HE dispute residents’ complaints over work carried out in scheme

Group repair scheme complaints

By Gemma Burns

North Belfast homeowners who had a group repair scheme carried out by the Housing Executive in 2007 said their homes have had damp and flooding problems since the work was done. Residents living in Newington were part of a HE group repair scheme that was done on homes in the area five years ago. Under the scheme homes that are privately owned have work done including replacement of roofs, rebuilding of chimneys, replacement of doors and windows and replacement of guttering in order to improve neighbourhoods.

After an announcement was made last week that work will be done to homes in Ardoyne, the Newington residents contacted the North Belfast News to say the work carried out on their properties has created damp and flooding problems.

Lothair Avenue woman Evelyn Morgan said her home has had problems with damp since the work was carried out.

“It seems whatever way the tiles and guttering was fixed has allowed damp into the upstairs rooms,” she said.

“I foster children and it is in the bedrooms they should be sleeping in. I have been to the Housing Executive a load of times but nothing has been done to repair it.”

Resident of 40 years Catherine Devlin said she took pictures of the damage to her home and sent them to the HE.

“I am having damp problems and also when it rains the water from the back is flooding into my working kitchen,” she said.

“I took pictures and my son sent them to the Housing Executive to show them the problem with the tiling on the roof and how it is flooding the place but nothing has happened. They are starting new group repair scheme now without fixing the problems with the old one.”

Oceanic Avenue woman Catherine Doran said her bedrooms are “destroyed” by the damp on her walls,

“Two of the walls in the bedrooms are brown with the damp coming through,” she said. “All the houses were done at the same time and there are many more people who have problems in the area. We need action taken.”

A HE spokesperson said the properties referred to were inspected by HE staff before practical completion of the repair works in 2008 and then re-inspected after a further six month period during which repair defects were addressed by the respective contractors.

“We did receive reports of dampness at 31 and 33 Lothair Avenue subsequent to the completion of a Group Repair Scheme in the area.

“After further inspections we found no evidence that the issues reported were related to the works completed through the scheme.  We informed the residents of these findings.

“With regards to the other properties referred to we can find no record of any reported defects. Furthermore residents are offered the opportunity to complete customer feedback surveys subsequent to the practical completion of the repair works.  Neither property owner indicated through these forms that there were damp problems within their homes at that time.”

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