Action Desk with Lauren Clarke: “My house is a fire risk’ claims terrified tenant”

Melanie Benton, 49,  is pictured with the patio door that will not open. Photo: Chris Etchells
Melanie Benton, 49, is pictured with the patio door that will not open. Photo: Chris Etchells
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A Sheffield woman says her council property is a dangerous ‘fire hazard’ because four smoke alarms in the house do not work and her rear patio doors will not open. She also claims that wiring throughout the house is faulty.

The 49-year-old told Action Desk that two joiners and three housing inspectors had been out to look at the patio doors but nothing had been done.

Melanie Benton, 49, is having multiple problems with her council property on Pedley Avenue. Photo: Chris Etchells

Melanie Benton, 49, is having multiple problems with her council property on Pedley Avenue. Photo: Chris Etchells

She said: “Not one of them noticed that the lock was upside down. I have been told that new doors haven’t even been ordered because the original measurements were taken wrong.”

In desperation, Ms Benton even tried to get the doors fixed herself but was told a repair would cost £400.

Ms Benton suffers from mobility problems and a bad back.

She said if there was a fire and she was unable to get to the front door she would have to climb onto a kitchen counter and out of a window.

Melanie Benton, 49, is having multiple problems with her council property on Pedley Avenue.
. Photo: Chris Etchells

Melanie Benton, 49, is having multiple problems with her council property on Pedley Avenue. . Photo: Chris Etchells

She said: “I just wouldn’t be able to because of my back. The window doesn’t even open fully so it would be hard to squeeze through. I feel like I’m being fobbed off as no one has done anything.”

Ms Benton said that her problems don’t end there – she is also concerned that the house has faulty wiring.

“There are so many issues. There are wires trailing everywhere. There’s recessed lighting that has been ripped out and left. There’s wiring hanging down in the back of the walk-in wardrobe. Some have been snipped off and then grouted over in the kitchen. I’m scared to touch anything in case it’s live.”

Ms Benton also said the light on her landing would blow the bulb everytime she put one in.

She said: “The council want me to keep paying rent but they haven’t done their job properly. It is just awful.”

ACTION:

I rang Sheffield City Council to ask the local authority whether the problem could be resolved quickly. I was told that the property was managed by Kier and they would look into the problems.

A Kier spokesman said: “We’re sorry to hear of the problems Ms Benton has experienced.

“The patio door was fitted by the previous occupier and we have been unable to source a replacement locking mechanism. A new door and frame has been approved by Council Housing Services and is scheduled to be fitted on Thursday, June 23.

“We can confirm that a full rewiring to the property was carried out on September 11, 2015. Although there are currently no reported faults, we have arranged to visit Mrs Benton’s property today at 10am to check there are no further issues.”