Privately-owned Windsor House, in Canal Walk, Landport, hit the headlines earlier in the year because of its shocking condition – with some flats overrun by thick black mould.
Residents raised a raft of serious complaints, including walkways littered with rubbish and needles from drug taking, a broken front door allowing homeless people to sleep rough in communal areas, and flat ceiling collapsing due to leaks and damp.
Now the council is working to rehouse some residents from the 37 flats, as the building continues to deteriorate – with residents facing increased fly-tipping around the building, dead mice littering the hallways, and a resurgence of rough sleeping and drug taking.
‘Nothing’s really changed’, said Ian Knight, whose bathroom has been covered in mould from damp and leaks.
He said: ‘It’s still leaking in the bathroom, it’s still cold, I’m still worried
‘I was told they would come in and fix the problems but no one has seemed to done anything.’
‘I’m annoyed, it feels like everything has been forgotten about.’
Over the past fortnight, more than a dozen people have broken into the building to sleep rough and take drugs in the communal corridors, according to resident Leah Hardwick.
The mother-of-one said: ‘It’s been hell on earth the last few weeks.
‘I cannot wait to get out – I don’t know how it’s got so bad.’
Leah is among four residents who have secured social housing thanks to support from Portsmouth City Council, which has registered seven residents on a housing waiting list.
Two other tenants have been offered assistance with rent in advance and deposits to access other private rented properties.
The News’ expose of the building’s shocking state prompted a promise to improve conditions from a businessman linked to the ownership of Windsor House, but it is believed that the company that possessed the freehold is no longer active.
The businessman – Todd Hyatt - was approached for comment.
Portsmouth City Council is now working to resolve the issues around the building’s freehold, according to a spokeswoman from the local authority.
She said: ‘We have inspected all flats where concerns have been raised, and formal enforcement notices have been served for several flats.
‘We are liaising with the Crown Estate and the leaseholders, for the freehold ownership to be resolved.
‘We have also met residents to explain our actions and to continue to offer our support.’
Councillor Cal Corkery said: ‘The freehold issue needs to be resolved. There’s no one identifying as the building owner. It’s not acceptable to leave people living in these conditions for months.’