'I've been reporting damp for five years': Chesterfield mum with asthma issues plea to sort out her council house covered in mould
A Chesterfield mum with asthma has issued an urgent plea to the council to sort out her home – after reporting issues with damp for the last five years.
Tammi Evans, 31, who is a full time carer for her son with autism, moved into her council-owned property in Newbold in 2013 but is now worried how much longer they can live there as she said her walls are ‘falling in’ due to excessive damp and mould.
The mother and her eight-year-old son both have severe asthma and Tammi is fearful about the impact the damp and mould in her home, which causes her carpets to be constantly wet so they have to wear shoes in the house, will have on their health.
She said she first started reporting the problems five years ago when it ‘wasn’t as bad’ but now the issues have escalated to the point where plaster is falling off behind her kitchen cabinets and mushrooms are growing out of the walls.
“Every time I have rung the council I always get told it's not on our record that you have reported it, I'm absolutely fed up”, Tammi added.
The 31-year-old previously bought damp paint to cover the wet patches and treat it herself without bothering Chesterfield Borough Council but the damp has got worse.
Tammi said the local authority previously made an appointment to come out in January of this year but it was cancelled due to the third Covid-19 lockdown.
Chesterfield Borough Council advise residents to keep their homes well heated and ventilated to prevent mould which they say is often caused by condensation in the home.
The local authority also maintain that damp and mould is present in less than 1.7% of their council properties.
But the prolonged mould and damp are making it difficult for the 31-year-old and her son to continue to live in the property and Tammi is worried she will have to move out when repairs are arranged, which is likely to cause distress to her eight-year-old who has autism.
"Every time it rains I've got water coming down my walls, I've actually had to cover a hole at the bottom of my stairs with a bin bag because it is falling into the house”, she continued.
"We've got floorboards under the bath that are rotten so now I've got to have a new bathroom, I've got to have a new shed roof, plaster in my kitchen, in my toilet, it is horrible.
"It is embarrassing, I feel helpless because I just don't know what to do anymore and I can't afford to have somebody in to repair it.
"I don't want to move out of my house, with my son being autistic he doesn't cope very well with change.
"It is a never ending battle with the damp.”
The Newbold mother’s concern comes after Hollie-Mai Squires shared she feared about the health of her young children after mould started growing in her overcrowded one-bedroom council flat in Kirkstone Road, Dunston.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “I am very conscious that we haven't got enough family sized council flats or houses in Chesterfield, particularly houses.
"This is a national problem, partially caused by the fact that we have a Government which promotes the Right To Buy council houses but makes it very expensive for councils to build new ones.
"We have as many as 10 people for every vacant council house and so there is a real problem with getting access to the number of properties that we have.
"It is my view that only suspended Right To Buy on new council properties would enable us to get enough council houses built.
"There is a need for people to do everything they can to ensure their properties are ventilated but there is also a need, as we come out of lockdown for the council to catch up on a considerable backlog of serious housing repairs of this kind."
Chesterfield Borough Council’s service director for housing Liz Cook commented: “We prioritise the health and wellbeing of our tenants and take all reports of damp and mould seriously, with our dedicated team working with tenants to try and resolve issues as quickly as we can.
"This is often caused by condensation in the home, and we advise tenants on steps they can take to avoid this, which includes making sure houses are well heated and ventilated.
“We understand that this is an issue for the families affected, but fortunately this is not a widespread problem that is reported in our homes.
"We are currently looking into cases of reported damp and mould in less than 1.7% of council properties.
"We’re also making improvements to our homes to make them more energy efficient and help stop problems like this arising in the first place.
“When we receive a report of damp our mould, our team will investigate and carry out a specialist survey and complete any necessary repairs.
"This might include upgrading existing fans, carrying out a fungicidal wash treatment or installing improved ventilation measures.
“We urge council tenants to keep reporting any issues to us as soon as possible so we can arrange for a member of the team to visit as soon as possible and carry out the repairs.
"Tenants can report any issues by emailing [email protected] or calling 0800 587 5659 during office hours or 01246 345041 outside of office hours in an emergency.
“The council is committed to improving council housing across the borough and has a number of ongoing investment programmes which include external wall insulation, roof replacements and installation as well as new windows and doors.
"Our capital programme shows that we are committed to improving our properties to ensure they meet the needs of the people of Chesterfield, as well as actively contributing to the climate change agenda by ensuring all homes are energy efficient.”