Family forced to live in backyard tent as home is infested with mould: Victoria

Family of five forced to live in backyard tent as their $480,000 home is infested with ‘unlivable’ black mould making their young children sick

  • Victorian family of five living in a tent after new house rendered ‘unlivable’  
  • The Walsh-Baldwins have also been unable to get an insurance claim paid
  • An ‘unbelievable’ case of mould has made each of their three children sick 

A family of five are living in a cold, damp and cramped tent after massive rainfall caused black mould to grow and spread in their recently purchased home in Victoria. 

Andrew Walsh-Baldwin and his Angalina took the drastic measure to move into the backyard of their $480,000 property after the toxic mould caused all three of their young children to fall ill.

Construction experts say building defects that do not allow proper drainage under the house, combined with the unprecedented amount of rain has rendered their dream home ‘unlivable’.

Ms Walsh-Baldwin broke down in tears as she said ‘It’s been freezing’ living in the tent.

‘This was supposed to be our home,’ she told 9News.

A family of five are living in a cold, damp and cramped tent after massive rainfall caused black mould (pictured on their carpets) to grow and spread in their recently purchased home in Victoria

A family of five are living in a cold, damp and cramped tent after massive rainfall caused black mould (pictured on their carpets) to grow and spread in their recently purchased home in Victoria

Her husband Baldwin said ‘The other week we got 190ml (of rain). I can’t believe… we’ve got to this point.’

‘The kids have been getting sick and missed a full term of kinder,’ he said. ‘You just feel inadequate now because, as a parent, we’ve failed.’

Dr Cameron Jones of Biological Health Services, who inspected the house, said it was among the worst cases he’d ever seen. 

‘When I’ve done moisture testing on the timbers, they’re showing anywhere from 20 to 30 per cent plus,’ he said. 

The safe level is a maximum of 15 per cent. 

All the carpets from the family’s home have now been ripped exposing the shocking levels of mould with the spores latching onto the fibres on the underside.

Andrew Walsh-Baldwin and his Angalina took the drastic measure to move into the backyard of their $480,000 property in a tent, after the toxic mould caused all three of their young children to fall ill

Andrew Walsh-Baldwin and his Angalina took the drastic measure to move into the backyard of their $480,000 property in a tent, after the toxic mould caused all three of their young children to fall ill 

Building inspector Zeher Khalil, who is helping the family out free of charge, said what he found at the house is ‘unbelievable’. 

‘There is no water stop separating the wet area from the non-wet area,’ he said. 

‘There needs to be a drainage installed and there is no drainage here.’

The Walsh-Baldwins said they were not told about any drainage problems when they bought the property off the owner-builder earlier this year.  

‘To pay $480,000 for this house, I mean I just feel like I’ve been ripped off,’ Ms Walsh-Baldwin said.

Construction experts say building defects that do not allow proper drainage under the house, combined with the unprecedented amount of rain has rendered their dream home 'unlivable'

Construction experts say building defects that do not allow proper drainage under the house, combined with the unprecedented amount of rain has rendered their dream home ‘unlivable’

The family is insured with Allianz, but their claims were rejected because the company said the defects were pre-existing. 

‘We’ve got rights too,’ Ms Walsh-Baldwin said. ‘We didn’t cause this inadequate drainage.’

The family is considering taking legal action against the builder and the building surveyor.

‘I don’t believe that owner-builders are regulated enough,’ Ms Walsh-Baldwin said. 

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