“[It had] dots like someone had gone to it with a marker. It was pretty shocking,” Ms Balhas told the ABC. She said repeated complaints led to a few repairs, but the flaking walls, mould patches, and water stains kept returning. “I would clean it away, I tried everything, but it would come back thicker,” she said.
Her now five-year-old son Tobias has asthma and bronchiolitis, and when his health deteriorated this year, she got legal advice. “Him breathing in the air is making his little lungs weaker,” Ms Balhas said. “It’s not fair on him.”
Last month, lawyers acting on Ms Balhas’s behalf took the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. A mould inspection ordered by the tribunal uncovered some inside walls had up to 90 per cent moisture levels — well exceeding the allowable limit of 15 per cent. The cause was identified as lack of waterproofing in the shower, a possible roof leak and a broken exhaust fan. “This property is seriously contaminated and not habitable,” the report stated. “No-one should enter this property [until] a clearance certificate is provided.”
Doctor’s letters requested urgent rehousing. Dr Jane Greacen said the mouldy conditions left Tobias in danger of developing a fungal pneumonia.