pm
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 12:52 pm
The mouldy wardrobe
The mouldy wardrobe

Catherine Snowdon, 26, said living in her Cardiff Road property in North End has become a ‘nightmare’ – with the Vivid Homes-owned flat increasingly besmirched by disgusting wet mould that has tripled in size since October last year.

The mum told The News her son cannot sleep in his ‘freezing’ bedroom, while the pair are also forced to wrap up in garments inside the flat – despite ramping up the heating.

Catherine says both her and Stanley, seven, have been constantly feeling unwell with colds over the last few weeks – leading to the boy missing school and the mum facing a fine for his absence.

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The mouldy wardrobe

She said: ‘The mould just started growing and growing and there is now a thick black damp patch that covers the whole of the hallway wall. I get some of it in my bedroom too but I bleach it to keep it away.

‘I had to throw away my wardrobe with clothes and shoes in it because it was totally covered in mould.

‘I have to turn the heating on high day and night as it is so cold in the flat – it’s ice cold in there, especially at nighttime. My son’s room is so bad he can’t sleep in there anymore. He has to sleep in my room.

‘Both of us wear dressing gowns and blankets around the flat and when in bed to stop us getting cold.

‘We’ve both been very ill as a result of this – with both of us constantly having colds. My son has missed school as a result and I’m now due to be fined as his attendance is 83 per cent, which is below what it should be. He loves school but has just been ill.’

The besieged mum said she had been in contact with Vivid, who took ‘nearly three months’ to arrange putting up scaffolding so they could access the roof – which is thought to be the source of the problem.

But progress was halted after the company explained they needed access to a neighbouring property.

Catherine said: ‘They really need to pull their finger out. It shouldn’t take nearly three months to put some scaffolding up. Now they’re waiting on getting hold of a neighbour who they’ve written to. Why don't they just call them or knock on the door?’

The mum of one revealed she was in rent arrears of £600 after falling behind with payments when she was forced to go onto benefits because she was becoming too unwell to work. She fears this is being used against her by Vivid.

‘They keep telling me I have to pay my rent arrears when I get in touch with them,’ she said. ‘I want to pay what I owe but I’m spending all my spare money on paying gas and electricity to heat the property.’

She added: ‘It’s a nightmare. We both have bad coughs and chests. I’ve been to the doctor over stress. Something needs to be done quickly.’

Jonathan Cowie, chief operating officer at Vivid said they ‘immediately investigated’ the flat after finding out about it last week, and tried to contact the next door neighbour. 

He said: ‘We have arranged a home visit on her preferred date next week to make sure the mould can be addressed as quickly as possible while we continue our efforts to gain access to the neighbouring property to resolve the damp problem.

‘We recognise the impact mould can cause and take this very seriously and want to ensure it is resolved as quickly as possible.’