Housing Association Liable for Tenant's Illness after Exposure to Black Mould

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A 32-year old Somerset man who feared he was suffering from a heart defect has been awarded £2,750 following a successful claim against Knightstone Housing Association.

Jody Winter, a self-employed car valeter, received the payout after national law firm Simpson Millar LLP took on his case and successfully proved the breathlessness he had suffered from was the direct result of black mould at his Street home.

Jody Winter – Black Mould case

Jody, his wife and three children moved into the brand new housing association property in January 2009 but, by October of that year, black mould was already forming around the upstairs windows.

“I was very worried and contacted Knightstone who told me to wash the affected areas with bleach, which I did,” says Jody. “Unfortunately, the mould did not go away. The walls and ceiling were clearly damp but the housing association insisted that it was our fault for not properly ventilating the house. I tried to argue that the house came with a heat circulation system and so there should be no need to open windows to let in freezing cold air to prevent condensation.”

Christmas present ruined by black mouldBy Christmas, the mould had spread to the walls and ceiling of the three bedroom house.

“It was awful. Everything was getting spoiled by damp and mould, from clothes to bedding. You can imagine the children’s disappointment when we discovered the Christmas presents we’d hidden in the back of our wardrobe were completely ruined,” says Jody.

The mould persisted and Jody started to experience shortness of breath. A keen football player, he found himself unable to compete. Meanwhile, Knightstone continued to claim that the mould was harmless.

“I started to get really worried. I’ve always been sporty so to get out of breath just by walking upstairs set alarm bells ringing. I began to experience chest pain and my doctor sent me for a series of scans and tests at the hospital. It was quite an ordeal and put a lot of strain on me and my family,” says Jody.

Tests revealed Jody’s breathing difficulties had nothing to do with his heart but were caused by the detrimental impact of the mould.

“The whole thing was very draining. The house was a mess and my health was suffering,” he says.

Eventually Knightstone sent inspectors to take a proper look at the heat circulation system. Findings revealed the system has been incorrectly installed.

Jody added: “By this time our home had become virtually uninhabitable. I managed to secure £6,500 to cover damage to my property and have the house cleaned and redecorated. However, they would still not accept that my health had suffered. That was the worst thing of all.”

Jody contacted Simpson Millar LLP where legal executive, Emma Ginley took on his case. She said: “We arranged for Jody to be seen by a specialist medical consultant who confirmed what he already suspected – that he was suffering from respiratory problems caused by the mould in his home."

"It was a lengthy process and it was a shame that Knightstone maintained its position for so long when any normal person would have acknowledged and rectified the problem straight away. But we never give up on a client and I’m delighted that Jody and his family received the compensation they deserved so that, this year, the kids can have the Christmas presents they dreamed of. My advice to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation is to take action immediately before things go from bad to worse.”


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