The Salvation Army apologized after a joint ITV and Guardian investigation accused the Christian Church and charity of acting as a “rogue landlord”.
Residents of a Salvation Army-run estate in Hadleigh, Essex, said they had complained of “substandard” conditions for years.
Resident Kerry Maher reported rising damp and mold after moving into her home in 2014, but nothing was done to fix the problem.
Environmental health consultant Jeff Charlton told investigators, “People are getting sick or deteriorating in health living on this property.
“There is a responsibility under the Landlords and Tenants Act that the landlord makes the house health and safety compliant.”
Another tenant described feeling ‘neglected’ and ‘forgotten’ after saying a hole in the roof had still not been repaired six years after the problem first arose.
Other properties are said to have breached fire safety rules, with independent consultant Steve MacKenzie describing one home as a ‘fire trap’ and accusing the Salvation Army of being ‘negligent’.
According to the report, Castle Point Borough Council in 2019 threatened legal action against the Salvation Army in 2019 due to conditions on the estate.
Local MP Rebecca Harris said she had held numerous meetings with the Salvation Army to rectify the situation, but “they kept making promises which did not materialize”.
Responding to the accusations, the Salvation Army issued an “unreserved apology”.
A Salvation Army spokesperson said: “It is clear that we have failed the tenants of Seaview Terrace and Mount Zion and we are deeply sorry.
“There are already extensive renovations and improvements underway. We have engaged a contractor as a dedicated project manager at Hadleigh and will employ a building surveyor on a permanent basis to focus on Hadleigh in the future.”