COUNCIL housing bosses in York have apologised to a woman whose house is so damp that walls have been covered with black mould for months.

Officials have also admitted that as many as 200 council homes in York are waiting for damp repairs - as water has started to pool beneath their floor boards, leaving the authority with a £2.5 million bill.

That revelation has angered York Central MP Rachael Maskell, who says its shows real neglect of the council’s housing stock.

The MP has written to both the council chief executive and the Housing Minister, to demand more action on the “unacceptable” situation.

The MP said: “As the landlord, the council has a responsibility to ensure that its properties are maintained. It is appalling to learn that we have more than 200 homes in York which have problems with damp and mould.”

Ms Maskell was asked for help by Bell Farm resident Sharon Jardine, who lives in an end terrace house with her two children, 17 and 11. Although her home has had problems with damp since 2004, since October the black mould has got worse and worse - leaving her bath unusable and her children unable to sleep in their own room.

“We have had problems with spot mould for years, but we dealt with it using mould proof paint,” Sharon said.

“Now the bathroom walls are black and its running down the walls. I’m cleaning the bathroom two or three times a day. It’s in the kids’ bedroom and I’m not comfortable with them sleeping in there.”

Inspectors and surveyors have been to the house and said the black mould is caused by condensation - because the house does not have adequate ventilation. But so far, the council’s housing department has not given her any indication of when they will fix the problem.

Now Mike Gilsenan, head of building services at City of York Council, has apologised for the delays and promised that staff are arranging the repairs “as a matter of urgency” - with mould to be removed and the ventilation and insulation to be improved.

However, he also explained that the problems at Ms Jardine’s home are not caused by standing water under the floors - so her repairs will be different to those needed at the 200 homes. He added: “Remedial works for standing water can be lengthy and very disruptive and can involve lifting floors and, in some circumstances, installing pumps. Priority is based on the seriousness of the issue and the tenant’s medical needs and level of vulnerability. Where tenants are affected by their home’s damp and condensation levels, we will always visit and attend to issues as quickly as we can.

"We also provide guidance on how to reduce levels of condensation which can contribute to mould.”