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Subsidence a 'nightmare' for a mum and her son

A mother who has spent three years trying to resolve a subsidence issue has called her situation ‘a nightmare’.

Gillian Gill owns 45 per cent of her detached two-bed house in Sawyers Crescent, Woodlands Park, with the remaining 55 per cent majority share owned by Housing Solutions through the ‘do-it-yourself’ shared ownership scheme.

The property was built in 2012 and, in September 2016, a year after Gillian moved in, cracks started to appear due to subsidence, she said.

She complained to Housing Solutions, which did not build the property, but the housing association ‘took nearly a year’ to tell her to go through her buildings insurer, Zurich.

Zurich sent out chartered loss adjusters, Crawford, to assess the situation and, in May last year, it declined the claim.

It found the cracks were caused by subsidence due to roots of trees and vegetation and said the foundations were not installed in line with industry recommendations.

Gillian then went to Self Build Zone, with whom there was a new-build warranty on the property.

Following an assessment, Charles Taylor Adjusting wrote to Gillian in June to say the house had been ‘constructed in line with current building regulations’.

Now Housing Solutions says the issue is the subject of an ongoing insurance claim being pursued with Zurich.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said Gillian, who lives in the property with son Josh, 22.

“You can’t decorate, you can’t put carpet down, you can’t do anything. It’s not a very good way to live; it’s depressing, it’s upsetting.”

Gillian is a carer for Josh, who has autism and struggles with the stress of the situation. He worries about what is going to happen, she said.

“Are we going to have to move out, what are we going to do? Predicting that for someone like Josh is really hard.”

Housing Solutions said their team had arranged for trees and vegetation to be removed by the end of next week, after which monitoring can start.

“It is normal for the property to be monitored for a period of up to 12 months before repair works can be carried out,” said the spokesman.

“We understand this is a frustrating situation for Ms Gill. We have stepped up the pressure on the insurance company to ensure that this progresses quickly.”

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