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Damp council flat in Pennard House causes health problems for South Oxhey resident
A South Oxhey woman has hit out at the condition of her flat, saying constant damp has resulted in health problems.
Linda Fellows, 56, lived in the flat in Pennard House, Oxhey Drive, for seven years but recently moved out having bought her own home in the area.
She says the flat was riddled with damp when she rented it from Three Rivers District Council and little changed when the housing stock was taken over by Thrive Homes with numerous complaints from her and her partner went unanswered.
She said: "When I moved in seven years ago I was homeless, had no job and mental health problems and I just accepted the damp.
"Since then I have got a job and things have changed for me so now I am moving out.
"I used to complain every week but just gave up in the end.
"We have written so many times before but nothing is done about it. It is no good us individually doing anything."
Ms Fellows, who now works at mental health charity Guideposts Trust in Estcourt Road, Watford, says she has also suffered health implications as a result of the damp conditions.
"My health was deteriorating because of the mould in my flat and the Doctor said it was caused by mould spores.
"I have developed asthma since I moved into the flat.
"Someone told me yesterday other blocks are even worse but as individuals they are not listening to us.
"My partner wrote to them every week, at least 20 times. They plastered over the top of the mould and put in a vent but these things aren’t going to make a big difference.
"They tell us is it’s our own fault because we don’t open the windows but we do."
"I am moving out on Sunday at which point someone else will be moved in and that is a concern because it is a ground floor flat so the next occupants may be elderly people or those with children or babies.”
The flat is one of 98 due to be demolished as part of the South Oxhey Initiative at which point all residents are expected to be provided with alternative accommodation in the area.
Three Rivers District Council is currently carrying out a second round of tendering to find a potential developer for the site and work seems likely to begin in 2014.
Due to the uncertain future of the block, Thrive confirmed no major improvement works would be carried out in the affected area other than repair work related to health and safety.
A Thrive spokesman said: "All 4100 Thrive properties meet the national Decent Homes Standard, following an enhanced improvement programme undertaken by Thrive Homes in its first three years.
"Condensation can occur in certain types of housing such as Pennard House; this is not the same as damp and can be controlled with lifestyle changes such as increasing ventilation to the home.
"The most recent contact we have had from Ms Fellows’ about possible damp in her property was in 2010.
"We have a specific customer leaflet with advice about dealing with condensation in the home and how to prevent it which has been given to all residents, and is available online."
Jo Barrett, Operations Director at Thrive Homes said: "I would encourage any Thrive residents with concerns about their tenancy or home to please get in touch with our customer service centre on 0800 917 6077 and we will do our best to help."