by Tom Martin (August 2022)

A SOUTHPORT resident who has suffered for years due to untreated mould and damp in his flat is calling for more powers to be given to tenants to help get vital repair work done.

Asthmatic Anthony McCarthy, 62, moved into his new flat on Part Street in 2018 and was initially impressed with its appearance, describing it as “pristine” because it had recently been painted.

However, the paint soon began to peel away and over several years it became clear that the property was riddled with damp issues, with it affecting his lounge, bedroom and bathroom. There is also vegetation growing into the walls of the building, causing moisture to seep through into the flat.

The situation is now so bad that Anthony claims the damp in one room covers the entire wall and has damaged some of his furniture.

Anthony, who suffers from bronchial asthma, says the deterioration of the flat is now “unbearable” and it’s now affecting his health as he finds it difficult to breathe.

He claims to have contacted his landlord on multiple occasions but has “so far been ignored.” This is despite Sefton Council also contacting the landlord to request that the flat be repaired.

The council has told the Champion that they are “now considering taking formal action” against the landlord, which could lead to court prosecution and a fine of up to £30,000. Anthony believes more needs to be done to protect tenants and  wants to raise awareness of his own situation in the hope of helping others.

He told the Champion: “What is happening to me it just one example. This is a much broader issue because there will be other homes in Southport with similar issues. It won’t just be me. There needs to be something in place that helps tenants who are living in these conditions because it’s not right.”

According to Citizens Advice, a landlord is the person responsible for the structure and exterior of the property and this should be written into any tenancy agreement.

However, Anthony has hit a brick wall with his pleas to the landlord and doesn’t know where to turn.

He said: “The property is in serious disrepair and needs to be dealt with immediately. It’s impacted my health because I’m not getting enough oxygen and my GP has advised me to get out of the flat. I’m not sleeping well and it’s caused me so much stress.

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“I’ve had to throw out a cupboard and clothes because of the damage caused by the severe damp .

“I’ve written to the landlord but get no reply. I’ve never even met him before. It’s wrong what is happening to me. Tenants need to be given more protection and there needs to be a proper campaign about this.”

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “Since being made aware of the issues within this flat, we have tried to work with the landlord, informally, to get the matter resolved in line with our Housing Standards enforcement procedure.

“However, despite us being in regular contact with them, the landlord has not responded to this approach, so we are now considering taking formal action.

“In addition, we have worked with Mr McCarthy on his application to Property Pool Plus to find alternative accommodation.

“The council tries to work with landlords to resolve issues like this but if they refuse to make the required improvements, we will take action against them.

“This can be in the form of a formal Notice, which if not complied with can result in either prosecution or the service of a Civil Penalty Fine notice up to a maximum of £30,000.”

The Champion has attempted to contact the landlord for comment.

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