THURROCK Council has been accused of “appalling” negligence over problems with damp and mould in its tenants’ homes.

The Gazette gets regular calls from residents complaining about their council properties.

Ockendon Conservative councillors Amanda Arnold and Lynn Carr have now discovered damp prevention units installed in many properties in the late 1990s could be a major cause of the problem – because they haven’t been serviced by the council for almost 15 years.

The councillors discovered the units after responding to a huge number of complaints, which were not getting resolved.

Cllr Arnold said: “Residents have been told it is their fault their homes are damp, because they don’t open windows, don’t leave their heating on, or even because they have a goldfish in a bowl.

“But the privately-owned properties didn’t seem to have the same problems.

“Finally, an inspector went into a loft and discovered a system wasn’t working properly and was causing the damp.

“Since then, we have found other cases where these systems appear to be the main contributor to damp in a property.”

The council has now pledged to carry out regular checks on the units, but Cllr Carr said residents have suffered too long.

She said: “We are disgusted people have been left in appalling conditions for months and months.”

A council spokesman said: “All the properties of Leca plan construction in South Ockendon are on next financial year’s programme to be fully serviced and it is expected work will begin in April.

“Housing surveyors inspect properties where damp-related problems are reported and deal with them by arranging appropriate repairs, providing advice and a copy of the council’s damp advice leaflet.

“The council has also visited several properties recently at the request of the local area office, there were no significant issues.”