Keith Watson, 65, says his garden is “unusable” because it is on a steep downwards slope but housing provider Trent & Dove will not help him pay to amend it. Keith claims he has been told he must fork out £6,000 to make the changes.
Keith, who moved to the bungalow in April and lives alone, said: “I have terminal liver disease and I want to enjoy the time I have left here. But I can’t because I feel like I’m fighting Trent & Dove constantly and putting in all my last energy in trying to get this sorted.
“It’s not a garden – it’s a hill. Honestly, pictures and video don’t do it justice, you kind of have to see it to believe it. I can’t put a shed up – it’s easily the worst one on the plot.
“I wanted to sit outside. I like sitting. You really can only use the space at the top of the garden.”
Keith, who has mobility problems, claims he was actually shown around a different house further down the road, where the garden was not as bad.
But Trent & Dove, which manages the complex in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, said Keith had seen the property in full before agreeing to move there.
The tenant told Staffordshire Live: “I just don’t like the idea that the garden has to be scruffy. I can’t put a table on it.
“It’s made me ill – honestly. The other bungalows along this row are also bad, but not quite as bad as this end one. When I first accepted it they showed me one down the other end of the road where the hill wasn’t as bad as they hadn’t finished this one. Why should I have to sort it?”
The retired soil tester continued: “They really shouldn’t have given me this. Within five minutes of signing for it, I tried to pull out, but they told me couldn’t. I don’t want to live in a mess.
“My friend who’s a paramedic said she couldn’t believe it. She said to me ‘imagine if you had a fall – it’d kill you’.
“Trent & Dove don’t believe me when I say I can’t use it. I want to put nice things in my garden. They laid grass on the rubble too – there’s no topsoil.
“I really have no choice. I have to fight Trent & Dove about this. I just feel like they’re not interested. You can’t speak to anyone. It’s a joke.”
Neighbourhoods director at Trent & Dove Martyn Hale said: “We have a commitment to providing high quality, affordable properties that our customers are happy to call home. An important part of our lettings process is that shortlisted applicants are invited to view their chosen property before they accept any offer.
“The visit allows customers to get a feel for their potential new home and ensure that it fulfils their specific housing needs before signing a tenancy agreement with us. Our customer viewed this newly built property on Gladeview Drive in March 2022.
“At the time, our customer was happy with all aspects of the new home and signed their tenancy agreement when they accepted the property. Later, when our customer approached us regarding the garden, the team were more than happy for them to undertake some landscaping.
“As a not-for-profit landlord, maintenance of a non-communal garden is not something we cover. This is a customer’s responsibility and is part of the tenancy agreement.
“Following the subsequent concerns our customer has raised about the garden, the surveying team have made several visits to their home. We are satisfied that the garden does not pose any issues of immediate concern in its current guise and have taken photographs to confirm this.
“We are happy to explore with our customer other properties, should they feel that his home no longer meets their individual needs. The demand for our homes, particularly new builds, has never been higher.
“We urge all customers to carefully consider their individual needs when undertaking a property inspection before signing a tenancy agreement. We want all customers to be happy in their homes and always use customer feedback to further improve our homes and services.”
When Mr Watson’s claim that he was actually shown around a different house and when that was put to Trent & Dove, the firm said it was happy to talk to the customer about the options that are available to them.