Apology issued to mother for council house of horrors

Helen Jackson at her home on Lime Walk with children Lillie, nine, and Perry, four. (Picture ' Adrian Murray)
Helen Jackson at her home on Lime Walk with children Lillie, nine, and Perry, four. (Picture ' Adrian Murray)
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A Ripon mother-of-two says she was “mortified” and cried her eyes out after seeing the state of the council house allocated to her family by the borough council.

Helen Jackson, who lives with her children Lillie, nine, and Perry, four, said there was a catalogue of problems with the property on Lime Walk which included the gas supply being capped off, a flea infestation in the carpets and dirt on the floors.

“I was absolutely mortified and absolutely gutted when I saw it,” said Helen, who moved in three days before her tenancy officially began after being given the keys early.

“When I got the keys I came straight round to the property and cried my eyes out – it was horrendous.”

Helen – who works in the kitchens at Boroughbridge High School – said other problems with the property included bare brick and wet mortar in the kitchen, insulation in the kitchen stuck to a wet door frame, a hole in the front door which let water in, an ill-fitting door to the back kitchen, unfinished jobs such as radiator pipes that had not been clipped to the walls, plaster on the wall left clumpy and the electrical bonding for the gas cooker not being legally compliant.

She added: “The house was so dirty – I could have written in the dirt in each room.

“My belief is the council never checked the house before handing it over – how else can someone say this is suitable to live in? I think it’s disgusting.”

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said: “We are sorry that Ms Jackson was unhappy with the condition of the property, particularly as a significant amount of repair work, including a full ‘deep clean’ of the property, had been carried out.

“We are extremely concerned that Ms Jackson has experienced some problems and we have already tried to rectify matters as quickly as possible. We have already addressed a number of her complaints and will be returning to the property to inspect and resolve any other outstanding issues in due course.

“We understand that a reasonable level of cleanliness should be achieved following extensive work on a property, and we would like to apologise that this has not been met on this occasion. We have taken measures to address this situation and from April, the council’s own in-house Maintenance Team is taking over as the main contractor for cleaning all our empty properties.”

The spokesman added it was standard safety procedure to cap off the gas supply to an empty property and not to reinstate it until a new tenancy had officially started.