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Family compensated after agony over repair work to West Norwood council home
A family that has been compensated after the council’s housing firm mishandled repairs, even allowing squatters to move in, has said they “lost seven years of their lives”.
On Friday, Alan Faggetter, 53, and his family on Friday agreed to accept £12,368 in compensation after Lambeth Living (LL) – the council’s at length management organisation that looks after most council properties – bungled repairs to their West Norwood council home.
Mr Faggetter, who has lived in the house with his wife and son for 30 years, said he suffers panic attacks brought on as a result.
He said: “It is seven years lost of our lives where we couldn’t do anything without being at the beck and call of LL.
"I am constantly getting these panic attacks each time I think about anything to do with the last couple of years.
“I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s on my mind all the time.”
Over the past seven years the family have lived out of boxes while enduring delays to repairs, harassment, being moved to unsuitable houses and loss of property.
In 2009, LL made the family vacate the house, but dithered over repairs for four months and allowed squatters to move in.
No offer of compensation was made until after the family complained to Ombudsmen in January.
Mr Faggetter described the long struggle for compensation as totally unacceptable and unbelievable.
He said: “I am lost for words. It’s too little too late. I want to see somebody held accountable.”
He added living out of boxes made it harder for his wife Katherine, 48, cope with her father’s death and his son Harley, 21, dropped grades at A-level.
Thurlow Park ward councillor John Whelan, who helped the family complain to the Ombudsmen, said: “What this settlement represents is a belated willingness to face up to the hardship and worry imposed on this family.
"The whole thing was just a sorry story of failure. Although this settlement is welcome it probably under-represents their suffering.”
Mr Whelan added there were “probably dozens” of other families out there in a similar situation.
He said: “They should take heart from this and pursue their case against LL.”
An LL spokesman said it had apologised to the family.
He said: “Mr Faggetter’s property suffered structural defects that went back to before Lambeth Living took over the management of his home, but we accept that the disrepair went on for far too long.
“The performance of Lambeth Living has improved tremendously over the past few years, and it’s important to stress that this was an isolated case.”