A Darwen mum has told of the ‘anxiety and distress’ caused by ongoing extensive damp and mould issues in a property she rents out.
The house, which is managed by a major estate and letting agent, in Nancy Street, Darwen, is beset with ongoing problems, with rotting door frames and rats causing further misery for the mum and her three-year-old daughter.
Despite these issues - which have been going on for several years - the landlord has raised the rent by £40 to £420 a month.
The letting agent, Entwistle Green, said it is liaising with tenants to resolve any issues.
The situation came to light after the woman's father contacted the Lancashire Telegraph as a ‘last resort’ and said the property was not ‘fit for a dog to live in’.
Entwistle Green, which manages the property on behalf of a landlord, was asked if it has any policies in place to ensure vulnerable families are protected against living in properties in this state.
It was also asked to explain what work it had done and whether this property was fit to be rented out to a tenant.
The company, which took over managing the property last Spring, responded by saying it would ‘actively liaise with the tenant to resolve the concerns highlighted’.
The mum, who did not wish to be named, said: “I originally complained to the landlord a few months after I moved in due to a draining problem in my back garden that was bringing up toilet waste.
"There were also other issues which were minor at the time.
“The draining problem took over a year to get resolved, as did getting the bathroom door put back on after it fell off.
“After decorating the property I then started to see damp coming through in the kitchen, and the wall began to get wet to the touch; then I noticed all the other problems.
”I reported these regularly to the landlord and she would not respond, or would say she will send people out but never did, and that was over two years ago.
“Then she informed me Entwistle Green would be taking over and to report faults to them so I've been doing that since January last year.
“They have made no effort to resolve any issues, they have let the damp to get worse and spread, and the wood to just rot.
“I've sent several emails to Entwistle Green and got nowhere.
“I had to get in touch due to now having no heating and also flagged other issues.
"I was told they have been in contact with the landlady who is refusing to do repairs or send anyone to my property until she makes contact with my next-door neighbour, as she is under the impression the problems are due to next door's gutter.”
The woman said the property has rotten wood, damp in the kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedrooms, a hole in the ceiling above the stairs, a rat problem and problems with the locks.
She said living in the property was a ‘nightmare’ and had been in touch with Blackburn with Darwen Council Housing Standards who had visited the property recently.
“I feel like I am at constant battle with people to resolve issues," she said.
“I can’t make the house a home and decorate due to the amount of damp. After reading in the news about a child dying due to damp in their bedroom my anxiety was through the roof as my daughter lives with me and there is damp in her room. This was also making her ill and she kept getting chest infections.
“It made me feel like I was failing as a mother due to us having a house unfit to live in.
“I also have rodents in the house that have in the past eaten my food, and again I got no help after reporting this.
“The whole experience has had such an impact on my mental health and is just very draining.
"I have always been a good tenant and never missed my rent, and I feel like I am keeping my side of the tenancy but they are not.
“This was mine and my daughter's first home and was meant to be that a home, but we have had nothing but problems and now it is getting unbearable,
“Unfortunately, I can't afford to move so feel like I am stuck here in an unfit house.”
A spokesperson for Entwistle Green said: "Entwistle Green has managed the property since May and took action as soon as the issue was reported.
"We act on behalf of the landlord and continue to actively liaise with the tenant to resolve the concerns highlighted.”