A HOME plagued by mould has prompted a dad of six from Reading to plead desperately to find a new place for his family to live.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, lives with his wife and six children who are all squeezed into a two-bedroom home in Brackstone Close, Caversham.

While the home was suitable when the couple moved in with their first-born daughter in May 2006, the family has since grown.

The couple share their bedroom with their one year-old boy and 12-week-old daughter. Meanwhile, his daughters aged 17, 14 and seven, have to share a bedroom with their nine-year-old son.

The dad said: “We are bursting at the seams as the family has got bigger and bigger.”

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The family say their living conditions have declined since the winter when the home became afflicted with black mould.

He said: “It’s going to get worse the longer winter goes on. It’s a nightmare because it’s dangerous for the children.

“My baby has been ill since birth. You feel unwell in the house, something needs to be done.”

Reading Chronicle: Black mould at the home in Brackstone Close, Caversham. Credit: UGCBlack mould at the home in Brackstone Close, Caversham. Credit: UGC

The dad has sent evidence of the black mould to Reading Borough Council’s environmental health team and has appealed to the council to assist in finding a bigger home, but says he has struggled using the house-bidding system.

The dad said: “I can only bid on four bedrooms, but none arrive. We don’t get a look in, we have no priority. The council said they’ve moved us up to moderate priority.

“They keep saying to me ‘if you had medical reasons you might get higher priority’.

“I’ve asked for a doctor’s letter and school’s to write in but it doesn’t seem to help the cause, we’re still in a two-bed house which is full of mould. We’re stuck.”

Reading Chronicle: Black mould at the home in Brackstone Close, Caversham. Credit: UGCBlack mould at the home in Brackstone Close, Caversham. Credit: UGC

The family home in Brackstone Close is social housing provided by their landlord One Housing Group.

A Reading Borough Council spokesperson confirmed that its Environmental Health team had investigated the property, and said that issues of disrepair should be dealt with by the landlord in the first instance.

A spokesperson for One Housing revealed that it has been aware of the family’s situation since 2021.

They said: “We became aware that the family were overcrowded in September 2021. We registered them on our Home Connections website (our internal transfer property site) in hopes that they would find a four-bedroom home to accommodate their family.

“It has been several years since a four-bedroom home has become available in Reading due to scarcity of social housing, particularly larger properties.

“In early 2022, we widely publicised to our tenants the importance of reporting damp, mould and condensation and information has been circulated in our resident newsletters and on our website.

“The family recently reported issues of mould to us and our contractors attended and carried out work to remove the mould and offered the family advice on reducing the likelihood of mould in the future.

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“They will return in a month to check if the property is still clear of mould. Unfortunately, mould can occur in bathrooms where humidity is higher and also in properties that are overcrowded.

“We hope that a larger property becomes available for the family soon.”

The council spokesperson confirmed that the family entered its housing needs registry last year. They said: “The family  have been given priority based on their circumstances.

“However social housing is in short supply and the shortage is very acute when it comes to larger sized properties – therefore it could take a considerable amount of time before they can be rehoused through this route.”

The spokesperson added that the family can seek alternative accommodation using the website Homeswapper. Additionally, One Housing has its own home-swapping service called Home Connections.