A HOUSING association has blamed damp in some of its flats on residents who do not use their heating enough.
Guinness Hermitage has been criticised for failing to treat damp problems in Solent House, Swarraton Road, West Leigh.
Those living in flats affected say their children’s health is suffering.
Despite putting the rent up by eight per cent, the housing association has not dealt with a number of flats which are so damp the walls are covered in brown mould and wallpaper peels off because they are wet.
Mum-of-one Kerry Mitchell has damp in the lounge, kitchen and both bedrooms.
The 28-year-old said: ‘I don’t think anyone should have to live like this. We get dripped on at night.
‘The bedsheets are always cold and wet and I’ve had to throw clothes away because they go mouldy.
‘We want to have another baby but it’s not fair to bring them up in this flat. My daughter Lillie-May seems to always have a cold – much more than a child of her age should.’
Dee Kilby, 50, first complained three years ago and efforts were made but the damp and mould came back ‘with a vengeance’.
Guinness then covered her windowsills in plastic because they were rotting through damp but she says nothing else has been done.
She has now called in environmental health officers from Havant Borough Council and they confirmed they are monitoring the action taken by Guinness.
She said: ‘I have to take Piriton tablets because the damp causes what can only be described as year-round hay fever – I constantly sniff and have to blow my nose.
‘When my grandchildren come to stay I give them my bed and I sleep on the floor because I can’t let them sleep in the spare room, it makes their asthma play up.’
In a statement, the housing association said it has investigated complaints and believes the damp and mould is down to ‘condensation due to domestic lifestyle’.
It added: ‘By this, we mean things such as not wiping down condensation from the inside of windows, not allowing enough ventilation when cooking or drying clothes, not opening windows and inadequate use of heating.
‘In our view, there is no evidence of any major problem of damp within these three multi-storey blocks, and it would seem that most reported incidents have been due to domestic lifestyle.
‘We will of course respond to any individual complaints of damp, investigate accordingly and, where there is an identified leak or route of water ingress, take quick remedial action.’