Published: 00:00, 18 May 2015
A family hauled before the courts for not paying rent claim their house is falling down.
Adrian Constable and Sharon Pollard, of Lower Road, say their house is slowly subsiding and after nearly 10 years of complaining to housing association Amicus Horizon, they say they have got “nowhere”.
The couple, who live at the three-bedroom house with children Ryan, 21, Michael, 18 and seven-year-old Sam, were at Canterbury Crown Court yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) as they have refused to pay rent since January.
They say that until large cracks, uncovered electrics and a dangerous subsidence is fixed, they don’t owe Amicus Horizon a penny.
Their doorframes and floors now drop significantly to the right and progressive cracks now run around the house.
After moving into what they thought was their “dream home” in 2000, they say their dream has turned into a nightmare.
Adrian, a bus driver, said: “All our floors now slope. If you dropped a Malteaser on the floor, it would roll along. Through the night we end up at the other end of the bed.
“My biggest concern is my family’s safety. We feel like the house is crumbling all around us.
“Every footstep is a scare as these cracks are growing and the bricks are moving and the house is sloping further and further across.
“We know we owe Amicus Horizon money but as far as I’m concerned, we won’t pay until they sort this house out or find us a safer one.”
Adrian says that many workmen have visited the house to fix minor problems, but every time a big problem like the subsidence is mentioned, Amicus Horizon shy away and cancel their workmen or simply don’t turn up.
“My biggest concern is my family’s safety. We feel like the house is crumbling all around us..." - Adrian Constable
At the hearing yesterday, where Amicus Horizon demanded the £1,470 owed, the case was adjourned to find out more information.
Sharon, who doesn’t currently work because of arthritis, said: “Your house is your castle and if you can’t feel safe in your castle, where can you feel safe?
“During the court hearing, they say they will do this and they will do that, but we are more or less in the same position and who knows when this problem will be fixed? When the house falls down? It’s just more broken promises and a broken house.”
Spokesman for Amicus Horizon Ross Lidbetter said: "Since Mr Constable first reported the issue, our Asset Management Team and specialist contractors have inspected the property on a number of occasions and agreed the property is safe and habitable.
"Earlier this year it was agreed that repair work due to house movement was required at the property and a contractor has been engaged to carry out this work. Some movement in a property of this age is not uncommon.
"Specialist contractors agreed the house remained safe and habitable. But starting the work has been delayed.
"Since January 2015, Mr Constable has missed four pre-arranged appointments to allow access. Our aim is to keep residents in their home and we see court action as a last resort.
"Our dedicated Financial Inclusion Team do all they can to support residents in paying rent and other bills. Mr Constable has only responded to our Financial Inclusion Team once since February 1 2015. We couldn’t allow this situation to continue."
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