A County Durham man has slammed his landlord for leaving him in a damp house despite saying he first reported the issue before the pandemic.

Derek Luke’s shoes and furniture have grown mould at his one-bed bungalow in Peterlee, County Durham owned by housing association Believe Housing.

The retiree, 69, says work on his home was cancelled when the UK went into lockdown on March 23, 2020, and is yet to be complete while he fears for the impact the mould and damp could be having on his health.

He told the Echo: “It started not long after I moved in. It’s an old house that’s clearly been repaired.

The Northern Echo: Derek Luke, 69, says he first complained about the damp issue before the Covid pandemic.Derek Luke, 69, says he first complained about the damp issue before the Covid pandemic. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“They came out and did a survey and said they’d get the work done.

“The pandemic hit, and they cancelled everything. They got in touch and said because it wasn’t an emergency repair they’d have to cancel.

“I’ve been waiting for them to fix it since.

“I’ve just thrown furniture out in the sitting room and the mould’s starting to come back again.

“I’ve had clothes in the wardrobe which I can’t wear because its stained and my shoes have grown mould on them too.”

The Northern Echo: Derek's shoes have grown mould due to the damp.Derek's shoes have grown mould due to the damp. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Derek, an ex-factory worker who struggles with his mobility and has a heart condition, is now paying to run a dehumidifier to try and suck the moisture out of the room.

“I’m running a dehumidifier all the time which isn’t cheap, but it’s got the room down from 79% humid to 59%”, he added.

“I’ve got a heart condition, and I can’t walk any distance outside of the house without crutches, or inside the house for that matter.

“I can’t say the mould has definitely made me worse, but it can’t be helping.”

The Northern Echo: Derek's table has also started to go mouldy.Derek's table has also started to go mouldy. (Image: DEREK LUKE)

Pictures show black mould and damp patches on the walls while furniture is covered with a layer of white mould.

Believe Housing said it is arranging for work to be completed “at the earliest opportunity” and has been to insect the property this week.

Director of repairs at the housing association Rachel Cox said: “In 2021 we contacted all customers who had reported damp and mould to establish whether they were still having issues and rearrange any necessary work which had been postponed due to the Covid pandemic.

The Northern Echo: Black mould growing on one of the walls.Black mould growing on one of the walls. (Image: DEREK LUKE)

“Mr Luke recently reported a new issue in his home. We have visited this week and identified remedial work required to the wet room and are arranging for this to be completed at the earliest opportunity. Our specialist surveyor removed all visible mould.

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 “We take all cases of damp and mould very seriously and have robust processes in place to deal with them.

The Northern Echo: Damp patches on the walls.Damp patches on the walls. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“We proactively identify and address issues of damp and mould. We survey properties and arrange any work that is needed, as soon as possible. And we continuously assess the condition of our 18,000 homes, which vary in property types and age, to identify trends that inform our maintenance and improvement plans.

“Any customer concerned about damp or mould, or who is struggling with the cost of living or keeping their home warm, is encouraged to call us on 0300 1311 999.”