A couple who are living with damp ‘in every wall’ of their home have hit back at their landlord.

Jillian and Tom Herworth say their home is riddled with damp and black mould, including in the kitchen and bedrooms.

The couple also fear for Tom’s health after returning from hospital after a second heart attack to the damp home, which is owned by housing association Believe Housing.

Read more: Residents on County Durham street say homes 'impossible to heat and riddled with mould'

But Believe have claimed they are keen to carry out works to solve problems with the property.

The Northern Echo: Jillian HerworthJillian Herworth (Image: PAUL NORRIS)

Jillian, 62, told The Northern Echo: “It started a year ago now with water coming through the floor. We noticed the carpet was a bit wet and damp. It kept getting worse and we ended up with black mould all over the walls.

“We kept washing it down but it wasn’t doing anything, it just kept coming back.

“Believe sent someone out and he went around with this machine and said that we’ve got damp in every wall in the house.

The Northern Echo: A picture of the damp on Jillian's walls.A picture of the damp on Jillian's walls. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

“It’s embarrassing when people come around you can smell the damp.”

Tom was in hospital last week after suffering a second heart attack. He also has a nodule on his lung and a heart condition.

“My husband was in hospital til last week after a heart attack and I just don’t know what to do,” Jillian added.

The Northern Echo: Damp in Jillian's home.Damp in Jillian's home. (Image: PAUL NORRIS)

“When he came out of hospital, I phoned Believe to tell them. He’s been sleeping in the living room since coming out of hospital because the damp isn’t as anywhere else.”

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Workers from the Durham-based housing association have been out to start removing some wall cabinets and panelling from the Herworths’ home, but Jillian says she is desperate to see the back of the property.

“They’ve been in and taken the kitchen cabinets out and stripped some of the walls but they want us to move out to do all of the work they need to.

“We’ve been told we can move into temporary accommodation or a hotel while they come in but I don’t want to come back here.

The Northern Echo: Mouldy rubble has been left blocking the gate to Jillian and Tom's home.Mouldy rubble has been left blocking the gate to Jillian and Tom's home. (Image: PAUL NORRIS)

“If we had somewhere else to stay we would just pack up and go.

“And if we try to move we’ll just be at the back of the list to bid for another place.”

Nik Turner, Executive Director of Communities and Customer Services at Believe Housing, said: “We are sorry for the issues Mr and Mrs Herworth are experiencing with their home and want to assure them we will continue to work with them to resolve them as quickly as possible.

“A surveyor visited this property after Mrs Herworth reported concerns to us about damp and mould. At that time, we treated the affected area as a temporary measure and arranged to return to carry out remedial works.

The Northern Echo:

“On 9 February we started that work, during which the removal of some fixtures and fittings from the property exposed the extent of the issue.

“The repairs were well underway when the customer asked us to stop working and leave the property.

“We are keen to return to complete the works as soon as possible.

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“The couple initially declined to move out of the property during the remedial works, but we will discuss this again during an appointment we already have arranged at the couple’s home this week. 

“We understand that a temporary move to a hotel or alternative property may be unsettling. But we can assure the couple that we would work with them to minimise disruption, including covering the costs and with support to move their belongings.

“In the meantime, we will arrange to remove any building materials left behind when we were asked to cease work onsite.”