Minster mum desperate to leave ‘mouldy, fire hazard’ home

Charlotte and baby Sienna sleep in the front room

A  Minster mum-of-four says her tiny flat is now so overcrowded it has become a fire hazard.

Charlotte Snook is having to sleep in her sitting room with her four-month-old baby while partner Shane has one bedroom with daughter Sophie, three,  and her 13-year-old daughter Carly and 11-year-old son Harry have to share the other bedroom.

The security worker appealed to Thanet council to move the family last year due to damp and mould which soaks every room and is made worse by the overcrowding.

The 33-year-old has lived in the flat for 11 years but says the damp and mould issue began six years ago. She says she always uses a tumble dryer rather than hanging washing indoors and has had numerous mould washes, extra vents installed and used fans but the problem continues.

And now the arrival of baby Sienna has meant having a cot in the sitting room as well as new furniture, ready for a house move that hasn’t happened, packing out the hallway.

Charlotte, who has been bidding for a new home without success, said: “It is really bad. My daughter has completely changed over the last few months and is now so unhappy. When I asked (the housing officer) how long it will take to get somewhere, weeks, months, years, he just said ‘hopefully not years.’

“The fire assessor has been out because we are so overcrowded. I had to move the front room around and now the door can’t be shut and we had to take off the kitchen one. There are boxes in the hall because we thought we were getting a new home in Manston so bought furniture as all our things have been ruined by the damp and mould and there are problems with the electrics as each room only has one socket so we have to use extension leads.”

Charlotte is keeping baby Sienna’s clothes in the boot of her car because of the mould in her home and says she has had to go to the doctor due to mounting anxiety.

Thanet councillor Reece Pugh has attempted to help the family and says he has been “ pushing for Charlotte to be reassessed” but without results.

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

However, she is in housing band B which means the family are rated as having serious housing needs. The banding is the one required for currently available council housing in Manston.

A Thanet council spokesperson said:”While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we can confirm that  available homes are advertised on KentHomeChoice and allocated to those most in need. We operate a banding system to establish the levels of need.

“When a number of households that are in the same band all place bids on homes, we allocate based upon  how long each household has been in that band for.  Lettings are fair and transparent , decision making reflects the council’s Allocations Policy.

“Unsuccessful households should continue to bid for homes that become available and consider all housing options available to them.

“The council’s homes are managed by East Kent Housing, who arrange to inspect homes where tenants complain about condensation issues. They offer detailed advice about managing moisture and condensation in the home. They also ensure that there are not faults or outstanding repairs required and that mechanical ventilation is working in both the kitchen and bathroom.”

There are currently some 2612 households on Thanet’s housing waiting list.

38 Comments

  1. Wow. 11 years and 4 children. Sunny outside with a slight breeze. Tumble dryer drying 6 peoples clothing and linen. Windows Shut. ? WLM should get involved ? or common sense. ?

  2. What was the point in that comment so what she has 4 children
    Thanet Council and officers let people live with no gas safety certificate
    So your comment is pointless

  3. If Thatcher had not sold the council houses off at least than half price to bribe the voters then there would be more houses for families. Mental politicians are the biggest cause of poverty. There is only two women in this world I hate and they have both been prime ministers and caused so much harm and wasted so much money.

  4. Yes and what Suzie. People are allowed to have big families. The council should and certainly need to find this family a suitable, safe and large enough home. Hopefully this article highlights that.

    • Joanne I couldn’t agree more the plight of this family was reported here by Kathy in August last year I remember it well and it has only got worse since then

  5. Hi Charlotte I remember last August trying to get the equipment to register your damp problems but my friend was not willing to lend me the equipment or do it himself. Looks like the council has still not been successful. Do you have still have a stream running under or close to property if this is the case then there is a 50% chance that could be the cause or the other cause will be not enough ventilation either way both can be fixed ventilation very cheap with moving all furniture away from the wall allowing air to flow if it is stream or very wet ground or the ground course is under soil/water level then it could be expensive. Not helping having only a little space Is Mark still your friend from above flat living upstairs. By looking at the photos it seems like you have the damp almost completely under control its just the space in the main. Have you tried the local MP for help all his details are online give him a try email him normally replies in a weeks time good luck Charlotte.

  6. This article makes me cross. Why is the family relying on the council to resolve their housing? We have a two bed with damp which we fortunately own due to working 4 terrible jobs between us. We would have loved more children but DIDN’T because, a. Our home wasnt big enough and b. We couldnt afford it.
    Working families are being made homeless due to COVID-19 and the press are giving families like this pitty party articles.

  7. There are four bedroom properties openly available in the privately rented market. Why should it be down to the Council to rehome them when they have overcrowded themselves by having more kids?
    At some point personal responsibility needs to come before asking the state to help.

