A single mum, whose home was plagued by toxic mould, has successfully sued her landlord thanks to Veritas Solicitors after a three- year “living nightmare”.
Eastbourne resident, Sara-Jae Gumbley endured harrowing living conditions including a drainpipe leak which ravaged the downstairs toilet, rendering it unusable due to severe damp.
The 36-year-old’s staircase also served as a breeding ground for the black fungus as it spread around the house.
Determined to protect her children, Sara of Old Town, East Sussex, would resort to buying a staggering 20 air fresheners a month, desperately trying to mask the putrid odour that permeated the home they’ve resided since 2018.
Despite repeatedly reporting the issue to her landlord, Lewes Eastbourne Council, her pleas for immediate action fell on deaf ears until she instructed Manchester based Veritas Solicitors to fight her corner.
After months of legal battles, the specialist housing disrepair firm helped secure £2,500 in damages in March while Sara’s landlord carried out the repairs costing in the region of £3,000.
“I felt helpless and ashamed,” Sara-Jae said. “The mould took over our lives, and the smell was unbearable.
“I tried my best to hide it with all the air fresheners, but deep down, I knew it wasn’t a solution. My children’s health was at risk, and I couldn’t stand by and do nothing.
“The kids couldn’t have their friends over because I was concerned they might touch something by accident, not to mention my embarrassment of the state the house was in.
“The downstairs toilet, which we could never use, looked like it had suffered a huge fire. It was just black with mould and always had a puddle on the floor.
“That meant we had to share the upstairs toilet, which between four people, was challenging. My youngest occasionally had accidents on the stairs. It was terrible.”
The harrowing experience left Sara-Jae emotionally scarred, and even during the festive season, was unable to bear the thought of inviting guests into her mould-infested home, fearing they would fall ill.
She said the noxious odour from the toilet was a constant reminder of the nightmare the family were enduring.
After years of anguish, the council’s repairs to the property concluded last month after a two-week process.
With a renewed sense of relief and hope, Sara-Jae is using part of her settlement money to take her children on a holiday to Spain, where they can finally unwind.
Her once cold house, plagued by rotting skirting boards and exorbitant heating bills, she says, can now become a home.
“I can’t express how grateful I am to Veritas Solicitors, who fought tirelessly on my behalf,” Sara-Jae expressed.
“They have truly changed my family’s life and given us a fresh start. I will forever be indebted to them.
“We now have a functioning downstairs toilet after years of having to put up with awful conditions. It’s time to make our house a home.
“My little one is delighted that she can now have play dates with her friends.”
No longer burdened by toxic mould, Sara-Jae says she eagerly anticipates inviting loved ones around after so long.
The mother of three who recently completed her studies, has her sights set on a dream job in the police force.
Reflecting on her ordeal, she has shared a heartfelt piece of advice for those living in similar conditions:
“Don’t suffer in silence. Take action and get the help you deserve.
“Reach out to organizations like Veritas Solicitors who can guide you through the legal process. Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy home.”
Managing Partner of Veritas Solicitors, Faraz Fazal, said: “This case reinforces our resolve to combat substandard living conditions and advocate for tenants’ rights.
“It serves as a reminder to all landlords that they have a fundamental duty to provide safe and habitable homes.
“Veritas Solicitors remains dedicated to defending the rights of individuals, ensuring a fair and just society for all.”