There are mushrooms growing in my skirting boards - my children have been made to live in squalor

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“You can smell the damp and mould here. I am worried they are breathing all this in.”

Mushrooms have grown behind the skirting boards at the home of a family plagued by a leak. Shannon Hopley, who lives on Rochdale’s Freehold estate, claims she’s had a leaking bath for three years – ever since she moved in.

When a crack in the bath was spotted recently, it was duct taped over as a temporary fix, she says. The mother-of-three says she was told it was no longer usable. 

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One of Shannon’s children who has autism, needs the bath as they do not like the shower. The 29-year-old claims she has been living in squalor while her bath and kitchen are being replaced, living off takeaways and microwave meals. The work was required due to the damage caused by the leak. 

She pleaded with her landlord Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) to be put up in temporary accommodation as the work was carried out.  

While the kitchen was being refitted, Shannon discovered mushrooms growing behind her skirting boards. 

Shannon Hopley and her family Shannon Hopley and her family
Shannon Hopley and her family

She said: “Work started on the kitchen so the old one was ripped out and the floor ripped up, so we haven’t been going in because of the work, but we have looked in on occasion and noticed a load of water on the floor. 

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“I just assumed this was from the work being done there, but after I had a bath I went in the kitchen and noticed it flooding and when I looked closer noticed mushrooms growing from the skirting boards which were rotting away.”

Six months ago, Shannon said a downstairs neighbour complained of continuous leaks, which prompted RBH to suggest a new bath should be fitted. She claims the new bath wasn’t ordered until January.

Now water damage from leaky pipes and the crack in the bath has led to severe damage to her home. RBH workers, Shannon says, have carried out ‘quick fixes’. 

The issues resulted in a wall needing to be removedThe issues resulted in a wall needing to be removed
The issues resulted in a wall needing to be removed

After another contractor later took a look and further work was agreed. The wall between the bathroom and the kitchen knocked down on April 11, exposing a number of damp beams. 

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“The water damage underneath the bath is ridiculous,” Shannon told the LDRS. “The wood has rotted so badly. They sent out an electrician to look at the problem – an electrician. He said he has never seen anything quite like it. 

“He’s never seen mushrooms out of the woodwork. I did ask to be put up in temporary accommodation but they said they would try to get hold of my housing officer, but she left the job a week ago. 

“There is no kitchen or bathroom and I have been living off takeaways and microwave meals. I feel like they have had us living in squalor for weeks. My mood has hit the floor.

“It has been my twins’ birthday recently and we haven’t really been able to celebrate it. All three of my children, one is nine and the twins are now six-years-old, we were born prematurely. 

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“They don’t have the best chests to start with, and you can smell the damp and mould here. I am worried they are breathing all this in.”

RBH have now put Shannon, nine-year-old Rover-Mae, and the six-year-old twins Rory and Nancy up in a hotel.

Siobhan McCoy, RBH’s director of property services, said: “I apologise to Ms Hopley for the delay in replacing the bath in her home. We’re currently dealing with a high demand for these types of repairs, however we understand the impact of this delay has had on the family and we are sorry that we failed to carry out the work sooner. 

“We apologise for the disruption and damage that this has caused. An initial temporary repair was carried out at Ms Hopley’s home on Monday, April 8, and work on the permanent repairs to the bath, as well as pipework, plasterwork, and flooring, started on Thursday April 11. 

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“We have also arranged for Ms Hopley and her family to stay in a hotel, so that we can complete this work and ensure the property is dry for their return. We will keep Ms Hopley fully updated while the work is being completed, and will carry out a follow-up visit once she returns home to ensure that the issue is fully resolved to her satisfaction.”

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