Lambeth Council Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges

Lambeth Council has pleaded guilty to criminal charges at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court after a mother of three was forced to leave her bedroom due to the mould in her flat.  The tenant, who has been named as Ms Murphy, brought the case when her complaints about her flat were not resolved.

Ms Murphy’s flat began suffering from mould in winter 2009, a few months after she moved in. The council painted over the mould in April 2011 but the problem was not adequately dealt with.

Exposure to mould can result in sever respiratory illness, including pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma.

The tenant’s solicitors, Anthony Gold, obtained an environmental health report that found that Ms Murphy’s ceiling was uninsulated and collecting water which ran down the walls creating mould growth.

Ms Murphy first had to move into her children’s bedroom, and then had to move in to temporary accommodation in July this year while the council started repair work.

The judge described Ms Murphy’s living conditions as ‘intolerable’ and ordered the council on Wednesday last week to complete the work and pay £4,000 in compensation.

Timothy Watt, a partner at Anthony Gold who acted for Ms Murphy, said: “A landlord is only obliged to carry out repairs to a property, not improve the property, despite mould being primarily caused by poor design like this lack of insulation.   Ms Murphy’s only option was to bring a private criminal prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act.”

A spokesperson for Lambeth Living, the arm’s-length management organisation (ALMO) that manages Lambeth’s housing stock, said: “We have apologised to Ms Murphy for the length of time this has taken to resolve.  We did not refuse to undertake the work and agreed it was necessary, but unfortunately some of the work initially undertaken by our contractor was not up to the required standard. We will be taking this up with the contractor responsible and will be making sure the work is completed to the standard we and Ms Murphy expect as soon as possible.”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.