Fittleworth mother’s ‘frustration’ over ten month damp problem

A mother from Fittleworth has been left ‘frustrated’ with her housing association after waiting ten months for a damp problem to be resolved.

Saturday, 21st March 2015, 5:00 pm
Emma Mitchell has had a problem with damp in her home for the last 10 months, causing damage to the floors and carpets. Emma has reading of 49% humidity and higher in some of her walls. JPCT. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150903-210012001

Emma Mitchell moved into her home run by housing association Hyde Group last April and just a few weeks later discovered a leaking pipe under one of her cupboards.

The leak was fixed four weeks ago but Mrs Mitchell said the ten month wait was unacceptable and left her son extremely ill.

She said: “I am very annoyed and frustrated. I have got a three-year-old who has been left extremely ill. He has had cold after cold and he has had flu.

“My other half has had bronchial pneumonia and the problem has not helped him get over it. No one should have to go through this, I am a mother trying to protect my family.”

Mrs Mitchell reported the problem to Hyde who sent out a surveyor, concluding it was being caused by condensation.

The company said they would call about the problem but when Mrs Mitchell phoned them in June, after not receiving a call, they said no record could be found about the issue.

She said: “They said they would phone me back. I left it until August and then September and I still hadn’t heard from them. Luckily it was so warm because of the summer it was keeping the dampness to a minimum.”

She added numerous people were sent out between October and March but the problem was not fixed. Four weeks ago she got her housing manager involved and within 24 hours it was resolved.

Mrs Mitchell now has to air out the property so she can sort the damp issues.

The carpets in the house have been ripped up and for the safety of her family she said new ones need to be laid.

She said: “If they had fixed the leak when I reported it in May there’s no way my carpets would be mouldy. Why should I have to fund the bill to have the flooring laid?

“I managed to speak to someone who said it is not Hyde’s problem it was down to my contents insurance to pay for them. ”

She added Hyde told her to speak to their insurers but even then they couldn’t guarantee she had a claim.

In response Chyrel Brown, regional director for the Hyde Group, said: “I would like to apologise to Mrs Mitchell and her family on behalf of Hyde for the length of time it took to resolve this issue.

“Although this was a complicated issue, I do understand that ten months is too long for a family to wait. Clearly this service falls well below the standards to which we aspire.

“I also understand the frustration that Mrs Mitchell feels with regard to the insurance claim.

“We do encourage all our residents to take out contents insurance cover, however, if Mrs Mitchell submits her claim in writing, quantifying her loss with supporting evidence, we will ensure our insurer prioritises the claim.

“I realise that this must seem a bureaucratic process, but unfortunately we are in the hands of our insurers. Once again, I extend my apologies for the length of time it took to resolve this issue.”