Brighton pop star Natasha Khan has described living in a student house so damp that she had to dodge slugs on the carpet.
Khan, 31, suffered the experience when she was studying music and visual arts at Brighton University.
The Bat for Lashes singer spoke out about living in a cold, slug-infested student house as part of Friends of the Earth’s new Warm Homes campaign.
The musician is urging people to email their MP their own stories about living in a cold home at www.coldtimes.co.uk.
She wants them to demand government action to stop draughty British houses making people ill and worsening climate change.
The campaign was started yesterday (Thursday 13 January) with a week to go before parliamentary discussion of legislation to help insulate the nation’s homes begins.
Friends of the Earth said that the government’s current proposal would do little to keep vulnerable tenants warm.
The pressure group said that tough new laws were needed to stop landlords letting the coldest properties until they had been improved.
Properties rented from a landlord or letting agency are most likely to be the worst insulated.
A recent Friends of the Earth survey found that half of these tenants were uncomfortably cold in their homes during the big freeze.
Khan said: “We suffered the worst mould you could imagine in my student house.
“Over our two-year let it got to the point where you’d have to dodge at least 20 slugs living off the moisture in the carpet then inhale black mould spores if the steam from the shower got too much.
“The cold, draughts and dampness were pretty extreme.
“Everyone should get behind Friends of the Earth’s campaign to protect tenants in cold houses.
“It’s time to heat our homes, not the planet.”
Friends of the Earth’s Warm Homes Campaigner Dave Timms said: “No one should have to put up with renting a cold, damp home that makes them ill and costs a fortune to heat – £1 in every £4 we spend heating our homes is wasted because of shoddy insulation.
“Stopping British houses leaking heat is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to fight dangerous climate change.
“We need a new law making it illegal to let the coldest, health-hazard properties until they’re improved to a minimum energy efficiency standard.”
He also called for greater support for landlords.