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Mum who wakes up choking and unable to breathe fears mouldy flat could kill her

A mum who wakes up "choking" and "unable to breathe" said she fears mouldy conditions in her flat could kill her.

Stephanie O'Neill, 34, said she was moved from one "mouldy" home to another and claimed she was also hospitalised due to her living conditions.

The woman, who lives in a council-owned property in Aberdeen Street in Winson Green, Birmingham, previously lived in a private house across the street but was moved due to damp and sewage problems.

However, she said the new home is not much better - and claims that the property's issues include asbestos.

She told Birmingham Live : "When I wake up in the morning, it's damp. It's wet from the leaking radiator and ceilings. In the morning, I'm choking, I can't breathe."

Stephanie O'Neill fears the mould may kill her

'Excrement and urine' coming through the roof at the previous property

After the diagnosis of a long-term lung condition, Miss O'Neill's doctor even penned a letter to Birmingham City Council, urging them to "resolve the situation as soon as possible" in her new home.

The council, however, said it had faced issues gaining access to the flat, which it was attempting to do urgently to solve the damp issue.

The authority added the asbestos, possibly present in floor tiles, would be a tiny amount posing a "very low risk".

The woman has a string of health problems, including asthma and bronchiectasis - which causes breathing issues and recurrent chest infections.

The condensation in the bathroom at the new property

She also suffers from Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has been prescribed a lengthy list of medication for her conditions, including inhalers.

Speaking about the issues she faced in her previous home and in her current one, Miss O'Neill said: "It's just been a nightmare really. I've been moved out of one property and into another property.

"I found out after I was living in the property for one year, a stall pump was busted in the roof, it gushes water out all through your roof. It's everybody's toilet, it was broken that's why it was coming through my roof.

Miss O'Neill claims there is asbestos in the floor tiles (


Birmingham Live WS)
The council says the 'small amount' of asbestos is of 'very low risk' (


Birmingham Live WS)

"Now, this place is full of asbestos. When I moved in there was human excrement left in the toilet - and the place was empty for a year, I know because I lived opposite.

"I've just come out of hospital with Covid-19 and I'm sleeping on a wet mattress on the floor because the radiators are leaking that much and there's that much damp in the place.

"I caught bronchitis and COPD because of the damp. I've been in hospital over this place." She claims 'flies die within an hour inside the property', the hinges of doors are rotten, there are woodlice and also rat droppings."

Some of the medication she has been prescribed

Her GP penned a letter to Birmingham City Council in October to explain the "adverse" effect the conditions were having on her health.

It read: "At her review in April she mentioned to the team she has been housed in a flat with a lot of damp. The specialist explained this would obviously adversely affect her chest.

"She tells me she has recently been rehoused in an alternative flat but sadly the housing conditions remain mouldy and therefore inappropriate for her. Please resolve the situation as soon as possible as this continues to adversely affect her health."

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: "We apologise for not treating this tenants property but have had difficulty accessing it. We have again requested access as a matter of urgency so we can treat the damp.

"We can confirm that as with some of our other properties we have floor tiles that may contain small amounts of asbestos but this is classed as very low risk.

"The previous property that the tenant occupied was a private sector one and we are working with the landlord to ensure that the property is fit for future habitation."

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