Billingshurst man’s four-year ‘nightmare’ over home repairs

JPCT 120215 S15060944x Billingshurst man, four years uninhabitable house not fixed,  Norman Close, Billingshurst, Ashley Stevens -photo  by Steve Cobb SUS-151202-161413001
JPCT 120215 S15060944x Billingshurst man, four years uninhabitable house not fixed, Norman Close, Billingshurst, Ashley Stevens -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-151202-161413001
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A ‘nightmare’ situation has seen one Billingshurst man waiting for almost four years for repairs to his home to be completed.

Ashley Stevens moved out of his house in Norman Close in August 2011 to allow insurers to repair damage after a leak to one of the tanks in his loft in March 2011.

Mr Stevens' back garden

Mr Stevens' back garden

Since then he has seen a number of problems and delays occur with repairs while he lives at another rented property in Billingshurst.

Almost four years later he is still waiting to move back in, and while Moat, the housing association who part own the property under shared ownership, said it had been ‘fully repaired’, Mr Stevens is disputing this as he was promised ‘like for like’ repairs.

Mr Stevens described the situation as an ‘utter nightmare’ and felt he had been treated worse than a dog.

The problems have ‘consumed his life’, while the ‘overwhelming’ stress saw him suffer a heart attack in 2012, he said.

I was beginning to doubt my own sanity

Ashley Stevens

Mr Stevens says both gardens are dilapidated, coving is not aligned, cracks and holes in the wall have been painted over, angles of walls are not straight and flooding in the living room has lifted up thewooden flooring.

Mr Stevens added: “It looks nice [at first] because it’s new, but once you look at work it avalanches.”

He continued: “I was beginning to doubt my own sanity, was I being too picky? The answer is no. The senior guy [an independent surveyor] said no, the house is uninhabitable.”

A spokesperson for Moat said: “The restoration was initially handled by the insurer. However Moat’s contractors were called in to speed up the process.

Repair work on the property's ground-floor bathroom

Repair work on the property's ground-floor bathroom

“The work was completed and signed off by an independent surveyor. We are aware that Mr Stevens has expressed discontent with the condition of his home, and in particular has raised concerns over the property’s temperature. We acknowledge that this was an issue but would point out that it was a result of the central heating system being disconnected until Mr Stevens was ready to move back in. This is standard practice when any home is left vacant for an extended period.

“The interior of the home has been finished to the same standard as those we market for sale, with fixtures and fittings replaced on a like-for-like basis or upgraded if the original fittings were unavailable. Work on Mr Stevens’ garden will take place once the moving in date is confirmed.

“Because Mr Stevens has repeatedly challenged the repairs to the property, this matter has taken some time to resolve. However, we are confident that the property has now been fully repaired and that we and the insurer have acted correctly.”