Desperate mum begs council for new home after spending years in damp-riddled house

A desperate mum says she has been left ‘begging the council’ for a new home after hers was left riddled with damp.

Anne Davidson, who suffers from advanced COPD, claims her already severe health issues are being made worse inside the property in Cloventsone, Edinburgh.

The 41-year-old says the home is ‘crumbling’ and ‘covered in dark mould’ due to a leak on her roof.

The woman has been told by the council that she is on the high priority list due to her health issues and the problems with her house, but she claims that she has been waiting for a new home for a number of years now, despite constantly complaining that her health is getting worse.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a health condition that affects the lungs, gradually getting worse over time and limiting your normal activities.

Because of the health issues, Anne says she can’t move too far away from where she lives as she is often so ill that she needs to get a taxi to her nearby receptionist job at an industrial estate.

She claims the council have only offered her one house in two years, but she was unable to take it because it was in the Robroyston area and so would have been too far away from her job and family to support her through her health problems.

Now Anne has ‘had enough’ after finding out that her son Leon, 18, who also lives at the ‘damp’ property, has developed Asthma.

She told Edinburgh Live : “In 2016 there was a huge leak in my roof and it just got worse and worse.

“Water began streaming through my ceiling, light fittings, and walls so I complained to the council and they just sent out some guys on cherry pickers to take a look, they put in some slates but it was never really fixed properly.

“Years later I am still having problems, the walls are now damp and mouldy, there is a freezing cold wind the blows through the east of the building so there is clearly still a hole somewhere.”

Anne, who has lived at the home for 18 years, also alleges that she has been told by a council inspector that the house has old artex ceilings which may have asbestos under them.

She said that she now fears sitting in her living room because there is a crack in the ceiling and the room is so cold and mouldy that she is concerned it could make her seriously ill.

“About two years ago I put in for a house now, I’ve been trying so hard to bid on houses but there hasn’t really been any coming up.

“I was told I can have a house in Robroyston, but I told the council I can’t move there because my COPD is sometimes so bad I need to get a taxi to my work and that would just be too far away,

“They told me a year ago there could be asbestos in the ceiling and they will need to send someone out and the living room is so cold and damp you can smell it, it makes you scared to even be in the living room.”

“It’s been hell really, there has been not much communicating with them. They used to communicate but in the last year, I have sent texts to the housing officers saying I am getting ill and now it is affecting my son, but there is no reply.

Anne’s 18-year-old son Leon who also stays at the property has recently been diagnosed with asthma and the mother is concerned that the damp house is now affecting his health as well.

She said: “Now that it’s affecting Leon too, I’m just so desperate for a move, I have gold priority but they still can’t offer me anything.

“I look out my window and see new buildings popping up around me left right and centre, I don’t see why it’s so difficult to get a flat.”

A City of Edinburgh spokesperson said:

“We’re very sorry to hear about what Ms Davidson is going through. Now we have been made aware of the situation, we have made arrangements to resolve all of the current issues within the property.

“We don’t want issues to escalate and we urge all tenants to keep in touch with us when damage within their properties arises, especially if it is effecting their physical health and their mental wellbeing.

“There is huge pressure on the city’s housing market with only 14% social housing, compared to a national average for Scotland of 23%. This was a direct result of the Right to Buy where Edinburgh lost around two thirds of our social houses.

“This means that even when someone is awarded the highest priority for a house move, it can take some time for a suitable home that fits their specific needs to become available if the tenant wants to live in a particular area. Our housing officers do provide advice to help find a suitable move whilst, as a priority, we are building more Council and affordable homes.”