A man has been forced to walk the streets of Newcastle and sleep on his friend’s floor to avoid an outbreak of black mold in his home.
Michael Bennett, 58, lives in an apartment on the city’s Waterloo Street.
He pays £590 a month for the three-bedroom flat but is now afraid to live there after reading of the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak.
The toddler died after prolonged exposure to mold in Rochdale.
Mr Bennett has been begging his landlord, Places For People, for seven months to get him out of the apartment.
He suffers from a compromised immune system and complex mental and physical health conditions, leading to serious fears about the effects the mold could have.
Mr. Bennett only moved a year ago.
He told ChronicleLive: “I haven’t had any issues and now I wish I had never moved.
“I wanted to move to a bigger apartment so that my father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, could stay with me and give my mother a break.
“But unfortunately that can’t happen because of the clutter in the apartment, so it was a complete waste of time.”
The mold in Mr Bennett’s flat has spread to his clothes and bedding and he has been forced to wander the streets of Newcastle aimlessly to avoid time at his home.
He received a dehumidifier as a gift from the landlord Places for People, which currently draws 12 liters of water out of the damp apartment every day.
Mr Bennett added: “I just don’t feel safe there and when I heard about this poor little boy who had died of black mold I panicked. I’ve had enough. I take antidepressants and it made me sick.
“That’s when I decided to limit the time I spent indoors and I spent most of the day walking the streets of Newcastle and crashing on my boyfriend’s floor at night. There was no way I wanted to sleep in that bed.
“I felt the humid environment was toxic to me and I got repeated chest infections. I have a weakened immune system and every time I get sick my immune system falters and is less able to fight infection.”
Mr Bennett, who lives with his Doberman Pinscher Callie, contacted his local newspaper, ChronicleLive, who helped finally make a difference in his fruitless struggle.
The 58-year-old has now been told he could move to another apartment in time for Christmas.
A spokesman for Places for People said: “We are working closely with Mr Bennett to support him. There is no structural evidence of dampness or mold on the walls or ceilings in Mr. Bennett’s apartment, but upholstery, fabrics, and clothing are damp and have some mold.
“To help, we have provided Mr Bennett with a dehumidifier for his home and also financial support for its use.
“We had also previously upgraded the fan in his bathroom and are helping Mr Bennett with ventilation which includes installing a condensing unit.
“When outside temperatures drop, customers can become concerned about heating bills, and balancing proper ventilation and warmth becomes a real challenge for them.
“We always want our customers to speak to us if they have any concerns. We have an extensive program to support our customers in the cost of living crisis and there is always something we can do.’
Mr Bennett added: “I am so happy that this story has a positive ending and that the issue has been resolved. Places for People was great right now, but it’s amazing how quickly things happened when ChronicleLive got involved.’
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/03/newcastle-man-forced-to-walk-the-streets-due-to-mouldy-flat-17873157/ Newcastle: Man forced to 'walk the streets' over moldy flat