Camden's mould and damp department slammed as 'non existant'

Monika Caro was advised by her doctor not to open her mouldy wardrobe

Monika Caro was advised by her doctor not to open her mouldy wardrobe - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

A disabled woman has slammed Camden's record on damp and mould after being left with a "stinking" wardrobe for months.

Monika Caro, who lives in Maresfield Gardens, Swiss Cottage, said her emails have frequently been ignored.

A member of the Swiss Cottage Action Group, Monika said rainwater flooded through the building and into her inbuilt wardrobe in October last year due to poor roof repairs.

Camden Council repaired the roof but large cracks in the ceiling remain inside the wardrobe, which is now black with mould.

Monika Caro's wardrobe has become thick with mould from top to bottom

Following rain water flooding in through a faulty roof repair, Monika Caro's wardrobe has become thick with mould from top to bottom - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

"I have a burning eyes, a runny nose and chesty cough because of the mould and the doctor advised I keep the door shut but the smell is awful."

She became tearful as she added: "I have a box of very precious tapes in there of conversations between my mother and father and an aunt who lived in America. If that box has been damaged and I can't hear my mother's voice again..."

The council suggested she contact the mould and damp department, which it formed in January 2021.

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She sent an email to mouldanddamp@camden.gov.uk, as instructed on April 25, and when she received no reply, sent another on May 11. 

Monika said: "I have heard nothing from them. They refuse to give a telephone number to the damp and mould department when you phone them.

"I've spoken to tenants and residents who who have worse mould than me and they think there's no department at all. They think it's an email you send that nobody answers."

A council spokesperson said: “We apologise for the delay in responding to Ms Caro, this was due to an IT issue that has now been fixed. Our teams have now contacted the resident and a survey and remedial works have been booked in.”

In October last year the Housing Ombudsman's spotlight on damp and mould placed Camden Council as the third worst for damp and mould, after Hammersmith & Fulham and Dominion Housing.

The council paid out the most in compensation – £11,692 between April 2019 and March 2021 – the report added.

A Camden spokesperson said the number of cases "has significantly reduced since 2021, even throughout the winter period which naturally sees an increase".

“At Camden we take damp and mould cases extremely seriously and we take proactive action to help residents.

"All cases are treated as high priority and are dealt with by our dedicated damp and mould team."