Portsmouth mum given £3,000 in compensation after Vivid takes five years to fix damp and mould

A MOTHER from Portsmouth who cares for her disabled son has won £3,000 in compensation after her landlord made her wait five years for vital property repairs.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:45 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 7:54 pm

Mum-of-three Tracey Jukes said housing association Vivid 'didn't care' about reports of mould, damp and infestation at her Copnor home.

Pictures from the three-bedroom terraced house lay bare the horrific conditions her family was forced to live in as she fought with the firm.

Yet instead of offering lasting solutions to the woe, Tracey said Vivid instead urged her to wash down walls growing thick with damp.

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Damp in Tracey Jukes' Copnor bathroom, which housing association Vivid took five years to repair. Picture: CEL Solicitors

She claims the company also suggested the problems were made worse by her three pets – a budgie, a dog and a fish.

'They just didn’t care. The whole property was damp and blackened with mould, we had plaster falling off the walls and even started to get mice,’ Tracey said.

'The damp was so bad in my sons’ bedrooms we couldn’t decorate because of the mould.

'One of my sons is disabled and my partner suffers from asthma, so the damp was having a particularly bad impact on their health and was a constant concern for me.

Damp in Tracey Jukes' cupboard, which housing association Vivid took five years to repair. Picture: CEL Solicitors

'Living in these conditions for so long had a huge effect on all of us – there were constant arguments in the family which created a terrible atmosphere at home and led to me suffering from depression and stress.'

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As Vivid took no action Tracey turned to a law firm specialising is housing disrepair, CEL Solicitors, that took on her case, no-win, no-fee.

Tracey said: 'We got a settlement after only nine months and were awarded £3,000 in compensation on top of the schedule of works, which the landlord was ordered to do immediately.

Peeling plaster in Tracey Jukes' Copnor home, which housing association Vivid took five years to repair. Picture: CEL Solicitors

'Work is now nearly complete and our house is slowly becoming a liveable property.'

The mother of triplets, who has lived in the property for more than 17 years, said builders 'couldn't believe' the state of her home when they arrived to make repairs.

She has urged any tenants with the same problem not to ‘suffer in silence’.

‘I only wish we had gone to solicitors earlier to resolve the issue, but we just weren’t aware that this kind of service was available to help us,’ she said.

Peeling plaster in Tracey Jukes' Copnor home, which housing association Vivid took five years to repair. Picture: CEL Solicitors

‘I feel like our lives have been on pause for the last five years and now we can finally start to move past this and look towards the future.’

CEL Solicitors, which is based in Liverpool, said it has seen a 122 per cent increase in claims like Tracey’s over the past year.

It said landlords are ‘risking huge disrepair bills’ when the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is fully activated in March.

The changes will mean both social and private landlords have a legal obligation to ensure their properties are safe, healthy and free from hazard – including disrepair matters including damp and mould, which previously did not come under the law.

On Tracey’s claim, a spokeswoman for Vivid said: ‘Managing condensation can be difficult and can be caused due to a range of factors including lifestyle, ventilation and aspects of the build of the home.

‘We provided advice to Ms Dukes to try to help her manage the condensation in her home which was eventually resolved in October 2019 by installing an enhanced ventilation system.’