Falhado Eders and her husband say their council property is ridden with damp and has so many mice that the younger children think they are part of the family. The six relatives, originally from war-torn Somalia, sleep in one room in the cramped flat.
Falhado, 32, lost a baby boy during childbirth last year and believes the poor living conditions may have contributed to the tragedy.
Speaking from the flat in Hull, the mum said: “It is just a nightmare. I try to keep the flat clean but it is just impossible. I get so afraid the mice will bite my baby at night.”
Mrs Eders has failed in five bids for improved council housing, reports Hull Live, but she, her partner and Yussuf, 12, Leben, seven, Yasmin, five and seven-month-old Qaseeda remain in the “disgusting” home.
The mother continued: “The situation in Somalia is very difficult and dangerous there is no safe life there and we wanted to build a safe stable future for our kids here in Hull.
“At first all the damp started to come through the walls and then mice started appearing from random holes around the flat. It was just disgusting.
“Me and my kids cannot breathe in the bedroom as the damp is everywhere. My son Yussuf now has breathing issues and constantly feels itchy. He has a report from the doctor proving this.”
Yussuf said: “Mice are just running around everywhere.
“We have tried to put mice traps but there are too many of them. We even found them on our bed.
“My little sister has started crawling and she keeps going near the mice holes it is really dangerous. We keep all the toys in a cupboard because we know mice have probably nibbled on them.
“How can we bid for a house we don’t have a computer to access the site and my parents English is not that good and nobody will help us? We just want a nice house to live in with no damp and no mice.”
Hull City Council, which Labour lost after 10 years last week, said it would contact the family about any new maintenance in the flat and had advised them that it charges for rodent infestation work.
But Mrs Eders is unhappy with the council, particularly after recent leaks in the bathroom.
“The council came once to look at the leak then they told me if the leaking has stopped on its own then we don’t need to send someone to fix it so we haven’t had anyone to help us since then,” she said.
“Me and my children don’t get fresh air it would be better if we slept outside at least we wouldn’t have to breath this dirt in. We have not slept well in a long time and it breaks my heart to see my kids suffering like this. I keep ringing social services but they just don’t seem to care.”
Neighbours have tried to help the family, particularly after the leaks affected their properties downstairs.
Mrs Eders is grateful for the support as she is still grieving the loss of her baby boy minutes after his birth last year. He died in Mrs Eders’ arms.
The mother said: “I am still heartbroken and coming back to this flat has really affected mine and my children’s mental health as well as our actual health. We just want to move on. This flat is really not safe for anyone to live.
“I am certain that I lost my baby because of this flat I was so ill during my pregnancy it was a nightmare.
“During my pregnancy at the end of 2020 and 2021 I had developed breathing problems and it was clearly from the damp in the property. The flat was definitely not a safe hygienic place to be in for a pregnant woman. I had been to the doctors several times complaining about my breathing and even my midwife asked me why I am constantly sneezing.”
Mrs Eders has been in regular contact with social services pleading for help, however she claims she has made no progress in finding improved accommodation. She says as she has difficulty with English she had asked for a translator but none was provided.
A spokesperson for Hull City Council said it had no record of any requests for assistance for leaks in the property but had visited in January last year to treat damp with a “fungal wash”.
The spokesperson added: “No further repairs were identified. Consequently, we are contacting ‘the tenant’ to arrange an appointment for contractors to attend. The only ‘live’ request we have for repairs is for our contractor to look at cold draughts coming through the front door, and an appointment has already been arranged for 17 May.”