Torquay neighbours living in homes with 'disgraceful' levels of damp and mould

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

A group of residents living on a road in Torquay say they fear for their health as face "horrendous" levels of damp and black mould in their homes.

People living in social housing on Happaway Close say Sanctuary Housing is not providing safe homes for them to live in.

The housing association has said it will be starting work to upgrade the properties in the coming weeks.

However residents like Marie 'Ree' Mckenzie say the way her and her neighbours have been treated is "disgraceful".

"I know [my health] is getting worse from living in this house", she said.

"My nerves are being shot. I don't know what's going to fall at me next. What's going to drop off, what's going to happen next, where the next mould's going to be.

"You know what item of stuff I'm going to have to throw away next. And to be honest, it's beyond a joke."

Black mould has formed in Mary Procter's bedroom Credit: ITV News

Ree's lung capacity is 48% because of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and she takes immunosuppressive medication.

She has been living in her 1950s bungalow for nearly a decade and says for the past two years there have been no end of problems.

The grandmother sought legal help to get the work finished to an acceptable standard and is in the middle of an environmental health investigation by Torbay Council.

"When I first rang them back in January 2021 I had three rooms full of mould", she said.

"I still have three rooms that are mouldy. I still have problems with my roof. I still have a massive, great big issue with the work that's been done because I don't feel that it's been done to the best standard."

Ree believes contractors have note correctly repaired the roof and the bungalow is still getting damp problems Credit: ITV News

These damp and mould problems continue down the street. Neighbour Mary Procter say she's also got heath worries as she's got a heart condition and a newly developed cough and her fiancé has COPD.

"It started in the bedroom over in this corner, and it's running along the side of the wall. I do have a heart monitor which is connected to the electric so I'm a bit concerned about the electric and and the mould affecting my heart."

Mary says she notified provider Sanctuary about the problems at the beginning of February but is yet to have a date for any work to be carried out.

Mould was repeated found in kitchens, pantries, bathrooms and bedrooms. Credit: ITV News

Black mould can be deadly, and following the death of two-year old Awaab Ishak, a new law tabled by the government will force social landlords to fix damp and mould within strict time limits.

Another neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, says she has lived in her home for seven years and in that time her partner's asthma has "gotten worse".

She says has same problems every year with mould but is regularly told it's a "condensation issue" and the association just washes all the mould off with a solution "but it still comes back".

Another resident of Happaway Close is Philip Baker, who although doesn't have a problem with mould has had a leak in his bathroom for nine weeks with no sign of anyone coming to fix it.

"I've gone through three mops trying to clean that damn stuff up because people go to the bathroom to use services and they don't want to be ploughing through water."

Sanctuary housing association have promised a series of repairs to homes in Happaway Close, Torquay. Credit: ITV News

Sanctuary shared a statement with ITV News West Country after hearing the residents' claims.

“We deal with any reports of damp as they are raised and book remedial work as a priority."

"A major programme of work to upgrade the roofs, windows, doors and the wall insulation in these properties is scheduled to start in the coming weeks, which forms part of our multi-million pound commitment to reinvest in our homes in the South West.”

Residents on Happaway Close have reported contractors visiting their properties since filming with ITV News.