SOVEREIGN housing association has come under fire again this week as six more families have come forward complaining of an infestation of mould in their properties.

Last week The Gazette told how a young family of four had been left 'fighting for their lives' as conditions in their Sovereign owned property caused Deborah and Aaron Hampton's young son and daughter to develop bronchitis and asthma.

Residents of Pinkerton Road, Quilter Road and Park Gardens have now all told of their mould and damp problems and The Gazette visited each of the properties to see what condition they were in. 

Many of the houses had walls covered in blackening mould with condensation coating the windows.

The property conditions have even pushed one resident to "seriously consider" sleeping in her car as opposed to continuing to rent and live in her property. 

Tracey Fry has carpal tunnel syndrome which restricts movements in her hands.

Due to the state of the damp in her house, she has been forced to move her bed from out of her bedroom and into her front room as she began to develop health problems.

The 36-year-old cleaner, who lives on Quilter Road, said: "I can't take it anymore.

"I can't believe I have had to move my bed into my lounge because of the mould in my bedroom.

"I have been told that I should keep my house heated 24 hours a day but I can't afford to do that and I am just always ill.

"I have to wear my dressing down and pyjamas all the time and I am absolutely sick of it. I have asthma and the flat is so cold. I will have to start sleeping in the car, I can't do this anymore."

Another family who have been left frustrated are dad Jack McCall, mum Sam Bailey and 22-month-old Amelia. 

"All we keep getting told is just keep the window open - what sort of advice is that?” Jack said.

"It's just eating away at our ceiling and walls. It's not a safe environment for Amelia and every week I have to clean the walls and then make sure the condensation is off the windows before she can leave her room.

"I can't keep the window open in the winter months because my girl will freeze."

Rasharne Bryan has lived in her rented accommodation in Park Garden for four years but over the last year has noticed her property’s condition deteriorate.

"I have made so many complaints and no one has ever said sorry,” Rasharne said.

"It's embarrassing having people over because it covers all my walls and smells."

Another resident experiencing problems is Julie-Anne Boness. The glass windows in her Pinkerton Road flat have ‘popped’ which means moisture is able to come through and contaminate her home.

She has continually tried to clean the mould from her windows, along with the condensation running down them, as well as ivy which is growing through her window sill. 

"I have damp in nearly every room of the flat,” Julie-Anne said. "I have terrible breathing problems in this house."

John Funnel, who has lived on Pinkerton Road for a year with his wife and son, said: "This is happening across all the properties in our street and there have been so many complaints.

"Maybe the only way to stop this is with a rent strike, we don't know what else to do. We need to do something to bring this to people's attention."

Aimee Constantinides, who also lives in Quilter Road, said: "There is mould growing everywhere and I have tried treating and following all the instructions but there is something going on in these flats.

"It has been a nightmare because it's so cold. All I get advised is to keep running my heating by someone at Sovereign but when you tell them anything you just feel like they don't want to help - it's very frustrating."

A spokesperson for Sovereign said: "While it can be distressing, it's normal to experience condensation or mould in your home at some point and can be caused by something as simple as not ventilating a room or drying clothes on a radiator.

"We've got lots of advice on how to prevent and remove condensation and mould on our website, but the most impotant thing is to reduce the moisture in the home by opening a window, using extractor fans and cleaning off any small areas of mould.

"We take all reports of mould and condensation seriously.

"And if one of our residents has tried our advice but the mould is still a problem we'll do what we can help to solve it. 

"We can help clean up if it gets out of hand and, while every case is different, we'll always check if there are any changes we ca make, such as installing extractor fans."

A spokesperson for the Citizen's Advice Bureau said: "If you rent you're home from a social housing landlord, they're responsible for dealing with most repair problems.

"Many social landlords fix repair problems as soon as they become aware of them, but this doens't always happens.

"If you need further help or advice contact Citizens Advice Basingstoke."