A woman fears she is suffering from “mould poisoning” after her new build energy efficient flat became so damp that her clothes and handbag were covered in black spores.
Gemma Wakefield, 24, began experiencing health problems including chest infections and heavy coughing after mould spread across the walls and windows of her £500-a-month apartment.
Ms Wakefield, who runs a dog grooming business, said: “The spores are all over the windows and round the edges of the front door.
“The worst of it is on the wall in the lounge behind the sofa and it’s starting to get bad on the walls near my bed.”
Ms Wakefield, who moved into the one bedroom property in March last year, first noticed pools of condensation forming around the windows in the early mornings, but did not realise what was to come.
A few months later, as temperatures dropped, ugly black mould spots and spores began appearing in every one of the maisonette’s five rooms.
Ms Wakefield is concerned the condition of her apartment in Kempsey, Worcestershire, could have serious health implications and says she is already feeling the effects.
She said: “Since moving into this house my asthma got really bad and I was close to having a couple of attacks.
“Now I am back on inhalers, and I always have a tight chest and I’m wheezy which is odd for me because I haven’t been like this for so long.
“The doctor said the mould is most likely affecting my health.
“I can’t stop sneezing, my eyes are itchy and I’m very wheezy.
“These are all signs of mould poisoning which is not great.”
When Ms Wakefield reported the issues to Rooftop Housing, she was allegedly told the flat was brand new and had the highest energy rating score.
The problem got so bad that Ms Wakefield’s clothes and even her leather handbag became covered in mould.
She said: “When my handbag and clothes are covered in mould, you know the situation is really bad.
“Everything is getting noticeably worse now because it’s getting colder.”
But Ms Wakefield is not the only one to suffer from the mould
Her boyfriend Zach, 23, who sometimes stays at her flat, has also experienced health problems.
She added: “My boyfriend is very healthy, he goes to the gym and boxes but he is constantly waking up with severe headaches.
“He is fed up with it now.
“We have to keep the windows open all the time, even now in November when it’s freezing to try to sort out the severe damp mould in every room.
“I was shocked when I found my boyfriend’s bag filled with mould.
“Another bag and a hoody were ruined, and my clothes constantly smell damp.”
The housing association hired ventilation experts AirTech to investigate the mould and were told it was caused by builders failing to install trickle vents to help air flow.
But Rooftop Housing insist the flat is “highly efficient” and “very well insulated”.
Lisa Nicholls, executive director of operations at Rooftop Housing Group, said: “Miss Wakefield lives in a newly built home that has an Energy performance rating of band A.
“This rating means it is highly efficient, very well insulated and airtight and therefore ventilation fans must not be turned off.
“If these fans are not used condensation can form and cause black mould to build up.
“We always advise our customers to wipe surfaces where any condensation may build up, ensure that fans are working, and to ventilate during cooking and bathing to reduce the chance of mould.
“We have no reason to believe that there are mould build-ups in any of the other apartments built to the exact design specification on this development.”