THE walls are black with damp and there’s mould growing in the corners of every room – these are the shocking conditions that a young Southampton family have to endure on a daily basis.
Now dad Colin Simpson and his wife Samantha are demanding an end to their damp nightmare that they say is making their young son Zachary ill.
The couple, who are both part-time cleaners, are pleading with housing bosses to take urgent action and find them a new home – away from their one-bedroom flat in Tangmere Drive, Lordshill.
Now their plight has been taken up by a local councillor who is pressing the landlords to ease their misery.
Mr Simpson, 32, said: “It is downright horrible, I am worried about my son’s health and my wife is on pills for depression. We feel embarrassed about it. We have to put a brave face when people come through the door. We need to be rehoused somewhere else for the sake of our family. It is really ruining my life, I hate it.”
The couple, who pay £300 a month rent, moved into the Western Challenge Housing Association flat in 2009, and say they have seen the mould spread to every wall, ceiling and window sill in their one-bedroom flat.
The problem has got so bad that three-year-old Zachary has developed asthma and has also caught croup four times in the past two years. He now sleeps with his parents in the front room.
It has also meant that they have to regularly throw their personal belongings away because they get covered in mould – items such as photographs, toys, mattresses and a high chair have all ended in the bin.
Southampton City councillor for Coxford Don Thomas said he was shocked when he visited their flat, and he has called on Western Challenge, who own the building block, to rehome the family.
He said: “This particular Western Challenge block of flats has a history of dampness and mouldiness problems which frankly belongs back in the London 1920s slums era.
“As a matter of urgency and on health grounds Western Challenge need to move this young family out straight away, then investigate properly this repeatable problem we clearly have with this rogue building.”
A spokeswoman for Weston Challenge said they were aware of the ongoing damp and mould issue and that they were working with the tenants to resolve it. She said: “An extensive inspection of the property has been carried out and we will be meeting with the tenant to go through the results from that inspection and our recommendations.
“We are not looking at rehousing the family at the present time, but will be looking to resolve the issues.”