A mother has complained at having to stay in a hotel while her housing association addresses mould and damp in her home.
Gemma Hotchkiss says her home is “worse than when she left it” for a contractor to complete work.
The mum of two, who lives in Denton, Manchester, with her young children, last year complained of mould, damp and uneven flooring in the building. Gemma, who suffers with fibromyalgia and complications following a major operation in 2020 which affects her mobility, said she had to have her carpet taken out because of the issues in the property.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, she says she temporarily moved out of the house two weeks ago after Jigsaw Homes, the affordable housing provider who owns and manages the property, hired contractors to carry out work.
Work has since been done to retile worktops in the kitchen, the walls have been repainted and builders have replaced the uneven floor across the ground floor. But, after finally being told she could move back into the property on Monday (February 27), Gemma said she was left unimpressed.
“I should have been home last week but they’ve continuously delayed it and delayed it,” Gemma, who has a nine-year-old daughter Amelia and three-year-old son Oliver, said. “It’s worse than how it was when I left it. They said it’s technically liveable, but I don’t agree.”
Gemma said the property is ‘covered’ in ‘messy’ paint work, scratches and marks on the wall and the tiling in the kitchen is already falling apart.
“The work isn’t even done to a good standard,” she explained. “It’s been left a complete mess. It should have been put back how it was or better, and that’s what the builders’ promised, but it’s just not.”
Gemma said she was told she could finally move into the property on Saturday before being told she would be unable to move in until Monday. It meant plans for people to help her bring belongings back to the property ultimately fell through.
Gemma said she and her two children were expected to check-out of the hotel they were being kept up in on Monday morning, as she claimed the housing provider told her they could now move back into the property.
But she says she is unable to move back into the house as she cannot access or move her furniture. Jigsaw Homes confirmed to the M.E.N on Monday that they had provided the family two extra nights at another hotel whilst Gemma arranges for help moving back in later this week. Whilst Gemma had asked if contractors were able to help her move her belongings, Jigsaw said this was not possible due to insurance liability.
She explained: “All of our things are barricaded upstairs in our bedrooms so we can’t get to it. All we have access to right now in the house is a sofa bed between the three of us. We were checked-out of the hotel and I had to plead with someone on the phone for hours to let us stay as we couldn’t go back home. I don’t have anyone to come and help me move our things back downstairs – I can’t physically lift anything.
“I think it’s disgusting that they’re expecting a disabled woman with two young children to move everything from upstairs. I’ve worked around their plans but they’ve not given me enough time to figure things out. I was supposed to move in on Thursday, then Saturday, then Monday. How am I supposed to know when to arrange help for when I don’t even know when it’ll be ready?”
But Gemma says that after they are able to go back into the home, she fears she and her children will have to move back out again soon for further work to be carried out in the near future.
“It’s just been one thing after another,” she said. “All we want to do is to come home, we don’t want to stay in a hotel or keep moving in and out. I feel like we’re just stuck in limbo.
“They’ve caused damage to my freshly-painted kitchen, they’ve scraped the paintwork, the tilings a mess and there’s silicon all over the place. I’ve also now got a massive crack in the ceiling from the front of the house to the back. That wasn’t there when we were last here.”
Jigsaw said they continued snagging work in the property on Tuesday (February 28), whilst also replacing kitchen base units and doors which were not originally fitted by themselves. They said the work was carried out to the ‘agreed’ timescales, but provided the family of three with an extra two nights in a hotel whilst they arranged for help moving belongings back into the property.
A spokesperson for Jigsaw Homes said: “The work was completed in the agreed timescales, but as her circumstances meant she was unable to move her belongings, we kindly arranged for her to stay in a hotel for an additional two nights.
“Some minor snagging is being finalised, but none of this would have affected Ms Hotchkiss moving furniture into other rooms. We will liaise with Ms Hotchkiss when she moves back into her home.”
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