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South London family ‘goes through hell and back’ in house with mould ‘that could kill son’

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A vulnerable Brixton family say they are living in fear because they are stuck with “nasty” mould two months after Lambeth Council said it would remove it.

The McManus family alerted the local authority to the fungus at Saxby Road in June – and while a clean and repaint of the walls was carried out the leaks that caused the problems have not been fixed.

Last month the council “refused to put up scaffolding” to reach the site where repairs were needed because the garden was too overgrown. The family of four have told the council they are unable to maintain the green space due to their health conditions.

READ MORE: Holes in the floor, mould on the walls and falling concrete

The family have mental health problems and disabilities which mean they act as carers for each other. They say living in these conditions has been an extra strain on their lives.

There are still growths months after Lambeth council were first told about the problem

The McManuses were moved to Saxby Road in 2018 after their permanent home at Loughborough Park was found to be in disrepair.

This year Lambeth Council attempted to evict them from the temporary accommodation so they would return home, but they ruled this out after the family argued the house was still uninhabitable.

Still sleeping surrounded by spores, this August Adam McManus, 29, was referred to Maudsley Hospital for his mental health, where he was also found to have scarred lung tissue after years of living near damp.

He says he is “angry” and “upset” at the council, who he said has put him in “unhealthy situations which are slowly killing me.”

Recently they were offered a three-bedroom alternative, but Marie says she is determined not to be bullied into accepting the offer over the prospect of overcrowding.

“How do we know they are not going to put us in a third uninhabitable house?” she wondered.

Agnes Carruthers (left), Adam McManus (middle), Christopher McManus (right)

Agnes Carruthers (left), Adam McManus (middle), Christopher McManus (right)

She might have to wait up to three months so she can prove brothers Chris, 31, and Adam are carers for the family, which includes mum and stroke survivor Agnes Carruthers, 66.

Marie is a full-time carer for her mum who has PTSD and suffers seizures. She is hoping she will receive a written report for her brothers next week but there have been delays due to Covid.

She said: “I am getting used to feeling fear for my life. It makes me feel devastated, like I have let my brothers down, but obviously I am the rock of this family.

“If I can’t do anything to help them, I feel worthless to them.”

She also said she was at the point of a mental breakdown and on October 9 it would be three years since they were moved to the mould-ridden house.

“A complete and utter joke,” she said.

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Mould from the walls has infested the cupboards forcing Marie to throw clothes away

“You are this close to killing my brother – Adam McManus is at the hands of death from Lambeth Council.

“Do you not care that this is a vulnerable family, I have myself over 70 medical conditions?

“I might be a sick woman but I am not going to take this any more.”

Chris McManus was equally distraught by the conditions and concerned about his brother.

He said: “It’s an absolute joke, it’s completely disheartening and I’ve lost complete faith in the council. How long is this going to go on for?

“You give them chance after chance and they still act stupid, there’s nothing wrong with this, and nothing wrong with that – I want Lambeth to do their job.”

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Agnes continued: “I’m not feeling very good, they should come do the work, get it over with, and save my son’s life.

“I am very angry with this, that’s both my sons, and daughter, they have been through hell and back.

“I can’t put it into words – if my son dies who’s fault is it going to be?”

Marie’s friend Dawn Pusey, 54, only recently found out just how bad the mould was and was horrified at the conditions the family endures.

She said: “To actually go into the house and see the state of the house – shocking.

“I kept on holding my breath because you know what, no human being should be living in that house – it is bad, so bad, and they need to be out of there right now, it is not fit for anyone, they need to get out.”

Chris has to sleep surrounded by unhealthy spores

Chris has to sleep surrounded by unhealthy spores

When approached by MyLondon, Lambeth Council referred to work they carried out on the property to remove the mould and redecorate. They added further work will be done to fix the guttering.

A Lambeth Council spokesman said: “The council has carried out work in the bathroom of the property to eradicate mould and redecorate.

“The council will carry out further work to fix a fault with the guttering, which will require scaffold to be erected.

“We have made arrangements for this to take place in the coming days once the garden area has been cleared.

“When the external works are completed we will schedule the internal repairs with our resident.

“We do face a significant shortage of available homes, meaning re-housing those in need takes far longer than we would like.

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“In Lambeth more than 30,000 people are on the council’s waiting list for social housing and, every night, the council provides temporary accommodation for over 3,000 homeless families, including more than 5,000 children.

“We are also asking the Government to properly fund local services and meet the desperate need in Lambeth, and elsewhere, for more affordable housing.”

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/south-london-family-goes-through-21537612