'Damp walls are making me ill' says Derbyshire tenant waiting three years for problem to be fixed

A woman says problems with her house are making her ill – and her landlord has still not fixed them more than three years after they were first reported.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:51 pm

Shelley Thornley moved into the 160-year-old cottage in the centre of Riddings in December 2017 – but by March 2018 it had developed mould and damp problems.

And despite repeated calls to landlord The Guinness Partnership, the problems have still not been fixed.

Guinness has apologised and said the problem was proving “difficult to diagnose”.

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Miss Thornley said: “It’s been going on too long. It affects your mental health and I’ve developed breathing difficulties.

“I moved here in December 2017, by March 2018 the bedroom walls were going black with damp and mould.”

“In June, the walls were that wet and swollen the windows wouldn’t open.”

The 42-year-old hospitality worker said, on one occasion, a team came out to investigate the roof of the two-bedroom cottage, which dates back to the 1860s – and it began leaking after they left.

Large damp patches appeared in the home.
Large damp patches appeared in the home.

Miss Thornley said: “This caused plaster in both bedrooms to fall off. They have repaired the roof five times, but it’s still leaking in the same area.

“I had them back in January, for the eighth time, but am still waiting for a timeframe to get it resolved.

“They painted both bedrooms with anti-mould paint last November, but within eight weeks mould was back. The paint peels off in strips, it’s so wet.

“It’s stressful. You can’t get your house looking nice because of the issues.

Water marks in the corner of a room.

“I’d just like the work done to a good standard.”

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Nesting birds delay work

A Guinness Partnership spokesman said: “We’ve been working with Miss Thornley to address the issue and have completed a number of repairs to her home.

Damp patches on the ceiling.

“These have not resolved the issue, which has been difficult to diagnose.

“We believe the ongoing issue to be caused by a slow leak in the chimney.

“Work to the chimney in 2020 was delayed due to nesting birds and an inability to gain access at a number of visits.

“We are engaging with the local conservation officer regarding further work which may be required to the chimney, as Miss Thornley’s home is in a conservation area.

“We have paid Miss Thornley a reasonable sum in compensation, nevertheless we apologise to her for ongoing delays.”

Damp around a window frame inside the property.

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Paint is peeling off the walls due to the damp.