I am a mum of five from Blackpool living in a house with mould so bad you can taste it

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I’ve been through three cots for the baby’.

A landlord has been served a hazard awareness notice after a Blackpool home was found to have mould ‘so bad you can taste it’.

Mum of five Jade and her family are all confined to living in one room of her house in Marton.

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Jade pays £800 a month for her privately rented house. In February, she says, her landlord increased the cost from £625 without notice. On the living room floor there are mattresses for her, her mum, her 15-year-old sister and one-year-old son.

Inside Jade's mould infested home.Inside Jade's mould infested home.
Inside Jade's mould infested home. | The Blackpool Lead

A small bed for her six-year-old daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome and had heart surgery in September, is one of the few sticks of furniture in the house that hasn’t been claimed by the rampant black mould that has taken over her home. 

Sign up for our free newsletters now Even if Jade’s children’s bedrooms weren’t riddled with black mould she still wouldn’t want them climbing up and down the stairs to get to them.

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Her sodden carpets have all been ripped up and sent to the tip and when she stands on the wet steps she says she can feel them buckle, reports The Blackpool Lead’s Antonia Charlesworth,

Jade, 33, said: “The stairs are falling apart. They don’t feel safe at all.

“I’ve been through three cots for the baby. My sofa was soaking wet so I had to throw it out.

Inside Jade's mould infested home.Inside Jade's mould infested home.
Inside Jade's mould infested home. | The Blackpool Lead

“When a big storm came in October-November time that must have been when it damaged the roof.

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“Then come January the mould started appearing. We were scrubbing it but it wasn’t budging. No matter how much we washed it, it just kept coming back.” 

A coordinated effort of cleaning with bleach and mould spray and emptying endless boxes of salt into corners to absorb the damp did little to stop its spread. 

Jade and her mum Angela have been trying to keep the mould in their four bedroom home at bay for months. 

“It’s the whole house. We’re keeping everything in suitcases and plastic boxes to try and preserve clothes.

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“It’s in my kitchen cupboards – I’m wiping them out a ridiculous amount but my food is constantly going mouldy.

“I’ve bought plastic tubs to store cereal which otherwise gets mouldy straight away. I bought a bread bin but if I buy a loaf it still turns mouldy in a day. 

“Sometimes I’ve gone days without eating so that the kids can. I’m throwing so much away and having to rely on tins. If I had the funds I’d be out of here today. I’ve even said to my mum, let’s just live in the bloody car.”  

Jade and Angela’s battle against black mould is one they have been fighting, until now, in silence. It’s taken its toll on their physical health – the family are often sick with coughs and colds – and their mental health too. 

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“My mum won’t go out. The mould has ripped through her immune system and she feels so embarrassed. None of my friends know. I’m embarrassed to say this is how I’m living.

“They ask to come round to see us and how many more excuses can I make?”

Jade says it is difficult for her to leave the house too as she currently has no buggy for her son after his last one became covered in mould from sitting in her hallway.

Her children’s toys have all met the same fate. Brand new ones bought at Christmas have had to go in the bin. Her children currently have one toy each – a plastic steering wheel bought from a charity shop for £2.50 for her son, and her daughter has a dolls house that the family found on the street and fixed up.   Though she’s often felt it, Jade is not alone in her battle with her damp home. In February, analysis of the English Housing Survey by the Institute of Health Equity and Friends of the Earth revealed almost 10m households are living in cold, damp or poorly insulated homes.

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Around 11 per cent of houses in the private rented sector have damp problems compared with four per cent in the social-rented sector and two per cent of owner-occupied homes. But in Blackpool the problem is much worse. Following a request from the government, Blackpool Council provided figures in September that revealed every one of the town’s 18,000 houses in the private rented sector has a damp and mould problem.

One in four were classed as a category 1, a serious threat to health and safety. In the most densely populated areas, this applies to 70 per cent of privately rented properties.  The Blackpool Lead contacted Jade’s landlord but no comment was provided.

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