Residents of Killaire Wood Lane in Bangor, County Down, are raising concerns about the structural issues plaguing their homes. Families, many of whom have complex mental and physical needs, are distressed by crumbling door frames and water damage. The residents feel neglected and believe that their treatment is a result of being on benefits. Unlike private renters, they are unable to withhold rent or take legal action against their housing provider. Consequently, they are calling for immediate action to address safety concerns and seeking compensation for repairs they have had to pay for themselves.
Leigh Corbett, a resident and classroom assistant with three children, has had to replace bedroom floors multiple times due to water seeping through poorly sealed balcony doors. Another resident mistook a decaying wooden frame for a break-in. These issues have caused frustration and a decline in mental health among the residents. They find it unacceptable to live in such conditions and expect a safe and healthy living environment.
Lena Andrews, another resident, reported draughts in her home in 2019. Temporary measures were taken, but the problems persisted. When lockdown restrictions were lifted in 2021, a new foreman acknowledged the issues and promised to address them. However, no action was taken, leaving the residents in an ongoing situation. Choice Housing, the housing provider, admitted to using silicone as a temporary solution but claimed it was removed due to ineffectiveness rather than fire safety concerns. Lack of progress and poor communication from Choice Housing have frustrated the residents.
Choice Housing has apologized to the residents, acknowledging that the issues should not have arisen so soon after the development’s completion. Delays in replacing defective windows and doors have been experienced due to the contractor going out of business. However, Choice Housing has conducted a survey of all properties and arranged for their own contract to address the issues. Replacement of defective windows and doors is expected to commence in February 2024. Choice Housing has committed to expedite repairs for affected residents and ensure they are not financially burdened by the damages caused by the defects.
The residents of Killaire Wood Lane are hopeful that these promises will be fulfilled and their living conditions improved. They are relieved that the housing provider has taken responsibility and is taking steps to rectify the situation. However, previous delays and lack of communication have left them cautious. The residents continue to advocate for their rights and the well-being of their families, emphasizing the importance of providing safe and adequate housing for all.