When Dennis and Christine Earle undertook a house swap that saw them move into a Hampshire bungalow they believed it would be their dream retirement home.

But instead it has been the house swap from hell as they found their two-bedroom home in Hythe is riddled with mould.

Their nightmare started in 2012 when they moved from South Woodford in London to Cedar Road, the move was done through Hyde Martlet, who approved it.

At first they believed the bungalow’s problems could be sorted with DIY.

However, within six months they discovered the true extent of the mould that started to surface in every corner and crevice of their home.

The couple have thrown away hundreds of pounds worth of furniture including items like wardrobes, beds and clothes.

Former oil rig worker Mr Earle 66, has tried everything to get rid of the mould, including cleaning the house from top to bottom and repainting every room.

It got so bad that Mrs Earle, 69, who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (COPD), found it was making her condition worse, which meant she moved to Bognor Regis for periods of time to stay with her sister.

Doctors from Forestside Medical Practice in Dibden Purlieu have also advised housing bosses at Hyde Martlet to move them out because of the mould.

In May last year, an independent surveyor inspected the bungalow on behalf of Hyde Martlet.

That said the home needed a complete carpet and floor covering replacement, and recommended that the tenants should be provided with an air filtering system and a dehumidifier – but none of this has been done.

Mr Earle said: “We can’t live here any longer. We have had to go on at them to do this and that and it hasn’t been done.

“It has made my wife’s health get much worse and I am worried about her.”

“Why should we have to live like this?”

The couple want to move, but say they won’t until Hyde Martlet compensate them for damages that have occurred to floor coverings and other losses through mould repairs. They have taken legal advice against the company.