Minster mum desperate to move from damp and mouldy council ‘flat from hell’

Charlotte with her two oldest children Harry and Carly

A pregnant mum of three from Thanet says she is concerned for her children’s health as her family are being forced to live in a “flat from hell”.

Charlotte Snook is living in small two-bedroom council accommodation in Minster which she says is “soaked with damp and mould”, affecting every room.

Her 10-year-old son Harry suffers from asthma and she and the family doctor say his condition is gradually getting worse due to the mould. Her daughter Carly,12, won’t live the in the flat during the school holidays and is staying with Charlotte’s mum in Broadstairs.

Her youngest daughter Sophie, aged two, sleeps with her mum and partner Shane, but their new mattress is already damp. They bought a new cot a month ago, but that is already affected.

Charlotte has had to call an ambulance because of breathing problems caused by the mould.

The 32-year-old, who is 15 weeks pregnant, has lived in the flat for 10 years but says the damp and mould issue began five years ago. Since then she makes sure always to use a tumble dryer rather than hanging washing indoors and has had numerous mould washes, extra vents installed and used fans but the problem continues.

She says the issue is exacerbated by so many people living in such a tiny space.

The QEQM security guard, currently unable to work due to her pregnancy, says she and partner Shane and the children are now desperate to move but have been told by the council there is at least a one year waiting list for alternative accommodation.

Charlotte said: “It is the flat from hell. Every room is in a terrible state with damp and mould and all our furniture, bedding and clothes are wet. The bathroom is the worst, we had a mould wash in there five days ago and it is already coming back.

“The council say we need to have vents in every room but the people coming out to fit them say it might help but it won’t solve the problem.

“When and if we move we will have to replace everything, but it’s the health of my children that really concerning me.

“The family doctor said Harry’s asthma is getting worse due to the conditions and when my mum comes over to visit she can only stay for 20-30 minutes and then has to leave. No family should have to live in these conditions.”

A housing officer has been to visit Charlotte to discuss her property issues and housing needs, including any additional support that may be required, but says she is not eligible for a management move –  which is being rehoused in exceptional circumstances such as not being safe in a current property.

Charlotte says efforts to rent privately are hampered by her being unable to work at the moment and then having enough income to save a deposit.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “ East Kent Housing (EKH), who provide our social housing management services, are in contact with the resident and have already carried out a full damp survey which showed that the problem is likely to be condensation.

“They are in the process of identifying the work that could help and, as part of that, carried out a mould wash last week. An additional mould wash is being done on August 27 as well as an extractor fan appointment.”

Report by Chris Smee and Kathy Bailes


  1. This is disgraceful and no one should have to live in this state of mould and damp beds especially with 3 children TDC you need to sort this out and move this family ASAP 6 people living in a damp flat with 2 mall bedrooms is not right .

  2. We all breath out 1.5 pints of water every night. 5 x 1.5= 7.5 pints of water every night. Tumble dryer used daily =7.5 pints minimum every day = 15 pints of water every day. closed windows x 7 days = 105 pints per day minimum = 38325 pints of water a year x 5 years =191625 pints of water minimum. Shame on you TDC for not thinking of this.

    • A mould wash is a terrible term!

      We use flood-hit which is non toxic, poisonous or leaching chemical. If you don’t kill all bacteria, moulds fungus and yeasts including airborne spores then of course the issue will keep returning. (Assuming there have been some measures taken to ventilate properly)

  3. Provide them a dehumidifier and a credit to their electricity bill to run it. It is damp here and these problems will arise without one.

  4. She is full of b.s. she always keeps her windows closed and is trying to get a bigger house off the council well known to the authorities for not keeping her gardens clear of rubbish and her Ferrell children

    • Mark you seem to know her? I don’t, they say there is too sides to a story. To get damp like that your flat is either ground floor and and damp course has gone & damp is mainly bottom third of walls or no ventilation at all then mould/damp would be mainly from the top of walls and furniture against outside walls. And looking at photos cot is right up to the wall all the time hot house cold walls tumble dryer going moisture trapped inside the house mould wash won’t cure nor vents proper knowledge of how house breaths and lives is only way to many people just chuck there furniture against an outside wall it needs a minimum of4 inches gap to work effectively to cut down on their problems plus windows open for some of day and tumble dryer vented outside even a condenser tumble dryer should be vented outside you might have a nice warm home but more trouble than you can imagine. It’s hard to tell how high the room is from ground level but how convenient is it that a window open. Sorry Im sceptical on her plight and there are a lot more people out there in a worse situation she will have to do what the rest of us do that is wait on list until she is offered one suitable if and when she reaches the top of list. Yes the children’s health is suffering but there are things she can do to help improve her condition. I might be stupid here do they not teach anyone life skills at school or by parents now.

    • Thanks for the lovely comment there kerry and paul jelousy doesnt get u no where in life i have worked all my life still employed now just with my job role not aloud to do my job anymore so awaitin another role off the company i only have 2 children the 3rd child is my partners daughter yes i am pregnant and very happy about it my youngest is 10 yrs old so i dont pop children out willy nilly either due to bein in council my 2 arnt aloid to share anymore hence the move in first place just unfortunatly the damp has got out of conrol and council arnt willing to help anytime soon and as i stated im currently awaitin another job role so not in postion to keep buyin new beds etc after the mould has ruined it
      Hate is a horrible trate to have

  5. I cant understand why you would have another child if your living situation is so difficult why not save some money and wait till you have a larger more suitable place to live .

  6. What happened 5 years ago? Until that point, there was no problem with mould, now there is. So what circumstances changed?
    Did you have new double glazing? New boiler? Construction work on your or a neighbouring flat?

