St Leonards couple with ‘black, hairy fur’ on walls get help for damp problem

A St Leonards couple who had ‘black, hairy fur’ on their walls due to damp in their flat say their housing association has solved the problem.

Georgina and William Smith, who live in Lovat Mead, said they had been reporting the damp for months to Orbit Housing Association with no resolution.

The couple, who suffer from health issues, said they had been forced to live with walls turning ‘black and furry’ after many complaints.

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Mrs Smith said: “My husband and I live in an Orbit housing flat and we have been reporting the damp in our ground floor flat for a while now.

Georgina and William Smith, who live in Lovat Mead, had been reporting the damp for months with no resolution. SUS-220427-100135001

“The first time I reported the damp it was suggested that it was my own fault for bad housekeeping. I was advised to report the leak we had from our cistern and not mention the damp. I did this and we were told that contractor would be in touch within seven working days.

“Weeks went past, and by March 23 we still had not heard so we contacted Orbit again. We were then told a contractor would be in contact within 48 working hours. We didn’t hear anything again for a couple of weeks, but the contractors eventually did attend on April 8.

“While he was here we asked him about damp in our bathroom and bedroom. He looked in the cavity and discovered damp and water coming down outside the stack pipe. He spoke to other residents and narrowed it down to a break in a water pipe. As he was here for different problem he was unable to fix the issue and we had to report this to Orbit.

“A further contractor attended on April 22 and again looked in the cavity and thought he detected sewerage which was coming from flats above us, and said the job would be done as an emergency and would be done either later that day or over the weekend.

"The situation was unacceptable. My husband and I are both in our 70s and both have health issues. The wall in our bedroom was black and furry. The floor in bathroom started lifting and possibly also elsewhere. In general, the flat absolutely stunk of sewage." SUS-220427-100627001

“We did not hear anything from them until April 26. They told us that the repairs had all been marked as completed, but that if I send over some pictures of the damp they can raise the issue with the property manager.

“The situation was unacceptable. My husband and I are both in our 70s and both have health issues. The wall in our bedroom turned black and furry. The floor in bathroom started lifting. In general, the flat absolutely stunk of sewage.”

A contractor was sent around again last week and was able to identify the broken soil pipe which was causing the damp.

Mrs Smith said that the break was behind the wash basin in their bathroom, and that the association will now pay for repairs and a new replacement carpet.

Orbit Group is a collection of housing associations which provde and manage 40,000 households in England with affordable housing. It has been approached for comment.

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