4-year-old girl forced to play next to black mold in hell house with dead rats in walls

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Rashid Yousef, 54, and his wife Ashweq said there had been little intervention from Torus, who said he was not aware of the “outstanding issues” but contacted to discuss the relocation

Rashid Yousef in the wet bathroom

A family says they were left in a frigid, sparsely furnished house covered in black mold with dead rats rotting inside the walls.

Rashid Yousef, 54, and his wife Ashweq say they and their children suffer from breathing problems which doctors say are linked to the appalling conditions in their home.

Rashid, who is disabled and recovering from a serious accident at work, spends his days trapped in the frigid “uninhabitable” Victorian house in Walton, Liverpool, which his GP says makes him even sicker, Liverpool Echo reports.

And the house is under the responsibility of Torus – one of the largest social housing providers in the Northwest.







Rashid Yousef at Walton House
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


Rashid and Ashweq said there had been little intervention from Torus, who in turn said he was not aware of the “outstanding issues” but made contact to discuss the family’s relocation. .

Rashid, a Dutch national of Yemeni descent who arrived in the UK in 2002, said the property looked in relatively good condition when he moved in around five years ago.

But within a few months, signs of a serious moisture problem began to appear, which precipitated a steady decline in the condition of the house.

He said: “I have to throw out the furniture every six months because of the humidity. I just had to get rid of the sofa.

“It’s unbearable.

“Every day we wake up tired because everyone is coughing from mold. I have to leave the heater on all day but it freezes from the damp in the walls.

“I am exhausted, depressed and tired.”







Rashid Yousef in the kitchen with a hole in the ceiling
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


Rashid gave ECHO a tour of the property, pointing out how mold even spread to her jacket as it hung from a coat rack.

Other weak spots included a bathroom leak that caused severe damage to the kitchen, black mold spores covering window frames, walls and ceilings, and a distinctive strong odor immediately present to the room. Entrance.

The sight of four-year-old Sara, wearing a Disney Princess tiara, was particularly poignant, playing in rooms with visible outbreaks of black mold on the walls and ceilings.

Rashid said that around 18 months ago her breathing got so bad that she was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

His older children, aged eight to 17, and his wife Ashweq also suffered from respiratory problems.

While mold and moisture are serious health risks, a regular infestation of rats has been particularly distressing for the family with young children.







Rachid Yousef in the kitchen
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


Rashid said his children are afraid to get up and use the toilet at night, and the sound of rodents rushing through the walls is not unusual.

While the Liverpool Council has deployed pest control officers at regular intervals to lay poison, the dead bodies of the rats remain in the wall cavities where they decompose, producing a foul odor.

However, the responsibility of eliminating the rotten rodents lies with Torus, who the family say has done nothing about it.

Rashid’s neighbor Mike Ahmed, 33, helps the family overcome language barriers and share their concerns with Torus.

He said: “The infestation of mold, humidity and rats is incredible and has made life in this house hell.







A hole in the kitchen ceiling is leaking from the toilet
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


“It made Rashid’s pain worse; her children have breathing problems because of it.

“The Council sent someone to kill the rats, but they eventually die inside the walls of the cavity and are still there until that point.

“We tried with the housing association and it’s been like this for over a year. They keep sending surveyors, they say they are going to fix it but nothing seems to be happening.

“I ask that they be treated fairly as human beings who, along with their children, have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment.”

A spokeswoman for Torus said all claims for redress had been addressed and the company had not been made aware of the health issues.

However, emails seen by ECHO show that the family had raised concerns about mold, humidity and rat infestations since at least June 2019 – including some with letters from the general practitioner of the family attached.







Torus said he was considering relocating the family
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


A letter from a local general practitioner addressed “to whom it may concern”, seen by the point of sale and dated December 3, 2020, states: “The condition of the home of the patient named above [Rashid Yousef] is not healthy, he is very wet and it affects his joints and back.

“He is taking medication and exercising as instructed by the physiotherapist, however his back and joint pains are not improving and are getting worse now that the house is damp and cold.

“Her children are also affected and due to the state of the house her daughter has respiratory problems and they are getting worse, her other daughter has lung infections.

“I would be grateful if you could relocate this patient.”

A Torus spokesperson says all claims for redress have been dealt with.







Rashid suffered a work-related accident in 2019
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


The family have requested to be relocated, but have been told they need to add their name to the Property Pool Plus website, which can involve months or even years of waiting.

Rashid’s need for alternative accommodation is particularly acute due to injuries he sustained in 2019 while working at a warehouse in Speke when the truck he was driving was struck by another vehicle.

The impact crushed his back and knee, leaving him needing a cane to walk and suffering “24/7”.

Unable to work, the family relies on Ashwaq’s income from her store as a store assistant, leaving Rashid with no one to help her climb the stairs.

Even when his family is at home, Rashid said he found himself isolated as the steep staircase made it easier for him to stay upstairs so that he could use the bathroom.







Liverpool council raised concerns
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Picture:

Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)


A Torus spokesperson said: “All reported work on the property has been completed and there are currently no outstanding repair requests on our system.

“However, we will contact the tenant today and arrange for an expert visit to assess any other issues so that we can rectify the situation as soon as possible. We will also review the relocation request and our Housing team will contact the tenant to discuss in more detail. “

Although the Liverpool council is not responsible for the state of the house, the authority was concerned about the conditions endured by the Yousef family.

A spokesperson said: “Pest control has visited the property several times over the past few years, but no other issues have been raised with us by the tenant.

“We are extremely concerned to learn of the conditions of this property and will be in contact with Torus and the tenant to discuss any issues that have been raised.”

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