Complaints reveal damp and mould problem

Kirklees Council received thousands of complaints about damp and mould.

Kirklees Council received thousands of complaints about damp and mould.

  • Total of 3,500 complaints about damp and mould made to Kirklees Council from tenants
  • More than half of last year’s complaints were made by tenants living in North Kirklees
  • Council says damp can be confused with condensation
  • Problem has ruined tenants’ furniture, clothes, walls and windows
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Thousands of complaints about damp and mould were made to Kirklees Council in one year from tenants living in its flats and houses.

More than half of the 3,500 complaints, which were made to the council in 2014-15, were lodged by tenants living in North Kirklees who ordered repairs and said they were suffering from the problem.

Rebecca Jestico and her children, Evie and Nicholas  are having trouble being re-housed from their house, which has a number of problems, including damp.

Rebecca Jestico and her children, Evie and Nicholas are having trouble being re-housed from their house, which has a number of problems, including damp.

Some 1,619 complaints were lodged to the council by people living in Batley, Birstall, Dewsbury and the Spen Valley.

Amy Cocker, who lives in Dewsbury, says damp and mould in her flat has ruined furniture. She said: “I’ve lived in my flat for five years and I’ve had mould after mould. It has ruined all my furniture, my fridge seal is all mouldy, the windows are wet through and every morning my flat stinks of damp.”

She said her walls had been treated for damp but her flat was still cold.

The full list of reports from residents includes 419 in Batley and Birstall, 571 in Dewsbury and Ravensthorpe and 202 in Thornhill. There were also 246 from residents living in council-owned flats or houses in Cleckheaton and 181 Heckmondwike.

I’ve lived in my flat for five years and I’ve had mould after mould. It has ruined all my furniture.

Complaints in 2014-15 rose by more than 200 on the previous year.

Kirklees Council said the problem was often caused by excessive condensation, rather than damp or mould, and around half of the repair jobs were cancelled.

A council spokesperson said: “Around half of these jobs were cancelled, sometimes because surveyors could not get in to look at what needed doing, but usually because the problem was caused by excessive condensation and not by damp.

“The two are often confused, but the problems are very different with different solutions.”

“Damp is usually caused by structural defects that lead to water getting in whereas condensation, which results in mould forming, can occur if rooms are not heated for long periods of time,” the spokesperson added.

The council’s housing department is run by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH).

Tenants who report repairs are visited by a KNH surveyor, who looks for the cause of the problem and decides the best solution.

Amanda Cartwright, who lives in a ground floor flat with her partner and two children, wrote on Facebook: “We moved in to the flat in June and not long after we noticed that every window was wet every morning.

“As months have gone on we have come across things that have had mould on them and feeling damp, we have had toys and duvet covers all covered in mould which we have had to replace.”

She said two separate KNH surveyors visited her flat after she complained, but put the problem down to condensation.