  8. Inhaling mould fragments or spores can inflame the airways, causing nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma.“

  9. Right can anyone help us get justice for our home becoming uninhabitable when our long standing home & contents insurer with add ons HEC, LEGAL etc failed to respond as did SWA who left water pouring through for over 5 days ceilings down, electrics ruined, WORSE WAS PERSONAL PICS THAT LIKE URNS SKIPPED BY LV thieves and thugs that promised would be kept for us to list/pic items, left to kennel PETS, ON-GOING along with alternative accommodation exp’s FRIENDS SAID AT TIME LET US CROWD FUND wish we had as despite CAB agreeing breach of contract CANNOT AFFORD LEGAL REDRESS UNLIKE THOSE ON BENEFIT WOULD & LEGAL COVER INS. ALSO USELESS AS CONFLICT OF INTEREST! ANY LEGALS able to help? Also fell thro’ WOOD ROTTED FLOOR & JOISTS in £1600 a month rental that had glossy pics MILES&BARR responsible + owner as newish build but never paid to maintain property illegal gas pipes etc HOSPITALISED & face more MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY, etc 2 yrs on. BURGLED 1st day delivery of new items by FOXs REMOVALS all really helpful but as Police said NO NEW LOCKS after hols let then rented to fraudsters so I got ILLEGAL MONEY LENDERS ETC DEMANDING &THREATENING etc So 3 years 6months on awaiting FOS Ombudsman decision, can’t come soon enough.Had it not been for friends lending us money to keep us safe, and stress busting with their fur family, while not been able to visit MY BOYS in kennels as too upsetting for both. M&B illegally kept deposit after I got TDC to review safety features IGNORED which TDC made them do when leaving so that no one else gets trapped by contract 12 months.THINK ON ONLY CLOTHES WORN WHILE GETTING OUT, AS CEILINGS FALLING, ELECTRICS OUT, C.HTG OUT etc but we will survive despite INCOMPETENCE OF LV ETC. SO ANYONE LEGALLY LIKE TO HELP PLEASE?
    As our parents taught us- you can always find someone worse than yourself, skipped urns we’re them!

  10. Having read views I agree, with THANET WORKING FAMILY. WORKERS GET TAXED TO PAY FOR THE LIKES OF THESE WHO ARE NOW BETTER OFF THAN LOTS THROUGH COVID WHO HAVE LOST WORK, HOMES ETC taken on never expecting a GLOBAL PANDEMIC TO RUIN AND AFFECT US ALL, especially the bereaved of which is well publicised, IT MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL WHEN THEY ARE THE SOLE CAUSE OF THEIR OWN PROBLEMS. Having seen this scenario time and again, usually ends with a fire wonder if fag smoke adds to the problem, we all know that somehow money always gets found for PARENTS ESSENTIALS LIKE THESE. The kids I feel for NOT them.

    • Were Miles and Barr the landlord or managing agent? If the former then there is no excuse if the latter then they work to the landlords instruction. The deposit would have been held in a protection scheme for which there is a dispute process. Finally complain to TDC they are more than happy to investigate complaints against private landlords.

  11. Lets just review the facts :

    The couple have been living in a two bedroom flat with a son and a daughter for 11 years.

    The flat started suffering damp problems six years ago.

    In the last three years they decide to have another son and another daughter.

    Surely the moral of the story is that if you can’t afford to rent a bigger property you can’t afford to have more children ?

  12. Lots of people need council accommodation for all sorts of reasons , one being it is lower rent and more secure than privately rented. Why should the children and baby suffer? They should be re housed through the council. They shouldn’t have to go and find a privately rented property that’s less secure when many landlords won’t even fix basic problems. People can be so judgemental. It’s none of your business how many children they have. They are entitled to have a big family and they are entitled to a council property that is safe and big enough for them all. I have four children myself and can only imagine how difficult it is to look after four children in such bad living conditions 🙁 no baby should have to have their clothes kept in a car boot and live with damp just no! End of .. and before anyone says it yes I do go to work!

    • “They are entitled to have a big family”. Indeed. With rights comes responsibility.
      If you choose to have a large family, then you can choose to look after them and provide for them.
      Or, you can expect the council to do it for you.

    • Having a big family is irresponsible. The Earth is over-populated and its resources are beimg depleted.

      • Well done, Marva. You’re often held to account for what you say on this website and I am one of your biggest critics.

        But that being said, credit where credit is due, you’ve been talking sense lately and this is a post that I agree with (I don’t agree with you being XR though).

        • I don’t have a car or use aeroplanes, I’m careful with water ,I don’t buy much and apart from food and drink what I do buy is mostly secondhand. I have being doing this for the whole of my adult life, except for 2 holidays in Greece 40 years ago.

          I have never been on an XR demonstration. The cumulative effect of the above is enough to stop me feeling particularly guilty about my existence on this crowded little planet.

