Grandparents hit out at condition of new council home

Susan and Bernard Zawilinski in the mouldy bathroom of their council home in Headington. Picture: OX56472 Jon Lewis

Susan and Bernard Zawilinski in the mouldy bathroom of their council home in Headington. Picture: OX56472 Jon Lewis Buy this photo

First published in Oxford Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

GRANDPARENTS Susan and Bernard Zawilinski weren’t dreaming of a damp Christmas when they moved into their new council bungalow.

But the couple has just spent the festive season in their mouldy home after complaining Oxford City Council failed to act on their complaints.

Now the damp has turned black mould, spores are coming off the walls and Mrs Zawilinski said she felt unable to make herself feel at home.

She said: “It’s horrible. We go to sleep knowing we’ve got these little spores everywhere and we’re breathing them in.

“I can’t do anything in here, I can’t make it nice, it’s affected every room. We came here for a better life, for health reasons, but it’s a nightmare.”

Mr and Mrs Zawilinski, both 60, moved in to the bungalow in Three Fields Road, Headington, in September after health problems forced them out of their third-floor flat in Barton.

Mrs Zawilinski has problems with her knees and was struggling with the stairs at their old flat, so a new start was on the cards.

But Mrs Zawilinski, a carer, said: “People kept saying to me it was damp and that people hadn’t wanted to live there in the past because of the problems.

“When the guy came in to put our carpets down he told us it was damp behind the skirting boards. We told the council and they said they would come and deal with it.

“They found out there was a leak coming from the bath, so they eventually sorted that out and gave us a dehumidifier for a month, but it had all started coming through the ceiling and the walls.”

She said the council had promised to sort out the problem and clean the black mould off their walls and ceilings in October, but nothing had been done.

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The couple’s son Karl accused the council of hypocrisy after stories were published about the authority punishing private landlords for the state of their properties.

He said:“It is disappointing to see that the council are taking independent landlords to court but are not looking after their own tenants and setting a good example.

“The damp is still spreading, the front and rear doors are more difficult to close, the damp is now present around the rear windows and bedroom ceiling.

“This has been going on for a couple of months now, the damp has turned black, the spores are falling onto the floor.”

City council executive member for housing Scott Seamons said: “There are problems with mould in some of our properties due to their age and design, and in some cases poor upkeep by previous tenants.

“This does seem like a particularly bad example and I will ensure officers look at the problem again.”

Like a private landlord, the council is responsible for the upkeep of the buildings it owns, unless the damage is the fault of the tenant. In some cases, tenants get permission to carry out their own repairs, but this can often mean they have to take the responsibility and the blame for further problems.

Comments (4)

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7:27am Thu 3 Jan 13

emma2120 says...

this is nothing unsall council are good at it my mate just moved in to her new home damp upstairs and down ... shes got them commin out next week i'll tell her to call in if its not sorted out!!!
this is nothing unsall council are good at it my mate just moved in to her new home damp upstairs and down ... shes got them commin out next week i'll tell her to call in if its not sorted out!!! emma2120
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Thu 3 Jan 13

sittinginabox says...

Why is it relevant that they are grandparents?
Why is it relevant that they are grandparents? sittinginabox
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Thu 3 Jan 13

carfax cabby ox1 says...

There is just no pleasing some people, they get a massively subsided place to live and moan moan moan. I pay £1,450 a month in rent, and have been told it is a waste of time being on the waiting/bidding list for a council place, my god what I could do with the extra grand a month I would save on rent, the first being not complaining and paying somebody to sort it out. Do those pictured want to swap with me? No damp here.
There is just no pleasing some people, they get a massively subsided place to live and moan moan moan. I pay £1,450 a month in rent, and have been told it is a waste of time being on the waiting/bidding list for a council place, my god what I could do with the extra grand a month I would save on rent, the first being not complaining and paying somebody to sort it out. Do those pictured want to swap with me? No damp here. carfax cabby ox1
  • Score: 0

11:23pm Thu 3 Jan 13

SteveOX4 says...

"City council executive member for housing Scott Seamons said: “There are problems with mould in some of our properties due to their age and design, and in some cases poor upkeep by previous tenants. "

And in private rentals nothing can ever be blamed on poor upkeep by the tenants. Well according to the council anyway.
"City council executive member for housing Scott Seamons said: “There are problems with mould in some of our properties due to their age and design, and in some cases poor upkeep by previous tenants. " And in private rentals nothing can ever be blamed on poor upkeep by the tenants. Well according to the council anyway. SteveOX4
  • Score: 0

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