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    A mum living in a mouldy flat with her kids and mother fears for her son's health, saying she's on her "last leg."

    Natasha Hodgkinson, 24, has been battling mould issues in her Sydenham flat for five years, despite reporting it to the housing association. She told MyLondon: "My son has been admitted to hospital three times now and he has just been prescribed a stronger inhaler. I'm done with it.

    "I am on my last leg, I am so worried my son is going to pass because of this situation because they are not addressing it. I am starting to feel very depressed. My son was having episodes of a whooping cough and just not being able to breathe."

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    After giving birth to her eldest son, Natasha moved back into the two-bedroom flat with her mother. She recalled how even then it was humid and she reported this to Hyde Housing Association, the landlord.

    Now, she lives in the property with both her sons, Javell, six, and Jayshai, one, as well as her mother. Natasha and the boys share a bunkbed and they all currently sleep in the same bedroom as her mum's room is very damp.

    She said: "It got to a point where my son was having episodes of a whooping cough and just not being able to breathe. An ambulance came and the staff said it is disgustingly humid in here."

    'I've now found rat droppings in [my son's] bed'

    She added: "We've requested they move us and they are not trying to help. My son's asthma has got 20 times worse and I've now found rat droppings in his bed."

    After Natasha sued Hyde for £4,000 earlier this year, they were moved to a hotel so work could be done in the flat and a leak in the bathroom could be fixed. They left the property on March 20, 2023 and returned six weeks later.

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    Natasha claims: "They have literally wiped down the mould and repainted, that's all they've done. We have come back and they have left holes in the back of the kitchen units and the plumbing has not been done. They've also left my ceiling half painted."

    'I stepped on [a rat] in the dark when I was going to the toilet at night'

    She told environmental health said they should not be living in the property. Since their return, her mum's stuff remains tied up in plastic bags to try and stop it from getting ruined due to the condition of her bedroom.

    After spotting the rats, pest control have also attended the flat. Natasha revealed: "I stepped on one in the dark when I was going to the toilet at night. I was so scared."

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    "We've caught about six of them. I'm just so tired, I can't even sleep at night because I'm so scared."

    She is worried that her younger son Jayshai is now also developing a bad cough and wants her family to be moved so that their health does not decline. She added: "They will propose to decant and move us in again in six weeks, I cant be unsettled anymore."

    "It's not fair. It's ruining my livelihood."

    Steve Austin, head of property maintenance said: "I'd like to apologise to our customer for the mould in her home I know how distressing issues with damp and mould are. The work we carried out on our customer's home was completed in March this year.

    "We carried out a mould treatment, and redecorated the living room, bedrooms, hallway, kitchen and bathroom. The heating system was also upgraded.

    "We need to finish off some work in the toilet. We decorated the room, but could not complete a small area.

    "There was a leak from the property above, we were unable to gain access, and have passed to our repairs team. We visited our customer's home this morning to make sure that there were no issues."

    "We carried out further mould treatment on some surfaces, and identified some new issues, which started after we completed the earlier work, which we'll fix as soon as possible."

    A spokesperson for Lewisham Council said: "We have been working closely with this tenant and Hyde Housing to resolve the issues facing this property. We served a formal improvement notice in February 2023 after repair works were not carried out in the required time period and were subsequently informed by the tenant that works were carried out in March 2023.

    "Having been alerted to further issues at the property this month, we will be inspecting the property and work with the tenant and Hyde Housing to ensure these issues are addressed."

    * This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]

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