A KIDDERMINSTER father says he, his daughter and their neighbours are being forced to live "in hell", with their houses plagued by "mould" caused by damp conditions.

Kevin Nicholls, 52, who lives in Rifle Range Road and Keeley Nicholls, 24, who lives nearby in Avon Road, have hit out at The Community Housing Group [CHG], parent company of Wyre Forest Community Housing, which they rent their flats from, saying staff had not taken their complaints seriously and had failed to fix the problems.

Mr Nicholls, who is currently unemployed, said his daughter's situation was worse than his own and she had thrown out clothes, furniture and redecorated several times during the past five years - including unsuccessfully using damp-proof paint - but nothing had worked.

A spokesman for The Community Housing Group said it had arranged for an independent investigation to take place into Mr Nicholls' complaints about the properties but admitted establishing the cause of mould could be "complicated".

Miss Nicholls, also unemployed, said: "It is absolutely terrible - it is absolutely freezing. I have been told to leave windows open and the heating on but I cannot afford to just leave my heating on.

"My flat is frozen. I have to sleep with two blankets in bed and have had to throw everything away. I have had this for five years and keep redecorating my flat and now I have completely given up - I really think I should move, as it is costing me a bomb.

"I have brothers who won't come to visit because they would have to bring their kids, who cannot sit in the flat with all of that."

Mr Nicholls added: "We keep being told by people [at The Community Housing Group] it is condensation. I have been in the building trade and it is not condensation. The walls are soaking wet and black with mould. They only treat the inside of the house but if you do not treat the outside of the walls you will not be able to treat the inside properly.

"People are living in hell in these flats - you not put a dog in these flats. There are elderly people, disabled people, people with children who have all got the damp issue."

The Community Housing Group spokesman said: "Establishing the cause of mould can be complicated, as there are many factors to take into consideration.

"We have spoken to Mr Nicholls and have arranged for an independent investigation to take place so we can give the appropriate advice if it is caused by condensation or carry out any recommended works."