A couple say they have been left ‘trapped’ in their home because of damp and mould.
Alan Greenwood bought the property - a ground floor flat at Lockhart Court in Haywards Heath - in a shared ownership deal with Hyde Housing Association in 2007.
But, he says, the flat has been plagued with damp problems since that time and he and partner Sarah Sweatman are now at the end of their tether.
“We’re trapped,” said Alan, 34. “We can’t sell it. Every single wall in the flat is damp.”
Alan paid £96,000 for the property ten years ago and also pays rent and a service charge of £300 a month.
He said that both his health and that of partner Sarah, 30, had suffered because of the damp and mould. “We’re both on mood stabilizers for high stress and anxiety and have breathing problems.”
Alan, an aircraft engineer, said he first noticed damp on a wall soon after buying the flat. Later the flat had twice flooded with water coming through the front door after heavy rainfall. Since then the problems had continued with damp coming through the walls. “Every wall is now saturated.”
He said there were also problems with outside drains which were quickly blocked every time it rains.
Hyde Housing, he said, had sent out inspectors and carried out some damp proof work “but it’s an old Victorian building and needs a permanent damp barrier.”
But Hyde Housing spokesman Tony Morgan said: “Hyde does not own the freehold on this property and so cannot legally repair the collapsed drain which, following a survey of the drains by our specialist contractor has been confirmed as the most probable cause of the issues with damp and mould.
“We have made repeated attempts to get the freeholder to enforce their repair covenant and are now taking legal action, the only course currently open to us, to get the repair done.
“We appreciate how distressing the situation is for Mr Greenwood and have been doing everything possible to help get this resolved quickly. We’re in touch with Mr Greenwood and he is aware of our actions; we will keep him updated on progress.
“As soon as the drainage is repaired by the freeholder we will act to renew the damp proof course. In the meantime an inspection of Mr Greenwood’s property shows that, at this time, there is no water penetration through the structure of the building.”