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Ealing Council pays out £3,000 compensation over mould and damp in home after resident reported leak dozens of times

An Ealing resident and her children who suffered damp in their Ealing Council home and experienced toxic mould in the bathroom for five years has successfully taken legal action against the council and received a £3,000 out of court settlement. 

Beverley McNally and her two daughters Chelsea, 25, and Sophie, 20, were forced to spend half a decade avoiding their bathroom after a faulty extractor fan over time caused danger to their council home.

Ms McNally had lived in her council home since 2000 and until five years had no problems until the bathroom fan started leaking which resulted in a large black circle of mould which formed and went down the wall.

Ms McNally said: “We wouldn’t invite people around because we were so embarrassed. I would try and put people off coming over even though it wasn’t any fault of our own. The house wasn’t comfortable to live in, but we had to stay here. It was really affecting us all.”

The 44-year-old added: “My daughters are both asthmatic. They would run into the bathroom, quickly shower and then leave straight away so they didn’t breathe it in.”

Ms McNally says she reported the issue dozens of times.

She revealed: “I probably reported it over 30 times. I’d call up once, and then again in two weeks’ time. When I still hadn’t heard anything, they’d say they had no evidence that I had ever called. I got so angry that I stopped calling them.”

Eventually when Ms McNally got through to someone the council sent out a contractor to look at the fan but said the couldn’t see where the leak was coming from.

She said: “I was fighting with them for five years, saying my bathroom had gone mouldy, my hallway was damp and wet. It’s getting worse. They would say someone would come to fix it, but then wouldn’t show up, or they would, and the problem wouldn’t be fixed. Sometimes they would send the wrong person altogether, like an electrician would be sent to fix the leak.”

Eventually Ms McNally got so fed up that she decided to take legal action  and in February 2023 contacted Manchester-based Veritas Solicitors.

When EALING.NEWS asked if Ms McNally had sought help from the Housing Ombudsman before contacting them, a spokesperson said: “They cannot comment on events which took place or might have taken place prior to this date. They are not aware of any ombudsman action and cannot help in this regard.”

In November 2023, Ealing Council agreed to pay £3,000 compensation and complete outstanding work in the home within 120 days.

Ms McNally says the work has now been done but she remain cautious if mould will come back. “It was a bit rushed but a lot better than it was. I’m just concerned that the mould will come back.”

Faraz Fazal, a managing partner at Veritas Solicitors said: “Everyone should be able to live in their home without worrying about how it is harming them and their health. Beverely’s experience reflects countless others, with tenants who persistently report issues to landlords seeing no action taken to fix the problem.”

Mr Fazal added: “This case is a reminder to landlords that they have a duty to provide safe homes for their tenants and a reminder to tenants that they deserve to be taken seriously.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an council spokesperson said: “Keeping our tenants safe in their homes is a priority for us. We take all complaints seriously, and we are sorry that this tenant was not given the standard of service they should expect.

“This case has been settled through our repair and legal teams and the outstanding work was completed and the case closed in November 2023. We have learnt several lessons from this case and have worked on improving our repairs service. We recently invested in a full case management solution, Mobysoft’s repairs platform, Repair Sense, and have also appointed a second repairs contractor.”

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