A WOMAN who was forced to live in a mould-infested flat for two years is set to receive a £1,000 payout and 50 per cent of the rent she paid back after a ruling by the housing ombudsman.

Natasha Ebbs, 23, claims she repeatedly complained to Estuary Housing while living in a flat in Mirror Steps, on Southend’s Kursaal estate, over mould which “destroyed her furniture and clothes” and had a “severe impact” on her house.

The resident lodged a complaint with the Government housing ombudsman which has ruled that Estuary Housing “failed to adequately investigate the mould” which had caused “distress to Ms Ebbs during her time in the home”.

In the ombudsman’s ruling, seen by the Echo, Estuary Housing has been ordered to pay Ms Ebbs £1,000 in compensation as well as repay her 50 per cent of the rent she paid between November 2021 and July 2023.

Ms Ebbs has now moved out of the home.

She said: “A massive amount of my belongings were destroyed.

I developed a chest infection, and I was throwing up black phlegm, they put me and a partner in a hotel and we were told by estuary surveyors that it is not liveable.

“In the first year, I lost half my clothes, my drawers were covered in mold and they curtain too, Estuary replaced the wood in the sofa.”

Ms Ebbs has insisted she is relieved to have moved off the estate, but raised concerns that other people could be suffering in similar conditions.

She added: “Through mutual exchange, I moved off the estate, but I know a lot of people complain about mould, I was a lucky one.

“I had an ambulance called because I couldn’t breathe. The only help I received was new curtains, a new sofa, and money towards and new chest of drawers.

“It didn’t fix the problem. This was my first proper home and it was a disaster.”

Estuary Housing spokesman said: “Estuary Housing Association is currently awaiting formal publication of the determination by the Housing Ombudsman in this case.

“We collaborate with the Housing Ombudsman Service during the review of cases and to complete any orders or recommendations given and are doing so for this matter.

"Ensuring the health and safety of our customers is our top priority and we apologise that the response fell below our standard on this occasion.”