Fifty-three-year-old mother of triplets Tracey, from Portsmouth, had to wait over five years for repairs to her property despite shocking amounts of mould and damp, plaster coming off the walls and even an infestation of mice.

Tracey, who rents the property from Hampshire Housing Association VIVID, repeatedly asked for help from her landlord, but she says on each occasion she was told there was nothing they could do, and that she should wash the mould and damp from the walls and make a number of lifestyle changes. According to the mother-of-three, she was even told that the problems were being caused by the fact she had three pets in the property – a budgie, a dog and a fish.

It was only when Tracey sought legal advice from housing disrepair specialists CEL Solicitors that the problems started to be resolved.

Tracey said: “They just didn’t care. The whole property was damp and blackened with mould, we had plaster falling off the walls and even started to get mice. Overall, it was just in an awful condition. When the builders came in, when we finally got the work approved, they said they couldn’t believe we had had to live like this for so long.

“The damp was so bad in my son’s bedrooms, we couldn’t decorate because of the mould. One of my sons is disabled and my partner suffers from asthma, so the damp was having a particularly bad impact on their health and was a constant concern for me. Living in these conditions for so long, had a huge effect on all of us – there were constant arguments in the family which created a terrible atmosphere at home, and led to me suffering from depression and stress.

“When the housing association continued to take no action, we researched into our options and found out about CEL Solicitors. They were incredible from day one and took on our case on a no-win, no fee basis. They liaised directly with our landlords and kept us constantly updated with the status of our case. We got a settlement after only nine months and were awarded £3,000 in compensation – on top of the schedule of works, which the landlord was ordered to do immediately. Work is now nearly complete and our house is slowly becoming a liveable property.

“For anyone in a similar position, please don’t leave yourself to suffer in silence. I only wish we had gone to solicitors earlier to resolve the issue, but we just weren’t aware that this kind of service was available to help us. I feel like our lives have been on pause for the last five years and now we can finally start to move past this and look towards the future.”

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