A MUSSELBURGH family have told of their nightmare living in a council flat “from hell” for more than a year, with mould, mice, uneven floor boards and even the worry they might fall through the floor.

Michael and Anahi Fletcher, along with their two-year-old daughter, Elise, moved into a council apartment in April last year.

The flat costs only £500 a month to rent but, after only a few weeks, they discovered various things wrong.

READ MORE: Rise in damp and mould as county homes turn heating off

Within a fortnight, the couple discovered mice and found droppings in the kitchen. They then found themselves struggling to close doors due to uneven floorboards and door frames.

During the night in the top-floor apartment, Michael and Anahi claimed they could hear “hundreds” of mice scurrying under floorboards and behind walls. Traps the couple set captured one of the rodents.

The couple have found droppings along with a 'mouse-like hole' 

In April this year, when Michael was preparing to redecorate the kitchen and living room, he took down the wallpaper and found patches of mould, damp ceilings and “mouse-like holes” which had been covered up.

Large mould patches can be viewed in the living room 

To add to the family’s problems, Anahi struggles with chronic rhinitis, a respiratory problem which leads to severe symptoms similar to having an allergic reaction and, in Anahi’s case, could lead to her throat closing.

The Courier met Michael at the flat, close to the Shell Garage on North High Street, and witnessed the conditions he and his family had been living in.

The dad of one, a full-time dog walker who also works in a local pub, said he had concerns about his wife and child's safety when they were in the flat.

He shared his fear that the mould he had found might have affected the floorboards, leaving him with the worry his family could fall through into the downstairs flat.

Michael, 33, who grew up in Tranent, said: “The experience living in this flat has been absolutely terrible because I notified the council when I found the mould in April and I am still waiting for someone to do something about it.

"We have a whole flat of problems.

"When we first moved here, I was all up for staying as we initially thought that there was only the problem with mice and uneven floorboards, etc, but it has just gotten worse and worse.

"I am at the point now, I don't want them to fix it, we all just want out.

"I was horrified by what I found in April and, due to the flooring being uneven, I have reason to believe there might be mould underneath where we stand, and that has led me to be worried about falling through the floor, which is ultimately disgraceful for any council to leave tenants in."

Anahi, 32, is a communications consultant originally from Mexico City, who moved to Edinburgh in 2019.

She said: "There are so many things wrong with this flat but the major one is the uneven floors.

"Some of our furniture has actually tipped over and it is very worrying to live in a flat like that with a two-year-old child.

"The other day, the TV we had perched on a stand toppled over and completely smashed it. So that is more money we are having to fork out on this flat that we didn't even buy - we are renting it, it is absolutely awful.

"The mice are one thing, they are common in flats in Scotland, but to hear so many of them scurrying around in the night is alarming.

The couple were able to catch one of the smaller mice they have spotted 

"I suffer from chronic rhinitis and I have a feeling the council do not care. I worry that the effect from the mould will get to my lungs and that is when it could turn very serious. It prevents me from breathing and, after my husband stripped the wallpaper, I started hearing a wheezing in my chest."

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “We cannot comment on individual cases but can state that when repairs are reported to us, we work within set timescales to address issues, depending on whether they are classed as urgent or non-urgent.

"Multiple issues can involve visits from various council teams and independent contractors but we will always keep tenants informed of progress.

“General safety checks are carried out by officers during the course of all our repairs and inspections. If tenants have additional concerns, we will arrange further, detailed investigation to provide reassurance.”