'It just breaks me': Decorated veteran living in squalid housing says he's been failed by the MoD

18 December 2023, 09:17 | Updated: 18 December 2023, 09:23

A veteran has revealed his poor living conditions to LBC
A veteran has revealed his poor living conditions to LBC. Picture: LBC

By Andy Ballantyne

A decorated former soldier says he's been failed by the Ministry of Defence after living in squalor in Cornwall for five years.

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Suffering from complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic lower back pain, the veteran, who LBC is not naming, feels his 24-year career that involved tours of Kosovo and Iraq was all for nothing.

He is living in military accommodation with his family and pets which he claims is unfit for human habitation.

It's so bad that the downstairs toilet has been declared a "no-go area" for the family.

It comes as Labour figures showed more than 25,000 single personnel are shacking up in "Grade 4" type housing - the lowest ranking awarded by the Ministry of Defence, around 32 per cent of all staff.

The former squaddie claims his family all suffer from mental health problems caused by the lack of repairs or maintenance on the property.

The problems started in 2018 when drainage works on properties in Saint Columb Minor near Newquay started.

The family - who were able to live there under an irregular occupancy contract - returned home to find the property flooded with sewage backdraft.

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Broken extractor fan in veteran's home

Mould has appeared in the home.
Mould has appeared in the home. Picture: LBC

They eventually had to get rid of the damp and smelly carpet themselves and despite repeated attempts nothing was done to repair the damage or dehumidify the house.

The ex-serviceman told LBC: "I'm so full of rage, the MoD and the whole system has failed me. I can deal with that... but not when it affects my family.

"It just breaks me… no one, whether it's servicemen or veterans, should have to live like this."

Over the years that's caused a host of other problems that could have been easily rectified.

Fire doors have absorbed flooded water and are now rotten with gaps at bottom, skirting has rotten away outside bathroom door and other carpets contracted because of damp and will not seal properly.

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Parts of the home need fixing
Parts of the home need fixing. Picture: LBC

A neighbour had a water leak and liquid has seeped through the wall - causing black mould. Engineers repaired the leak on her side but hadn't considered damage to neighbouring property.

An extractor fan dripped brown goo onto a toilet pan making the downstairs toilet a no-go area.

But that's not where the problems end.

Black mould has now appeared in most rooms in the property.

In the daughter’s bedroom the window doesn’t shut properly, fire doors are rotten, and the door handles fall off meaning they cannot be replaced.

The veteran has called for his home to be repaired.
The veteran has called for his home to be repaired. Picture: LBC

And then there’s the boiler, replaced a year ago, which has already been deemed unsafe and has failed gas safety inspection by an engineer.

When raining and turned on the boiler lets out a high-pitched whistle and floods the room that its mounted in.

He continued: "My house is below par and to know that I can reside in my current quarter, as long as my family needs a house, without threat of a no-fault eviction is all that I want.

"I don't want for anything else in this world other my family to be happy."

The Ministry of Defence said: "We are committed to the welfare of Service Personnel and their families, and the Defence Secretary has made improving the standard of military accommodation a personal priority.

"That is why we are investing an additional £400 million over the next two years to improve military housing that is available, which will include activity such as damp and mould improvements to more than 4,500 properties."

When personnel cease to be entitled to Service Family Accommodation they are given reasonable notice to vacate to ensure the property can be made available for the next entitled service family.

The MoD also claims 1,360 homes have now had damp and mould work and around 700 will be done early in the next financial year.

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