Burnley woman to take Calico to court over damp home

Calico Kate Newman

Calico Kate Newman

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A BURNLEY woman is launching a court action bid against social housing company Calico almost eight years after she first found damp in her home.

Kate Newman (48) reported the problem in her Melrose Avenue home to the landlord back in 2004.

But the Calico tenant claims vital work has still not been carried out and has issued legal proceedings against the landlord.

Calico officials say they have completed external insulation, draft exclusion and a damp proof course as well as fitting a new boiler to the house.

But Ms Newman says her home is uninhabitable and has contacted the Channel 4 show “Landlords from Hell.”

She said her kitchen, living room and toilet are riddled with damp, and mould has spread across her bathroom, kitchen walls and cupboards, living rooms and furniture.

Condensation has been dripping in the back door area, toilet and cupboard under the stairs and she finds slugs in kitchen cupboards and the bathroom.

She said: “There is damp and mould everywhere. There’s so much condensation everything is covered in mould. There are slugs sleeping in the kitchen, bathroom and on the stairs. My house is freezing cold all year. Builders have said this is the worst property they have seen .”

Ms Newman says the problems have had a huge impact on her life. She said: “I no longer invite anyone. I cannot use the kitchen, except for basics, because it is so unpleasant.

“I have had to throw away a large quantity of property as it has been damaged by damp and mould. I had to wear so many clothes in winter and wrap myself in a duvet with the fire on it was so cold inside.

“I also had to have a de-humidifier on at night all winter as my bed gets soaking wet with condensation.”

Ms Newman says she has repeatedly reported problems since 2004. A year later damp works were carried out under her stairs but Ms Newman said the damp came back as the wrong plaster was used.

She wrote a letter to the Calico chief executive in October 2008 and company inspectors were sent in and identified work that needed doing.

By February 2009 Ms Newman had involved solicitors as she said no work had been done. Contractors came in June of that year to price up work and a new roof was installed. Contractors came to perform a cavity clear but no damp works were undertaken as Ms Newman said inspectors had specified.

She brought in an independent building surveyor and he met Calico officials to resolve the issue.

Ms Newman said: “He was asking why the repairs had not been done. Now Calico say they have not been able to reach agreement with me or my solicitor. We don’t have to agree anything. They have a statutory obligation to carry out work when it is reported and they have not done it.”

She hopes the matter will finally be resolved in court.

Beth Gallagher, responsive repairs manager for Calico, said: “We have recently carried out significant works to improve this property, including external wall insulation, draft exclusion, and a new boiler and a damp proof course.

“Some minor works have been reported, but the customer has refused our staff access to the property on numerous occasions. We would be happy to visit her to resolve any outstanding issues.”

She added: “We are aware that the customer has begun legal proceedings.”