A Hull woman who says she has endured a decade long battle with bugs, damp and mould in her house, has been forced to pay her rent after refusing to do so for six months.

The woman, who does not want to be named, claims it all started when she moved into her council house in 2009 and found needles in the back garden.

After these were cleared by environmental health, the woman said problems inside the house then started to appear.

She said: "The council wouldn't move the needles because of health and safety.

"Environmental health came and got them in the end. I've been complaining for ten years about the damp in the house but nothing has got done."

Needles were found in the garden when the woman first moved in ten years ago
Needles were found in the garden when the woman first moved in ten years ago

The woman said her two young sons, aged 10 and six, now suffer with asthma which she says is made worse by the damp and mould in the house.

She eventually visited her solicitor, who took on the case, which she says was settled with a pay out from the council and the work was completed.

But when the problems returned, she said the council did not carry out any repair work until she refused to pay rent - but now, she is being taken to court. 

She said: "I went through my solicitors and when they settled, the council came and sorted the damp. I had to live upstairs while they did it because they didn't provide accommodation and I didn't have anywhere else to go.

She said bugs have been found
She said bugs have been found

"It's come back but they refused to do anything about it, so I stopped paying my rent in September and because of that they came out and started doing something.

"I thought 'well that's great' and then I got a call saying they are waiting for a court date to come through because I've not been paying my rent."

She said that the workmen are soon to be starting to sort the house out but she will again have to live upstairs while the work gets done and will have to take time off work.

She needs sealing around the window replacing
She needs sealing around the window replacing

The woman said mould and damp is on her bedroom ceilings and the sealing around several windows needs replacing - but she is not sure what work is getting done when the workmen arrive.

 

The woman said: "They've sent me times and dates of when they are coming but haven't sent me a letter about what they are going to do.

"I called and they said they spoke to me about it yesterday and to book it in but they haven't. The workmen have left stuff outside ready to use.

"I don't know what's going on and I will have to get time off work to make sure I'm in.

The ceiling has damp on it
The ceiling has damp on it

"When they fixed it the first time it was 2016. I only decorated the boys' room in July last year and the damp has come straight back through.

"The council have even turned around and said if I wasn't in arrears I could try and get a move but I wouldn't be in that situation if they just got it sorted."

She also said the house is plagued by bugs and flies.

 

The mum-of-two said: "My boys sit and squash the bugs like it is normal. I can't stand them and I can't use the kitchen cupboards because of the bugs running around in them.

"I can't cope with this anymore and I feel like all I'm doing is sleeping there and going to work, it's not like a home.

She said her sons have developed asthma
She said her sons have developed asthma

"I feel like giving my house up. But I can't afford to rent privately. It's so bad and I've had enough. I can’t live like this anymore. At night I go to bed scratching my arms making them bleed because of the bugs and the stress.

"I just think it is wrong that I have to pay rent for a house that is not a home."

A County Court hearing was held on Wednesday, March 13, where the woman was told that she would have to pay her rent.

 

What Hull City Council say

Hull City Council first made a comment on the issue six weeks ago, saying that a full property survey was carried out on the house in 2016, and new reports of damp have since been investigated.

The spokeswoman said: "A full property survey was carried out to the home in 2016 which identified a number of repairs which were agreed by her legal adviser and completed at the time.

The woman has had enough
The woman has had enough

"Reports of damp have also been investigated and found to be caused by condensation caused by the tenant and not as a result of a defect in the property.

"She has been given advice on how to control humidity levels in her home to reduce compensation and the council has also agreed to carry out some additional works to help reduce condensation forming which are due to be completed in the near future.

"We expect all tenants to pay the rent for the property they occupy and where tenants chose not to pay rent we always take action."

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