A child’s welfare is at stake according to a Broadbridge Heath mum who is trying to move her young son out of a housing association property.
Laura Merle and Ben Klohs moved into a Saxon Weald flat in Heath Close in November last year but now fear damp, mould, and puddles of water on the floor are affecting the health of their two-year-old son Jacob.
The couple are furious at the housing association for not moving them out, but Saxon Weald argued it has worked very hard to help the family and will continue to do so.
Laura said: “We feel completely helpless. We have to be his voice. He is a two-year-old, he can’t say ‘this is rubbish for me’.
“I feel I’m completely banging my head against a brick wall.”
She added: “At the end of the day a child’s welfare is at stake. There’s no way I’m going to risk losing my son.”
After a series of moves from one Saxon Weald property to another in the last two years they were offered the two-bedroom flat and moved in at the end of November.
But they say they started to notice problems with damp, mould, blown windows, puddles of water forming around the house, and woodlice crawling up the walls.
They also discovered that asbestos had been removed from the property, and said they were told it was still present in the floor tiles under their carpets.
The family have asked to be put into temporary accommodation three times, and while most of their belongings have been put into storage they are still waiting to be moved out.
They have also appealed directly to Horsham District Council and Horsham MP Francis Maude.
Ben explained: “We have tried everything but we do not seem to be getting anywhere.”
A spokesperson for Saxon Weald said: “Members of Saxon Weald’s staff have worked hard to help Miss Merle and her family, and will continue to do so. We very much hope that there will be a satisfactory outcome in the near future.
“Miss Merle has taken her complaint to the Housing Ombudsman, where the case will be considered by an independent adjudicator.”
Laura said it was impossible to shield Jacob from the disruption as he suffered from sleep walking and night terrors on top of his eczema and breathing problems which have been made worse by the damp.
They cannot afford to move out as they are both supported by benefits.
Laura suffers from fibromyalgia and post traumatic stress disorder after she nearly died giving birth to Jacob, while Ben acts as her full-time carer.
Laura added: “We accept they can’t magic something up out of thin air, but I do expect them regardless of cost to put a warm, safe and dry roof over Jacob’s head.”