Former nurse’s complaint over damp Colney Heath home

A FORMER nurse struggling to cope with life in a damp-ridden bungalow in Colney Heath while suffering heart and lung problems has pleaded with the district council to move her to a home less harmful to her health.

Linda Goodchild, 59, is worried she will suffer as a consequence of the mould and damp in her St Albans district council (SADC) bungalow for the disabled in Admirals Close.

Linda has ischemic heart disease, a condition where the heart muscles are damaged or do not work efficiently, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which makes it hard to breathe.

She was recently offered the one-bedroom bungalow while living in sheltered housing for the elderly, after being classified as homeless.

In a letter to her, SADC said if Linda did not accept the bungalow, she would be served notice on her temporary accommodation at Betty Entwistle House and eviction procedures would begin.

But Linda said that it is not suitable accommodation as there is so much moisture in the cold, carpetless bungalow that the clothes in her wardrobe are constantly damp, as is her bedding.

The larder is black with mould.

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While unsure of the exact source of the damp, Linda wonders whether it is exacerbated by a stream on a neighbouring farm just metres behind the back of the bungalow, which runs underneath the property.

Also, the home has single glazing and poor ventilation.

A vent recently installed in the bathroom ceiling has no flue, expelling damp air straight into the loft cavity.

In a letter to her, the council said an inspection showed “no evidence of penetrative damp or water leaks”.

However Linda has disputed the council’s assertion that the home is habitable, and lodged a complaint with SADC.

She is also annoyed that after asking the council to move her into a two-bedroom house, to allow her son to care for her, SADC asked Linda to resubmit her medical information to a medical panel for reassessment.

In a statement to the Herts Advertiser, Joanne Turner, SADC’s tenant services and performance manager, said: “We have arranged for an independent survey of the property to be carried out to assess whether additional works are required and we await the report.”

Ms Turner added: “If a property has a condensation issue, we install vents or fans in the property to aid ventilation if required.

“When the construction of a property does not allow for a vent to be installed on external-facing brick work, venting into the roof space is often used instead. This is just as effective as direct external ventilation.

“In situations where a tenant would like to move or requires a larger property due to medical reasons we will request a medical report from their general practitioner or other relevant health professional.

“This report is then passed to our independent medical panel which will provide advice on the medical condition.

“They will consider whether the current housing is affecting the medical condition and whether alternative housing with extra facilities is needed.”