“Damp house is affecting our health” insist tenants

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A CRUDEN Bay couple whose council house is covered with damp are at their wits’ end, claiming the council has failed to remedy the problem.

Charles Watt (48), says he has contacted Aberdeenshire Council repeatedly asking it to rid his house of damp or find him and his wife Sarah (51) somewhere else to live.

But the tenant of the one-bedroomed flat in Castle Woods feels he has been “fobbed off” by the council since noticing black mould spots about two years ago.

The council sent an inspector to look at the house but the clerk of works said the black marks and wet patches around the windows were just condensation, not rising damp.

Charles said: “It was a really quick visit. He didn’t seem to take the time to look properly. He kept saying he couldn’t understand why it looked like there was damp. And I though, well it looks like damp because it is damp.”

The couple both have asthma which they say is getting worse because of the damp air.

The clerk of works advised that the Watts keep their heating on and open the windows.When this didn’t help, Charles contacted the council again.

Small vents were fitted to the roof and floor in the bedroom wardrobe, but Charles maintains this has made no difference.

Charles insists his tenancy agreement says that the council has an obligation as landlords to “carry out repairs including, where appropriate, replacement, addition or provision of insulation, ventilation or heating systems so that feature is not a cause of condensation or dampness”.

The Watts say they have asked to be moved but under the council’s points based housing allocation system, they do not qualify as they are “already adequately housed in terms of size of accommodation”.

Charles says that he and Sarah have been sleeping in the living room for the past few months because the bedroom is uninhabitable.

He said: “We have had to rip up the carpet in the bedroom and throw out a lot of our clothes as they are ruined with the smell of damp.I am at my wits’ end.”

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “We are aware of the concerns raised in connection with this property and have been in discussions with the couple concerned.

“A number of works have already been undertaken, including an upgrade of loft insulation, and insulation within the bedroom. Some minor works, including repairs to a bathroom fan and a kitchen tap, are being progressed.We advise tenants to ensure properties are properly heated and ventilated to help address such problems. Although the heating system in the property is not currently due for upgrade, we have contacted health specialists to see if it should be replaced on medical grounds.

“The housing service is arranging for a full structural survey to assess if there are any issues concerning the property, and we will continue to monitor the situation. We would also be happy to arrange for an independent energy body to carry out an assessment and provide advice.”