Mother forced to bring up children in 'diabolical' mould-covered home

Pregnant mother forced to bring up four children in ‘diabolical’ mould-covered home plagued by mice as property managers say the pandemic has made it difficult to move the family to better accommodation

    A pregnant mother has been forced to bring up her four children in a cramped, mould-covered home plagued by rodents.

    Kellie Sullivan says her two-bedroom house, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, barely has enough space for her family to sleep – and is covered in mould caused by severe damp.

    Ms Sullivan – who is pregnant with her fifth child – has received an apology from property manager First Choice Homes, who vowed to help her find somewhere else to live.

    But the firm said the pandemic has made it difficult to find alternative accommodation for Ms Sullivan, her partner Tommy Sanders and their children Carter, five, Taylor, three, Jordan, two, and Madison ten months.

    Kellie Sullivan says her two-bedroom house, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, barely has enough space for her family to sleep – and is covered in mould caused by severe damp. Pictured: Ms Sullivan with her partner Tommy Sanders and their children Carter, five, Taylor, three, Jordan, two, and Madison ten months

    Ms Sullivan has been forced to bring up her four children in a cramped, mould-covered home plagued by rodents (some of the mould, pictured)

    Ms Sullivan said: ‘I’m just at the end of my tether now.

    ‘It’s so overcrowded, we’ve only got one storage space so I’ve got nowhere to put anything, we’ve been living out of bags for four years.

    ‘I can’t find the clothes I’m looking for, it’s chaos 24/7.

    ‘I clean this house constantly because the smell of damp just gets to me otherwise.

    ‘I’m 34 weeks pregnant and they want to induce me in a few weeks which is going to make our living situation even harder.

    ‘I don’t know what else to do – nothing I can do will make it any better.’

    Ms Sullivan has had to throw away  countless pieces of furniture, clothes and carpets that have been ruined by the damp in the house.

    Some items have had to be moved into the garden to stop them causing more problems before they can be disposed of properly.

    She also has to deal with rats in her garden and mice inside her home.

    Her mother used to help her clear the area, but she died suddenly last year leaving Ms Sullivan to take on the burden herself.

    She said she worries most about how the problems are impacting her children – especially her eldest son Carter, five, who is autistic.

    Ms Sullivan – who is pregnant with her fifth child – has received an apology from property manager First Choice Homes, who vowed to help her find somewhere else to live. Pictured: The children’s room

    Ms Sullivan added: ‘I can’t do anything for my kids – it’s about what they need and at the moment none of them are getting what they need.

    ‘I have sensory equipment for Carter but I can’t set it up because there’s no room, he has to share a room with his two brothers so he doesn’t get his own space which makes things really difficult. 

    ‘I slept on the kitchen floor when my daughter was born, because there wasn’t any room in our bedroom for her cot.

    ‘No one’s sleeping properly because if one wakes up everyone’s up, and the kids are all following my son’s behaviour which is another problem.

    ‘My daughter’s been sick after everything she eats lately, she’s having to have blood tests and she’s got acid medication but it’s still happening – I just have to hope it’s not connected to the mice.

    ‘We can’t do anything to make it a safer environment for them, I’m spending £60 a month on cleaning products but it’s just disgusting – no matter how much I clean it just doesn’t help, it’s diabolical.’

    The firm said the pandemic has made it difficult to find alternative accommodation for Ms Sullivan, her partner Tommy Sanders and their children Carter, five, Taylor, three, Jordan, two, and Madison ten months. Pictured: Some of the damp in the house

    Ms Sullivan has now bid on more than 30 nearby houses but has been turned down for all of them.

    She doesn’t want to move too far away so she can keep Carter in the same school, as moving to a new home and a new school could be overwhelming for him.

    Emma Davison, executive director for customer first at First Choice Homes Oldham, said they were working hard to provide a suitable home for the family.

    ‘I really feel for Mrs Sullivan in what must be a difficult situation for her family living in a small home,’ she said.

    ‘She is in the top priority band on our and Oldham Councils housing list for a 4-bedroom home. 

    ‘Unfortunately we have a limited number of homes of this size available at the moment and sadly Mrs Sullivan was unsuccessful in the bids she has made.

    Ms Sullivan has had to throw away countless pieces of furniture, clothes and carpets that have been ruined by the damp in the house. Some items have had to be moved into the garden to stop them causing more problems before they can be disposed of properly. Pictured: The cramped, crowded house

    ‘We try hard to provide people on the waiting list with a suitably-sized home as soon as we can, due to volume of people in Oldham waiting for a home and the Covid-19 pandemic – which means people are not moving as often – this sometime may take longer than we would like.

    ‘We were made aware of the damp and leak issue on 21 February and have an inspector visiting the property on 8 March. We’ve also instructed

    Oldham Council Pest Control to visit the property. They will be visiting on 9 March.

    ‘We can only apologise to Mrs Sullivan and her family.

    ‘We have spoken to her about her situation and our plans to resolve the issues at her current home, and advised her to continue to bid on four-bedroom homes when they become available.’ 

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