Can mould in my council home affect my child?
If you live in a council or housing association home suffering from damp and mould, you might be wondering if it’s harmful to your family.
Damp and mould in your home can cause a variety of health issues including asthma, skin rashes, sneezing and even breathing difficulties not just in you, but also in your children.
A recent case of a toddler from Rochdale who had died as a result of ‘mould exposure’ shows that living in a property suffering from mould can in fact be very dangerous.
Mould is more common in homes which suffer from disrepair, such as damaged window frames or leaks.
If your council or housing association landlord is not actioning your requests to complete the necessary repairs, including removing mould, it is completely normal to worry about how this can affect you and your family, on top of causing stress and worry.
Can mould affect my and my children's health?
Yes, mould can most definitely affect your and your children’s health.
The effects of mould are varied but the most common health conditions mould can cause include respiratory and skin problems.
Baby breathing in mould can cause respiratory issues
The symptoms of breathing in mould and allergenic fungi can result in breathing difficulties, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
Furthermore, whilst the evidence is not clear that mould causes asthma, what is clear is that for someone who does have asthma already, mould can, and often does, make symptoms worse.
At the more serious end of the scale, the toxic black mould releases chemicals into the air and can cause a serious asthma attack.
If your baby regularly breathes in mould, that could cause a range of health issues.
Can you get skin conditions from exposure to mould?
Mould can cause an allergic reaction. It usually affects people who already have allergies and are prone to skin breakouts, for example, those who have eczema. However, it can also affect individuals who don’t already suffer from any skin conditions.
Symptoms can include dry, red, cracked skin, rashes, itchiness, and even itchy and watering eyes.
If you see these symptoms manifest in yourself and/or your children, mould can be considered one of the culprits.
Is mould especially bad for children?
There are several groups of people who are more sensitive to the effects of mould, including babies and children.
Children are at a higher risk of developing the respiratory and skin conditions described above with the severity often greater compared to an adult.
Again, whilst the evidence of mould causing asthma is not clear, it should not be ruled out as being impossible.
In fact, there is some evidence of mould causing asthma, especially in children, so there is more than enough to be cautious of it and try to avoid exposure to mould as much as possible.
Signs of mould exposure in toddlers
If your child is living in a home where there is mould and damp and they suffer from any of the following health problems then it is quite likely that the mould is either causing them or making them worse:
- Shortness of breath,
- Blocked or runny nose,
- Scratchy or sore throat,
- Mild fever,
- Pain or pressure behind the face,
- Dry, red or cracked skin,
- Itchiness of skin or eyes.
This list is not exhaustive. If your child is suffering from general cold and flu symptoms, especially if they are reoccurring, mould in your home may be a part of the problem.
If your council or housing association landlord is not responding to your requests to fix the mould problem in your home, you may want to consider making a no win no fee housing disrepair compensation claim.
Our team of no win no fee disrepair solicitors may be able to help you get the mould problem resolved and get you compensated for any pain and suffering by your landlord.
Is all black mould toxic?
There are different types of black mould and not all are toxic. However, there are ones that are not toxic but are allergenic, which can cause severe allergy symptoms. Therefore, any type of black mould can be bad for your and your children’s health and should be removed as soon as possible.
If you have black mould that constantly returns then the cause should be investigated and remedied especially if it is in your home.
It is your landlord’s responsibility to ensure that your home is safe and suitable to live in.
Mouldy flat caused toddler's death
Recently, we have seen the case of a two-year-old Rochdale toddler whose death has been directly linked to large amounts of black mould present in his family home.
The boy and his family lived in a one-bedroom housing estate flat managed by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH).
RBH were initially notified about the damp and mould problem in the flat in 2017 – a year before the boy was born. The boy’s father reportedly made numerous complaints and while some repairs were carried out – including fixing a leak that had led to the development of mould – the mould problem itself had not been resolved.
In 2020, a health visitor was involved and saw for herself the black mould and damp in the kitchen and bathroom of the flat. She reportedly raised her concerns with RBH about the amount of mould, noting that exposure to it can have serious health consequences. The visitor asked for the family’s rehousing request to be prioritised, however, received no response.
In December 2020, the boy began suffering from flu-like symptoms and breathing difficulties which led the parents to take him to a nearby hospital.
A couple of days after the boy’s discharge, his condition worsened. He was found to be in respiratory failure, then cardiac arrest which led to his death.
A post-mortem examination showed swelling of the boy’s airway and throat, as well as fungus in his blood and lungs. Specialists concluded that exposure to fungi was the most plausible reason for the inflammation.
The toddler’s death due to mould in his home shows that in some cases, living in a home with mould and damp can be fatal. Fungal allergens in the air can lead to personal injury.
Our team of experienced No win No fee Housing Disrepair Solicitors can assist you with your claim against your landlord’s negligence. They will be required to complete the repairs and pay you appropriate compensation for any losses and pain suffered.
Mould in baby's room
If there is mould present in your rented flat or house, and especially in your baby’s room, naturally you may be concerned about the consequences of prolonged exposure to mould.
If are struggling to get your landlord to fix the issues in your home and you suspect or worry that your baby may get sick from mould on the walls, contact our solicitors.
We can get the landlord to fix the property and pay compensation for the inconvenience, pain and suffering.
Landlord mould responsibility
Laws on damp and mould in your home are straightforward – the landlord should address any damp and mould issue if it is caused by disrepair in the property or if it is affecting your health and safety. Whatever it is caused by, disrepair is a contentious issue.
The term “disrepair” refers to defects in the structure of the building. This can include damaged window frames, inadequate or failed damp proofing or cracks in the exterior, all of which allow water to seep into the inside of the property. The obligation is set out in S11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and almost certainly in your tenancy agreement.
However, damp and mould caused by condensation (moisture inside the property) is less straightforward as the responsibility can come down to the tenant’s lifestyle, such as drying clothes indoors, cooking and bathing/showering. All of these things release moisture into the atmosphere and it is your responsibility to properly ventilate the property and keep it adequately heated.
Though, there is only so much you can do so some of the responsibility can rest with your landlord.
Contact us if you need legal help and assistance.