Woman's 'living nightmare' in mould-riddled Sheffield council flat

A woman from Sheffield who suffers with asthma says she is enduring a "living nightmare" in a council flat that is riddled with mould.

For the last 18 months, Suzanne Addams has been struggling to battle the grime which has taken over every room in her home.

She said she has had to resort to sleeping on the sofa because her bedroom is unbearable. Her doctor has called on the council to resolve the problems as her health worsens.

"It's a killer," she said. "Mould can kill in the end. I have health problems. They know my situation and they've just blatantly ignored me.

"I'm not eating properly. I don't want to be with anyone. It's just been a nightmare, a living nightmare.

"All my things have been ruined."

Suzanne Addams has resorted to sleeping in her living room. Credit: ITV News

Ms Addams said Sheffield City Council had suggested she get an electric air-flow machine that would be run at her expense.

She added: "They're just waiting on me to say that I want them to come and fit the ventilation system. Why should I be liable for the 24/7 electric that has got to run?

"I'll take it as far as I need to take it because they're not getting away with this."

The mould has grown on the walls and floors Credit: ITV Calendar

6,000 awaiting repairs

At a full Sheffield City Council meeting it was revealed that 5,922 council households need overdue repairs, with tenants facing an average wait of 22 days between February and April this year.

The longest wait was more than two years for a tenant wanting their front fire door to be made safe.

Douglas Johnson, chair of the housing committee, said the demand had spiralled during the pandemic.

He said: "A lot has been achieved in terms of repairs to our council homes, but we know we have more to do. New repair requests continue to be 25% above pre-pandemic levels but despite this the service is working hard to clear the backlog of works and to improve our response times.

"We carry out over 2,200 repairs and respond to over 350 emergency repairs in our council homes every week. In the last 3 months our overdue repairs list has reduced by 30%, from 8,360 to 5,922, which is a good sign, but we acknowledge that we must continue to improve and at a faster rate.”

Mould has taken over every room in the house.

Commenting on Ms Addams's case, Tom Smith, the council's director of direct services, said: "We apologise for the delays to the work needed at this property. A survey has been carried out by our specialist damp contractor and based on this we are working with the tenant to find a solution they are happy with. Once agreed, we will carry out the necessary work as soon as possible."

Ms Addams situation comes as the government brings forward legislation designed to better protect social housing tenants.

The new Social Housing Regulation Bill may mean that landlords could face unlimited fines and Ofsted-style inspections if it is approved in parliament.

Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, said: "We've got to have a full review to find out what went with this case and to look at the housing repair service to make sure the people of Sheffield get the service that they need and deserve."

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