Sheffield family with newborn baby are sofa surfing because council house is so damp it makes them ill
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Darnall dad Liban Omar and his partner say they have been contacting Sheffield Council “every week” about damp in their house on Greenland View since January 2021 when a pipe burst.
Now, after he, his partner and their infant daughter have all in turn taken ill due to the poor conditions, they have taken to sofa surfing rather than live in the sodden home.
Liban’s partner, who asked not to be named, told The Star: “The walls are wet to the touch. There’s mould everywhere.
“There’s a hole in the kitchen roof that just fell through one day because it’s so damp it bowed.
“The damp and mould is a danger to our newborn and ourselves. I was hospitalised because of my asthma when I was pregnant.
“Our clothes smell of damp. It’s embarrassing to go out.
“There are so many problems. It’s so much stress.”
The trouble began in January 2021 when a pipe in the bathroom burst overnight.
When a council contractor arrived at 4am to address the issue, they knocked a hole in the wall and packed the leak with foam as a temporary fix.
The hole is still there to this day, and the leak persisted.
In the following months, damp spread throughout the house, including the kitchen and hallways, and has never gone away.
Since early 2021, Liban and his partner say they have been contacting the council up to four times a week
"I’m always calling them,” said Liban. “Calling them every day to every two days as we’ve been waiting for so long for them to do anything.
"When council contractors have been sent out they either say they can’t fix it and need someone else, or they leave ‘we missed you’ cards and don’t knock.
"Or, you can just be on the phone to them for an hour and when you get to the front of the queue, the line just cuts.
"It’s so incredibly frustrating.
"We just want them to do their jobs. It’s their house.
"And, even if they do fix everything, this is no longer a happy home to us. It has such bad memories. We would rather be moved out.”
The couple say they have contacted solicitors to get their council tax and rent from the past 18 months back as compensation.
Liban said: “We are paying £490 a month in rent and council tax for a flat that isn’t safe to live in. It’s not fair.”
Sheffield Council says it has scheduled emergency works to address the problems, and claims these were organised before The Star made contact.
Tom Smith, the council’s director of direct services, said: “We are sorry for any delays to repair work at this property. We have carried out some repairs for leaking pipes and replaster work, and there is already another four days of work scheduled in for the end of June. What we have found recently though is a leaking pipe inside the bathroom wall which we are dealing with as an emergency.
“We hope that all of this work resolves the issues raised by the family.”