Inverness man says 'ongoing work has blighted our lives'
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Families living in a block of flats claim they deserve a rent rebate after months of upheaval.
Ismail Dogan (53), a rent-to-buy tenant in Academy Street, Inverness, where he lives with wife, says he and his neighbours are losing sleep and wages
There are more than 30 flats in the block, 14 “affordable” homes and 17 social housing units, which were completed in 2015. At the end of last year, cracks started appearing in the external walls because of what Mr Dogan says was down to the builders using wrong or faulty materials.
Scaffolding went up in December last year but with lockdown happening, no work has taken place.
Residents haven’t been able to open their windows since then and there have even been occasions when drunken revellers have climbed the scaffolding and knocked on their windows.
Mr Dogan, who moved from Turkey to live in Inverness more than 20 years ago, said: “I am seriously asking if our flat on Academy Street is affordable housing or a poorly-built housing scam. We moved into our brand new rent-to-buy flat with the help of Highland Housing Alliance about five years ago.
“We were shocked when, after just four years, when the outer walls started to get serious cracks.”
Mr Dogan, who works as an operations technician with LifeScan, continued: “They put up a scaffolding on three sides of the building but the work couldn’t start due to corona issues.
“The scaffolding caused so much trouble. I live on the third floor and on one night, people were knocking at my windows. We cannot open our curtains because the workmen are right outside and we cannot open our windows because of the dust coming in.
“It is a joke – we are living in faulty flats and the scaffolding has just made matters worse.”
He continued: “We are literally living in a construction site with workmen passing from your windows and the noise is just unbearable. As well as myself, there are a few other night shift working people in the flats and it is just impossible to get a sleep even with earplugs on. I have lost wages because of this.
“Highland Housing Alliance are still asking for me to pay the full rent. I have been told that I should leave the house if I am unhappy.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “There is water leaking in, and that huge crack down the side of the building doesn’t fill me with confidence.
A spokesman for HHA explained: “We are working with the contractor to remedy an issue relating to the facing of our Academy Street properties, which involves replacing the building’s rendering. There are no structural defects.