Tenant's anger after ceiling collapse in South Shields home - man refused to pay rent in repair row

A council tenant who refused to pay his rent in a battle with South Tyneside Homes after his ceiling collapsed has hit out saying repair problems have cost him his health and left his flat “uninhabitable.”

By Lisa Nightingale
Monday, 30th May 2022, 4:55 am

David Bass says he has been in a wrangle with housing chiefs since October 2021, when he first raised issues with the roof of his single-person's flat in Cotman Gardens, Whiteleas.

But he says despite workers coming out to investigate the problem, no work was carried out.

He said resulting in a small hole increasing in size leading to the collapse of his bedroom ceiling, destroying his furniture.

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Dave Bass is having problems with South Tyneside Homes over a problem roof.

Mr Bass said his flat was also left smelling of damp due to rainwater seeping into the property.

The tenant, who works in funeral services, says he has been forced to sleep on the sofas at the home of friends after the damp became unbearable. He says the issue still has not been resolved.

And when he stopped paying rent in a last ditch effort to get something done, he says he was threatened with court action so had to reinstate his payments.

He says he has also developed breathing problems and is under a GP as a result of the damp in the property.

Dave Bass is having problems with South Tyneside Homes over a problem roof.

He said: “This has been going on since October last year. I knew there was a problem with the roof. They never came out when they said they would and the hole continued to get bigger and bigger. It took me months to get hold of someone and eventually they came out and they said they would need scaffolding and that there was a problem with the guttering.

“Weeks went by and the bedroom ceiling eventually caved in. I got in touch with South Tyneside Homes again and they admitted liability due to the fact that they didn't turn up on the day that was arranged back in October and paid out some money for the property that was damaged due to the ceiling falling in and the rain water to my belongings.

"I had asked for £600 to help cover the cost of bedding, curtains, carpets etc that were ruined, and they gave me a measley £200.”

Following the ceiling collapse, he said South Tyneside Homes re-visited the property with a contractor who agreed the flat needed a new roof.

Dave Bass is having problems with South Tyneside Homes over a problem roof.

However, after repairs were carried out, he claimed the problems of damp persisted, and after Mr Bass instructed an outside company to take a look, they found a catalogue of repairs that had not been carried out to a decent standard.

Mr Bass: “The council are saying the work has been completed. It hasn't. Inside the roof is all soaked and damaged, the whole thing needs replacing – the whole thing has been a disgrace from the start.

“The dampness has caused me no end of problems. I'm under the GP for breathing problems and now have to have steroid inhalers. I did have Covid in 2021 – but these breathing problems started long before then. I've had to have lung x-rays and CT scans.

“It has got so bad, I've even resorted to spending time at other people's homes and staying on their sofas. When I'm out of the property my breathing gets so much better – they have put it down to the damp and to the fungus spores that have developed in the property due to the damp.

“No-one should have to be forced to live like this. The whole flat is inhabitable and I'm still having to pay rent on it. So many of my belongings have been damaged. I had a TV on the wall, that came off and smashed due to the damp.

“I used to be a boxing coach and go to the gym, I've always been a fit person, but this has really knocked my fitness and has really damaged my health.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Homes said: “Officers visited Mr Bass’ property as arranged on two occasions last October and November, however they were unable to gain access.

“Following an inspection of the roof, repairs were ordered, however, these were not carried out in full by our contractor as directed and the leaking persisted.

“We have agreed to replace the entire roof for Mr Bass and are in the process of arranging suitable alternative accommodation for the duration of the works. Once he has been reaccommodated, the roof will be replaced.

“Following completion of the roof works, we have arranged for our repairs manager to assess the property to determine whether any internal repairs need to be carried out.”