    • Can’t help but notice that none of the critics refer to the fact that this lady is a working mum. The article says she’s a security worker. For all you know she might have had a surprise pregnancy. Not everyone believes in abortion. Give the woman a break and find a bit of compassion. If you posted your life story in a last ditch bid to raise awareness how would you feel if all and sundry piled in to have a pop at you and denigrate you? Local authority housing gives people long term security in a way that private landlords never can. I’m lucky enough to own my house and stopped at 2 kids as I couldn’t afford more but I don’t see why people are so bitter about this lady. She’s contributing to society so surely that’s the kind of person you want to benefit from social housing? Live and let live.

  13. The family should be moved as a matter of urgency. Thus has been going on for too long now

  14. It is the councils responsibility to accommodate this family. They are in an un suitable council property so yeah … also they are being responsible parents by applying for a move and putting themselves in the media to raise awareness for their case and get that move for their children.

    • But why does this family deserve such special treatment? As pointed out in several other replies there are those that would also benefit from a larger home or would like to have a larger family, but they have no recourse to taxpayer funded assistance to do so. I’ve no doubt that in time enough fuss will have been created and a larger home will be found for them . The system will have been played and they’ll get what they want all in the name of protecting the children. There’s reference to having hoped to have been allocated a house at manston, wouldn’t huge numbers of people like to have the opportunity to live in a brand new home? With none of the costs the makority would have to meet to do so.

  15. Cant believe how judgmental some of your comments are, the flat is a council property and is causing health problems to young children, the problem has not been resolved, charlotte pays her rent like every one else and wether its council or private rented if you had damp and mould in the home your renting then you would expect yourlandlord to fix it.. charlotte was working and has had her daughter recently so is obviously not working at the moment due to takin care of her baby. None of you know her personal situation so maybe you should keep your nasty comments to yourselves!

    • In regard to the damp and disrepair, there has only been one side of the story, in the absence of knowing the councils view no conclusion can be made.

  16. Special treatment? To be allocated a council house that is appropriate for their needs as a family. I don’t think that is special treatment. I think all people in this situation should be allocated a safe home. They still have to pay rent on a council house and bills it’s not just a free house. The system is in place to assist people who need it. There are lots of working families with multiple children living in council houses who work and pay tax themselves and who maybe can’t afford to get on the property ladder. The most sensible thing would be for this family to be appropriately housed and for their current home to be properly sorted out and given to a smaller family. That makes sense.

    • Yes of course its special treatment when compared to similar families living in their own or privately rented homes. The same family in a privately rented home would get little if any help from the council as they have a roof over their head and have chosen to increase the size of the family.
      I’ve not said they live for free, but their accomodation is heavily subsidised by the tax payer and other council tenants as TDC have chosen to spend money on new homes rather than use it to maintain older stock. Have avread up on the East Kent Housing fiasco to see how many millions have and will be wasted by TDC along with the woeful performance they’ve presided over.
      Whats your view on council tenants living in properties larger than their needs dictate? Support a system that forces people to move as needs change within the social housing sector and a good number of the problems would be solved in respect of appropriate housing.

  17. If there arent enough homes for the 2000 odd on the waiting list then they will have to wait like everyone else does and take their turn. They have a choice of renting privately also. They might be entitled to whatever is going but then so are lots of people. If it is really that bad then Social Services can find a home for the children, just give them a ring.

  18. Wow Kent resident. That’s very insulting. Do have any idea what kind of situations children live in who do end up needing to be put into care? It’s certainly not just damp bedrooms. Tragic that you would hurl that around. A lot of people in the local area have been through the system and wouldn’t joke about how they ended up there.there I’d no suggestion this woman is abusing her children. Really sad. Kathy I think you should close comments on this article as it’s just getting really nasty. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but people are getting really cruel.

  19. The fact that this family is still on the waiting list suggests that there are other families ahead of them on the list, obviously in an even worse housing state.
    If this family gets allocated a house, then who should be bumped down the list? Will IoTN run a sympathetic feature about them, too? Where will it end?
    Given that there is a limited supply of social housing, and more needy families than houses, some sort of system has to be put in place to allocate available homes as fairly as possible.
    When this family meet the criteria, then they will be offered a council home. Until then, just like every other family on the list, they’ll have to make the best of it, or seek other alternatives.

  20. It looks like there is a shortage of affordable, decent quality housing. When so many council houses were sold off after Thatcher ,Councils were prevented from using the money to build replacements. The result was predictable.
    A family of four children used to be quite normal back in the “good,old days” when everybody was cheerful and happy and desperately poor but loyal and grateful for what they could get. Do we really want to go back to those days?
    Anyway, perhaps the family should be congratulated for having above-average numbers of children as the lack of labour on the local farms and in Care Homes and the NHS is becoming acute. Providing new future workers for these industries should be rewarded, surely.(Just being a bit sarcastic, but we do need to consider these things. )There’s nothing wrong with having lots more people. China is thriving with all those people!

    • That is the same China that had a one child policy in order to control their population growth? Or is there another china?

  21. she was visited by a housing officer last year and told she is not eligible. Since then new baby has arrived. mmmmm

    I think that the report needed more detail.

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