Harlesden mum says son’s breathing problems caused by damp

The mum of two says she has pleaded with her housing association for more than a year to deal with the damp problem

A four-year-old boy has been in and out of hospital with breathing problems because of poor conditions at his housing association home, his mum has claimed.

Merisha John-Jules and her two sons, Shayon, four, and Lemar, 10, moved into her Stadium Housing Association (SHA) flat in Tubbs Road, Harlesden, in 2009 after spending two years on the social housing waiting list.

However, the mum-of-two has branded the flat a “disaster” and claimed that damp conditions are the reason her youngest son has been in and out of hospital with breathing problems.

She said: “For over a year I have been having problems with damp. It is having a serious effect on my son’s health. He is having respiratory problems.

‘‘He has started to have heavy breathing problems at night and he never used to have them.

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“I have spent hours writing back and forth to the GPs and hospitals, it is very stressful, not only for me but for my sons.”

Pointing to her son Shayon’s arms and legs, which are speckled red with mite bites, Ms John-Jules said she fears her child will be left permanently scarred by mites, which are known to be attracted to warm, damp places.

Yet she claims that despite pleading with SHA officers to deal with the damp, and going through all three complaints stages, the problem remains.

She said: “My son has been bitten head to toe. His skin is permanently damaged. Sometimes during the night he can get up to 10 bites at once.

“It is affecting his schooling because he can’t concentrate because of the bites. He is four years old, he doesn’t understand the concept of don’t scratch.

“But they say it is not a medical condition so they cannot move me on medical grounds.

“It is affecting everything and has been going on for more than a year. I need to get my kids out of there.”

An SHA spokeswoman said: “We are sorry that Ms John-Jules has been suffering with damp problems at home. One of our surveyors carried out a survey on May 20 to look at the condition of the property.

“The specialist report confirmed dampness at the back of the property and we are currently obtaining estimates so the problem can be resolved.”