At just twenty-years old, a constant stream of respiratory infections and trouble breathing isn’t the norm for most people. If it is, it often points to a larger problem. However, the reason behind one UK resident’s struggle with these serious medical conditions wasn’t immediately clear to doctors, but a look back at her flat helped make things a bit clearer.
Less than a year before the young woman became so continually ill, she had made a call to her landlord when she noticed mould forming on the windows of her bedroom. The flat, which she had leased just months before, was often damp, and the tradesman who came to inspect the mould simply gave her directions for managing window condensation instead of looking to see if the ongoing humidity was due to a deeper issue within the flat. Despite the visit, the young woman fell to illness over and over again, with each case becoming progressively worse. It was clear that something was wrong. The trouble? A flat full of mould. She was literally sleeping in mould.
Now, a year later, many have seen the terrifying images in publications like the Times of this woman’s flat. Pictures show mould growing all over a mattress purchased just six months prior, as well as growth in several other locations around the flat. She had been forced to start sleeping on the sofa because simply being in her bed made her symptoms worse.
It wasn’t just the dampness or the trouble breathing that convinced the young woman to say something about the state of her flat. It was the smell. The mould and mildew that formed as a result of the excessive humidity in the flat caused her bedroom to stink. With each month that passed, the smell got worse, until she could no longer handle being in that particular room. In an act of desperation, she sought help from the Canterbury City Council, but getting an inspector to her property meant suffering in the conditions for another three weeks. As a result of the wait, she went directly to the Times with her story. It was that action that prompted the city and the landlord to get moving and fix the flat.
Unfortunately, the woman has suffered long term health effects due to these living conditions. She now battles asthma on a daily basis. Make no mistake, this is a form of personal injury. A landlord has a responsibility to provide safe living environments. Contact your landlord if you believe your living conditions are unsafe. If he or she does not respond within a reasonable timeframe, it’s certainly time to contact an attorney.