    • The family has a two year old, so best guess would be that a new partner moved into the property, though it should have coped with 4 people, there is also reference to having previously dried clothes in the flat, it also says a tumble dryer is now used but does not say that it vents out of the flat.
      But basically mould thrives on excessive damp, in such cases as this, the most common cause of the moisture is condensation resulting from the property occupants and their lifestyle.
      The size of the property will not help, but as ever there is a shortage of 3 bedroom properties available via social housing.

    • There has been damp in that flat from day she moved in .one person lived there there is a stream running under it or near it as i own one above .

      • Mark her friend as you say you live above her she must be ground floor for stream to have any affect on it and damp is /has been present since the first day a little test to see moisture content in walls get hold of a water meter it will measure water content if its above a certain amount then a big possibility it’s water being sucked up through a perished damp course or by overriding it but council should have checked that. I can only go by what is said & photos they say it is condensation problems if I was able I would check the moisture content for her as I know someone who would let me borrow his meter I will see if he will do me a favour and have a day trip on me yes I will phone him Saturday morning.

  7. From the article and the information in it, she moved into the flat originally with a 2 year old and a new born baby, so at that point the flat was perfectly adequate for her needs, then she had another child who is now two, and is currently pregnant with a new partner who also lives in the flat.
    Would it not be reasonable to expect a degree of personal responsibility for the direction your life takes, the state /taxpayer provided suitable housing when she was younger , to then decide to increase the family size without considering the ability to provide for that family but instead relying on the taxpayer to fund her life choices shows a somewhat cavalier attitude to life.
    Many of us would like a bigger / better house, the vast majority of us have to provide for ourselves and cut our cloth accordingly, why should there be those exempted from such considerations?

    • Localchap you sum it up perfectly, if you can’t provide for your children don’t have then and keep having them! Maybe try the private rented sector if its that bad! oh but then you would have to pay…

    • People buying their own home are forced to live to a budget and have children they can afford but a lot of people who live in social housing have as many kids as possible safe in the knowledge that the tax payer will pay for them.
      I personally have little sympathy for people who can’t budget and expect everything given to them. If you can’t afford kids don’t have them and don’t expect someone else to pay for them.

      • ” …a lot of people who live in social housing have as many kids as possible safe in the knowledge that the tax payer will pay for them.”
        And your evidence for this most outrageous claim is … ?

      • Concerned is assuming that most people who live in social housing are unemployed and claiming benefits. I lived in social housing for more than thirty years and although I cannot quote the exact figures, a large percentage in my housing co-ops had jobs.

  8. It does not help as there is a shortage of places for social living as it is clear not enough space for everyone if this is how it is in summer how bad will winter be as everyone tries to keep warm moisture is bigger problem then. If the experts who are fitting the vents say it won’t fix problem then surely council should listen to them and not waste money on vents and do what needs doing. Doing a £10 quick fix temporary job is not the best way only thing is how much would the cost be for a cure when it comes to the health of children??? It doesn’t say if it is ground floor or otherwise these to would have a factor on moisture in walls and rooms.

    • Yes ground floor council put in extra vents to the front and also painted stuff on front to help black stuff .someone else came out said what had been done useless wont make a difference i was there

  9. I know her personaly .she does not have tumble drier in flat at all its in outside shed .damp has been a issue there 4 years as there is a spring running under it that is y bungelows were not built on carpark behind the flat .council have put in airvents washed walls ceilings number of times to no avail . So all u people think she caused this back off back door always open back windows kitchen bathroom .how i know this is because i own flat above .as 4 feral children lets not go there kerry paul ay them who throw stones ay .peace to nearly all of u .

    • Something doesn’t make sense.
      If there’s a spring under her house, did it just spring up 4 years ago? There wasn’t a problem when she moved in.

      • There was damp in big bedroom back wall ten years ago not much but was there .no wasnt stuff againt the wall .because lady lived there before only had a dineing room table in there .she passed away .charllote moved in after .bits of garden by flat never dry also moss on outside path back of flat just there by loo window main bedroom ect .i know because i cleared it when i lived there she has had bad damp for lot longer than 4 years

    • Mark her pal read my message to you further up please I will post back here yes or no. There has to be a reason my friend is a surveyor of housing for a mortgage company. Can’t say more on here if you understand me

    • The news item says : “The 32-year-old, […] has lived in the flat for 10 years but says the damp and mould issue began five years ago”
      I still don’t understand.

  10. My daughter lived in an extremely damp bungalow, the roof was leaking but the landlord didn’t give a fig!
    She washed the walls every day with a suitable solution which kept it at bay….

  11. No there was damp in there before sshe moved in .it was fully decorated ect. To cover it .as for not working she was a security guard at hospital .until advised by doc to leave ..

  12. Mark her pal my friend has said that he can’t do it as he would loose his job it is a clause in his contract he knew about it as it is in papers before I asked but he said if any part of the wall is damp inside or out above the the damp course then he agreed with me moisture is over ridding the course. He knows his job as he sorted out my old bungalow. Hopefully they get it sorted out for Charlotte soon mark.

      • Mark Charlotte’s friend trying to find out how has she got on with the house has there been any news or updates yet thanks if you know of any I have nothing more I can help with as yet hopping my mate will change his mind and help. Regards Chris

  13. Hello Kathy Brailes and Chris Smee just wondering if you had any news on Charlotte’s predicament with the house and its problems I have just message on here her friend Mark as you know by my replying I was hoping to get her help unfortunately I need help to get her help & it’s not worked out as I hoped. So if you do have news I would be grateful to hear either way things have gone thanks in advance Chris

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