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Council tells ill Kentish Town woman in mould infested flat ‘it could take years to move you’

PUBLISHED: 12:27 18 June 2013 | UPDATED: 13:17 18 June 2013

Margaret Morahan with her inhaler in the living room she is forced to sleep in. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Margaret Morahan with her inhaler in the living room she is forced to sleep in. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A woman with lung disease has been told she will not be able to move out of her mould-infested council flat for at least another year.

Some of the mould in Ms Morahan's flat. Picture: Nigel SuttonSome of the mould in Ms Morahan's flat. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Margaret Morahan has been forced to sleep in the living room of her flat in Bassett Street, Kentish Town, since July because the large amounts of black mould growing in her bedroom worsen her condition severely.

The 69-year-old has to gasp for air when she speaks and breathes raggedly because she suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Her condition, which was stable before she moved into the one-bedroom council flat in September 2011, has been affected by the mould growing underneath her bedroom radiator and on one of the walls.

If Ms Morahan even stands in the doorway of the room, she can hardly speak and is forced to use her inhaler.

Ms Morahan has slept on the sofa for nearly a year because the mould in her bedroom makes her condition severely worse. Picture: Nigel SuttonMs Morahan has slept on the sofa for nearly a year because the mould in her bedroom makes her condition severely worse. Picture: Nigel Sutton

She has asked the council to move her to a different flat a number of times, but her pleas have not been successful.

Her housing manager told her last week it will be another one or two years until she can move.

Ms Morahan said: “I wish I could get out of here. I have been in and out of hospital since the mould appeared.

“If my children had room for me they would let me stay but they don’t have space. It could be years until I move.”

She has bid unsuccessfully on five flats this year but as she requires a ground floor property and has expressly stated she does not want to move out of the area, the council has struggled to find her a suitable home.

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of Ms Morahan’s housing difficulties and are doing all we can to assist her.

“Unfortunately due to the acute housing shortage, the large number of people in housing need, and Ms Morahan’s specific requirements, it has not yet been possible for her to move to a suitable property.

“Ms Morahan has medical priority for a transfer, and we are aware of the type of property she needs and her area preferences.

“She is likely to achieve a move more quickly if it is possible for her to be more flexible about the areas she will consider.”

But Ms Morahan said: “I’ve been in this area for 55 years. I want to stay around Queen’s Crescent because my family are here, my doctor is here, my hopsital is here.

“I don’t want to leave. But it has become so bad now that I might not care where they put me.”

The pensioner has reported the mould to the council on several occasions since it appeared in her bedroom in January last year.

But the council has informed her that they won’t be able to get rid of the mould while she remains in the flat.

The only offer of housing they have made is a flat in sheltered accommodation, which Ms Morahan has refused to accept.


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