Not just flooding... weather’s to blame for a rise in mould

NOT HAPPY Paula Huntley in the bedroom of her home in April Square, Portsmouth. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14504-276)
NOT HAPPY Paula Huntley in the bedroom of her home in April Square, Portsmouth. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14504-276)
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BAD weather has seen a huge increase in damp and mould problems in homes.

People living in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas have complained to housing associations after damp has caused black mould to grow on their ceilings.

First Wessex alone has seen a 384 per cent increase on last year.

And throughout Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant, the housing association has seen at least three times as many problems this year, compared with the same period last year.

They are putting the massive increase down to the recent spate of wet weather.

Hazel Warwick, asset management director at First Wessex, said: ‘In 2013, we witnessed a significant reduction in damp-related repairs due to the work we completed to tackle the issue.

‘However, in January 2014, we experienced a 384 per cent increase in damp related repairs, compared to the monthly average in 2013, mainly due to adverse weather conditions.

‘First Wessex is taking measures to reduce condensation and damp in our residents’ homes.’

Portsmouth City Council has also seen an increase in damp-related cases, although its figures for mould have remained steady.

Figures from this year show an increase of 20 per cent from last year on damp-related problems.

But residents are finding it difficult to deal with the rising issue.

Paula Huntley, from April Square, Landport, has had black mould growing on her ceiling for months.

Since Christmas, it has got worse.

The 51-year-old said: ‘The mould in my bedroom is awful and I can no longer stay in there.

‘I’m in the spare bedroom waiting for the housing association to clear the mould.

‘Since the weather turned horrid, I’ve definitely seen more mould growing and I don’t know what to do.

‘I’ve been following advice given but nothing has changed.’

For Natasha Reilly the mould in her Hamilton Road house, in Paulsgrove, has got so bad she is no longer living there.

She added: ‘My children and I were getting sick so we had to move out.

‘It’s terrible and no-one should have to live in those conditions.’

HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS GIVE TIPS TO STOP PROBLEM

THE number of homes with damp-relates problems has gone up more than 300 per cent in the last year.

Housing associations First Wessex and Portsmouth City Council have seen the number of reported cases increase across Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.

Year on year, First Wessex has seen a 384 per cent increase.

In Portsmouth, its average monthly repairs went from 18 to 65. In Havant, it increased from three to 21. Gosport cases went up from four to 16 and in Fareham they increased from three to 19.

Portsmouth City Council has seen a 20 per cent increase in damp-related cases with 1,407 during 2012/13 and 1,688 for 2013/14. Mould cases have increased by 44 from 951 to 994.

Both First Wessex and the council give advice on preventing mould.

· Reduce the amount of water vapour in the air.

· Keep good ventilation.

· Keep your house warm.

· Keep furniture away from the walls to allow air to circulate.

· Don’t dry clothes on radiators.

· Use lids on pans when cooking.

For more information visit portsmouth.gov.uk