Mum desperate for help with council flat covered in horrific mould due to constant leaks

A mum is desperate for help after years of living in an “unsafe” council flat that leaks every time it rains.

Zita Toth, of Normanton, West Yorkshire, was forced to illuminate her kitchen and hallway with Christmas lights due to problems with the electrics.

She is also in a constant battle with mould caused by the damp, with it having already returned two weeks after it was last cleared, reports DerbyshireLive.

The 44-year-old feels like she’s in a Catch-22 situation with Derby Homes having allegedly told her they could only redecorate after she’d stripped all the wallpaper.

But then told her only to remove it from walls that are damaged.

They have, however, now fixed her lights but Ms Toth wants to be relocated.

“The ceiling is broken, if it rains outside, water will come in inside the house,” she said.

“Maybe they’ll come back but I don’t know if they will. My son spoke to the supervisor who said they’d call me back but I’ve heard nothing.”

Referring to the redecorating nightmare and whether she should do it herself, she said: “I don’t understand why. I don’t have the money. It’s not right.”

Her son-in-law, who wished to remain anonymous, said a workman was only willing to paint half of one of the affected rooms.

But the family would have to fill any holes where fittings were removed themselves and remove the rest of the wallpaper, he claims.

“I said ‘If I do that, I might as well do the whole job’ so they said they’d speak to their supervisor,” he explained.

“I sent him away because he was only going to paint half of the room. If they had 1 percent of a brain they wouldn’t think of doing that.”

He went on to say there’s 20cm of mould in one area, despite work having been done to clear it, and wants those responsible to come back and do a “proper job”.

Ms Toth, who is originally from Budapest, lives with her daughter, two grandchildren and her son-in-law, and says that they have experienced problems since 2017.

When workers looked around her home, she said they told her that the wall with the most mould needed to be taken down as it was too badly damaged.

She said: “I don’t understand why I don’t get help. I just wish this house was a nice house. The mould has ruined my clothes and I can’t always buy new ones.

“I want a normal life and a nice house because my life here is difficult and I do not get help.”

A spokesperson for Derby Homes said they have been trying to work alongside Ms Toth and Direct Help & Advice (DHA) for over a year.

“We believe that the living conditions inside the flat are the contributing factor to the damp and mould that she has complained about,” they continued.

They said the company had agreed to carry out remedial works and fit a humidstat fan in the kitchen to help with passive ventilation.

The spokesperson said they have made numerous appointments to carry out additional work to the stairwell, lounge and bedrooms since August last year.

But Ms Toth “failed to allow access at the agreed times”, they claimed, though she denies this.

They said an appointment was carried on February 10 to fit the fan – with the intention of returning in the coming days to remove mould and paint affected areas.

However, they said Ms Toth’s son-in-law refused, which she denies.

“We will continue to try and complete the outstanding work but this is conditional on our tenants co-operation,” the spokesperson continued.

They added a member of the Housing Options team is in the process of getting in touch to ensure the tenant understands the Homefinder system as she looks for a new property.

Ms Toth said one worker came over but didn’t actually paint or fix any of the mould.

She claimed a supervisor then informed her someone would come back later “but can’t paint”.

She said she has told the developer she needs notice if they are coming to do any work so she can take time off from her job.

One appointment was arranged in December and she booked three days off, only for Tier 4 restrictions meaning the work had to be cancelled.

“We always let them in, we always talk to them on the phone. Between August and January nobody came from Derby Homes,” she added.