A tenant with an incurable lung condition he says was caused by mould in his flat has called for greater punishments for councils and landlords that fail to act on “inhumane” living conditions.
In 2021, Max, 38, was diagnosed with sarcoidosis an autoimmune condition triggered by exposure to certain irritants such as chemicals or fungus four years after he had moved into a flat riddled with leaks, damp and black mould that was offered to him by Hackney council.
The chronic disease has since spread to his heart, and is suspected to have affected his nervous system, greatly increasing the risk of the condition becoming terminal. His symptoms include coughing blood, dry eyes and problems salivating.
Three doctors on separate occasions produced letters stating that there were medical dangers to Max’s current living situation; one said that his current home put him at extra risk of lung complications. One of these letters was sent to the council in 2021.
Three months ago, the dire state of UK housing was pushed into the headlines when a report found that the 2020 death of Rochdale toddler Awaab Ishak was caused by exposure to mould. It felt like my body was the body of an elderly man. I didn’t know what was happening
Housing charities told the Observer this weekend they felt not enough progress was being made to protect tenants from dire living conditions. Many said the issue was set to get worse, and one warned of more deaths from poor housing if more isn’t done soon.
Within months of moving in, I started to suffer from a variety of symptoms, said Max. I had dry eyes, dry sinuses, my mouth wasn’t salivating. It felt like my body was the body of an elderly man. I didn’t know what was happening.