‘Move me out’ pleads tenant living with black mould

Fungus has invaded top floor flat in Honiton.

A Honiton council tenant says he would rather be moved than have work to remedy black mould carried out while he remains in his flat.

Paul Crewe, 47, of Custance House, says a ceiling will have to be replaced and that he fears asbestos will be disturbed during the works.

The mobile caretaker for a local authority has been fighting a losing battle with the mould and last week told The Herald he has had enough.

“I had a back operation a couple of weeks ago and I’m struggling with the stairs to my top floor flat. It would make more sense for me to be moved and the work carried out while the flat is empty,” he said.

The district council is inviting him to discuss a possible move to a ground floor property.

Mould became a nightmare for Mr Crewe around four years ago.

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“It has got worse since plastic window frames were installed,” he said.

“I have got to leave my windows open - even in the winter.

“I’m not going to do any more to the flat, because it is money down the drain.”

Council officials were shown around the flat by Mr Crewe’s aunty while he was in hospital.

“The ceiling has to come down, not be painted over,” he said. “The council has agreed the work has to be done, but they want me to stay in the flat while it is carried out.

“I am worried asbestos will be disturbed. It is a small, one bedroom flat and they want me to move into one room.

“I am struggling with the stairs and I have sent the council a letter from my doctor saying the flat is no longer suitable for my needs.”

A spokesman for East Devon District Council said: “This tenant has been living in the flat since 1998 and we have always resolved any issues that have cropped up over that period.

“More recently, we have been looking into concerns about mould and dampness.

“An officer attended the flat on July 13 and arranged for repairs to an extractor fan.

“He also agreed to have the bathroom ceiling renewed and to carry out some insulation work on the upper walls. These works were to have been carried out while the tenant was in hospital, but were put on hold when a relative advised that mobility problems might prevent the tenant moving back into the flat.”

The spokesman added: “Work on the loft has been done, as this does not need access from the flat itself.

“The remainder of the works can be done pretty soon, but we would need to work round the tenant.

“Most of the mould is caused by condensation and there are some measures the tenant can take himself to improve the situation.

“We are waiting to hear from the tenant’s relative so that we can resume and complete the works.

“If there is an issue about the tenant wishing to move to a ground-floor flat, he would need to discuss this with us so we can assess his needs and see if alternative accommodation might be available.”

The Midweek Herald was shown around Mr Crewe’s flat on Thursday last week and noted mould throughout the property, particularly in the bathroom and lounge.