Couple plead with council to fix dilapidated house for the sake of their health (From The Northern Echo)
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Couple plead with Darlington Borough Council to fix dilapidated house for the sake of their health
A COUPLE are pleading with a council to fix their dilapidated house, for the sake of their health.
Heavily pregnant Michelle Melles and disabled partner Michael Brown moved into their Darlington council house in May and were assured repairs would be carried out.
Seven months later, they are still living in a damp house with broken fittings, bare wires, holes in the walls, no door handles, a fuse box that keeps tripping and a bowed ceiling.
A temperamental boiler and broken radiators mean the pair also face a harsh winter.
Asthmatic Ms Melles claims to have contracted pleurisy and pneumonia whilst living in the property while Mr Brown says his arthritis has been significantly worsened.
The couple have been informed by social services that their two-year-old son must continue staying with relatives until they are housed somewhere suitable for his needs.
Mr Brown believes repairs are not being done because the house – on Aviemore Court – is scheduled for demolition.
"I’m a builder so I know exactly what’s wrong but they won’t let me make the repairs.
“It’s like the house that Jack built. They’re not bothering because it’s scheduled for demolition but people still have to live here and it’s ridiculous.
“I’m angry and frustrated and they’re not listening. We’re trying to work with them but getting nowhere.”
Ms Melles added: “We bathe at our friend’s houses because the bathroom is so dangerous and the hot water is so expensive.
“We are struggling on a day-to-day basis and we just want them to do the repairs they promised.”
The couple are currently withholding their rent in protest but may face court action as a result.
A Darlington Borough Council spokeswoman said: “An officer visited the property on a number of occasions, however unfortunately there has been no answer.
“We are unable to comment on individual cases, however would encourage the tenant to call the housing team to arrange for an officer to visit the property to discuss what repairs are required and agree a suitable plan of the works.”
She added that public consultation events had been held concerning housing in the Red Hall Estate but to date, no decisions have been made and said the council will continue to fulfill their responsibilities as landlords.
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