Woman’s plea after being forced to live in flat with black mould for over a year

After being made homeless, Tamara Mcdonald agreed to move into a council property in April last year. The 40-year-old told of how she had been sleeping in her mother’s living room but had to find alternative accommodation after her mother returned home from hospital after being in a coronavirus coma, the Daily Record reports.

Tamara, who works as a sign fitter, claims she was told that workmen would treat the mould, but alleges that they instead “put wallpaper over the top of it before painting it”.

In pictures shared with the Daily Record, the black fungus can be seen covering the wall surface throughout Tamara’s kitchen. But she claims every room in the property is affected and her calls for help over the last 12 months have gone unanswered.

She said: “It’s shocking that they can let you live in conditions like this. Mould doesn’t just go away – you have to treat it. It’s not just one or two rooms. It’s every single wall.

“I’m diabetic and they know that. But apparently it’s still okay for me to sleep surrounded by this mould. I’ve asked for a move, I’ve asked to swap houses. But I just feel like I’m talking to a brick wall.

“They are meant to be coming to fix it but yet I’m still waiting a year on. I’ve done nothing but complain and argue. I’ve literally had enough. It’s really affecting my mental health.

“I’ve had many inspectors out to view the mould and they all say the same thing: it needs to be stripped back and treated properly.”

Despite getting the keys in April 2021, Tamara claims she had to wait three months before she could properly move in due to other repair work being carried out.

She explained: “I got offered the flat in April last year but I was homeless before and you only get one offer so I had no choice but to take it really. I was sleeping in my mum’s living room.

“She had been in a coma with covid and when she got out of hospital, she couldn’t go up the stairs so she really needed her space back. I couldn’t move into the flat for three months because the house was in such bad condition but I kept a key so I could keep checking in.

“That’s how I know they’ve not treated any of the walls. I said yes to taking this flat because they told me they would fix everything that was wrong with it. But what they’ve done is come out and actually just put wallpaper over the top of the mould instead of treating it.

“They’ve then painted the wallpaper so it takes longer for the mould to come through. It looks all nice – until you rip the wallpaper and you can see it’s still there. It needs to be ripped out and treated but yet here I am a year later and nothing has been done. I just can’t believe that someone signed it off as suitable for someone to live in.”

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “Our Housing team has been engaging with the tenant and continues to do so. Following initial concerns from the tenant, an inspection of the property was carried out in May 2021 and work took place to rectify identified issues.

“After further reports of dampness in the property in April 2022, another inspection was carried out with the council engaging with a specialist dampness contractor to survey the property. This was carried out on the 4th May 2022 with no signs of rising or penetrating dampness found.

“Evidence of condensation was found during this inspection and recommendations were provided to the tenant to help maintain ventilation in the property. A further investigation of plumbing pipework within the kitchen was carried out on the 18th May 2022 and found no issues which required remedial action.

“To assist the tenant with the treatment of the mould-affected areas, the council have agreed to carry out treatment and decoration.”

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