An Edinburgh mum of three has slammed the city council for forcing her young family to stay in an ‘unlivable’ sodden flat for months with the walls covered in mould.
Stacey McNeill, 28, has seen her two bedroom flat of six years deteriorate into an alarming state with black walls, rotten window sills and saturated ceilings.
She shares the 13th floor flat in Muirhouse with husband Jai, 28, daughter Amy, seven and sons Jai, four, and Olly, one.
It is not an environment she feels is appropriate to bring up her young family with two of her children being taken ill in hospital as a result of the damp conditions.
Stacey said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. My eldest son has been in hospital twice and looks like he has asthma, which we’ll find out when he turns five.
“My youngest was also rushed into hospital with breathing problems and it turned out he had a chest infection. My mum has said previously that she has smelt the damp on our clothes. It’s so embarrassing.
“We’ve been treated terribly and it’s simply not acceptable.”
Initial attempts to fix the problem proved unsuccessful in September with the walls and ceilings in the living room and bedrooms turning black again within a couple of weeks.
“We swapped rooms with my eldest son and daughter because one of the bedrooms is that bad,” said Stacey.
“The bedroom has damp all over the walls and ceilings in the bedroom. It’s also in the corner of the living room too. It’s crazy that the council thinks this is suitable for children.”
Stacey has previously been told drying clothes inside the flat could be a factor behind the problems endured. But she says the balcony of the flat is infested with pigeons, leaving her with no alternative.
It took the council until last week to relocate the family while the council attempts to find a long term solution to the problem that has been ongoing for a number of years.
She said the situation has put a strain on her relationship with husband Jai, who works at Sainsbury’s, but both have vowed never to return to the “disgusting” flat, even if the problem is rectified.
She said: “Nine times out of ten Jai would sleep on the sofa. He has bad asthma and cannot stand to sleep in there.
“It has caused arguments between us and I’ve suffered from depression. We’ve had to buy more furniture and clothes that have been ruined. It is unlivable in that flat now and it has been for the past five months. We have no idea how long it will take to fix but we don’t want to go back there. I refuse take my children back there.”
Stacey said she will continue bidding on three bedroom council properties despite having no joy for the past year.
Cllr Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, said: “We have taken action to resolve the problems of dampness and condensation in the flat. This initial work was not entirely successful. We have rehoused the family while further work is undertaken to find a permanent solution to the problem. We’ll continue to support the family and sympathetically consider any requests for assistance they have.”