Mum claims problems with flies and rats after kitchen left ‘unsafe’

A distressed mum claims that uncompleted repairs have left her with an unfinished kitchen that has been infested by flies and rats.

Debbie Barton from Bootle says that repeated requests to fix her kitchen have been ignored, something that her housing association, Plus Dane, strongly deny.

The 40-year-old mum of two said she has had to make her own temporary repairs to the kitchen which she claims is “unsafe” for her children.

Debbie, who has previously won compensation from the housing association for other repairs that had not been carried out, told the ECHO she is now at her "wits' end".

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She said: “The problem started years ago with damp in my house and my landlord Plus Dane.

“I went through a solicitor who acted on my behalf after months of waiting things started moving slowly.”

Debbie says she was awarded compensation but accepted a lower offer so that the necessary repair work could start quickly.

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At the start of this year, damp in her kitchen was causing a problem and so she again contacted Plus Dane for repairs.

However, when the pandemic started, she said the vital work stopped and she was left with kitchen worktops not properly connected and electrical sockets hanging off walls.

She also claims she had to do her own emergency repair works on a pipe as rats were starting to invade her house, and that gaps left around her windows meant that she has also been plagued by flies this summer.

Debbie Barton said she has had to do her own basic repair to connect a pipe to stop rats getting into her home

Debbie said: “They came and redone the damp and said my kitchen would be finished the following week but four weeks later l still have no kitchen.

“l have to store food in my living room.

"l can't let my kids in the kitchen because it's unsafe,” adding: “l can't even use the worktops to prepare food.”

Debbie says sockets have been left hanging off the walls since before the pandemic

Denying claims the kitchen had been left unsafe, a spokesperson for Plus Dane Housing said: “We have been in regular contact with this customer in a bid to address the necessary repairs and improvements to her kitchen.

“There have naturally been some delays to our schedule because of lockdown and the fact the customer was shielding, but the tenant has always been able to contact members of the team directly with any concerns.

“We fixed some urgent disrepair work in the tenant’s kitchen in March just before lockdown.

“Due to the timing of the job, some plastering work remained outstanding but the area was left safe including the kitchen.

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“It was during this initial work the separate decision was made to install a new kitchen, as it was noted the units, which had been decorated by the tenant herself, were showing signs of wear.

“We arranged with the customer to begin this work next week.

“We will be visiting her at home today (Thursday, August 27) to address the concerns she has raised this week and provide her with a redecorating voucher that customers are entitled to if work such as re-plastering has taken place.”