Council tenants have blasted 'cowboy' builders, after months of shoddy building work has thrown their lives into disarray.

People living in Chaucer House, Sutton, have endured periods of no hot water, no heating, and no electricity since interior building work started in February.

The building is run by Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP), which manages the day-to-day running of council-owned homes.

SHP awarded a contract to building firm Keepmoat to renovate the Chaucer Gardens property.

In a public meeting on October 21, despairing tenants spent more than two hours exchanging stories about the standard of work carried out by the company.

Throughout the meeting every resident said they endured periods without hot water, or were only able to get lukewarm water from their taps.

Paul Barber, 33, who lives in Chaucer House with his wife and two young daughters, said: "We have no heating, no hot water, and we are having to have cold showers.

"All my daughter's clothes are damp.

"For the last few weeks we have been heating the house with electric heaters."

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Keepmoat staff have been accused of leaving work unfinished for weeks and months

The meeting was organised by tenant Sue Allen, and was attended by Sutton North Councillor Marlene Heron.

Ms Allen said: “Builders took my old intercom out, went over the hole with Polyfilla, and then painted over it. They didn’t even rub it down.

“Since they started work, my fusebox has packed up. If I shut a light off – it goes. If I slam a door – it goes.”

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Builders have been accused of leaving live electricity cables exposed

A second resident Keith Brent said: “They ruined all my wallpaper by leaving black hand prints all over it.

“You can’t even trust them to paint properly. They will paint gloss on a door frame, then when you come back it simply peels off.”

Mr Brent claims to have forked out nearly £3,000 on doing his own renovations, in response to botched efforts from Keepmoat builders.

Another man told the meeting he spent three weeks without a kitchen after builders ripped his old one out, and his toilet was wobbly for weeks because it was not screwed down right.

He also said SHP and Keepmoat failed to carry out an air test report after asbestos was found in his flat.

He said: “The damage is one thing, but my health is important.

“Why have I not had an air test? In 10 years’ time I could get asbestosis, I’m not to know.

“It’s scary, really scary.”

Residents at the Chaucer Gardens building said they were told all work would take two months to complete, but seven months later the company is still sending workmen to the site.

John Carrington, 70, accused Keepmoat of not decorating his kitchen properly, and leaving a box full of live electricity cables exposed in the hallway.

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Mr Carrington says Keepmoat staff have left a gap between his new floor and the wall

Susan Hill, who also lives in Chaucer House, said: "They have got cowboys in. They haven’t got the right people in there,  because they don’t know what they are doing.

"The left hand doesn’ t know what the right hand is doing.

"We have had to live through seven months of hell.

"He said because the flat is council property I should be grateful they are doing the work."

Young parents Robert and Emma Bailey accused the company of leaving them with a leaking toilet, which since the company tried to repair is now prone to blocking.

Mr Bailey, 23, said: “There are loads of exposed pipes downstairs in our house which they haven’t boxed up. These pipes have been on show for weeks, and they just won’t come and cover them.

“It is dangerous with my young daughter around because they get really hot, and they are in her room.”

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The exposed pipes in Mr and Mrs Bailey's Home

A spokesman from SHP said work is scheduled to finish in early November, and outside building work would be completed by a different building company by spring 2016.

The spokesman said: “Sutton Housing Partnership, together with the council and residents, carried out a full procurement process to choose the contractors who would be carrying out the Decent Homes programme of works. 

“This is a rigorous process and contractors are chosen under strict EU guidelines and regulations.

“We acknowledge the works have been disruptive for residents and are sorry for the inconvenience caused. 

“SHP would like to assure residents we are working to resolve any outstanding issues as quickly as possible.”

A Keepmoat spokesman said: “We are working closely with Sutton Housing Partnership and the residents of Chaucer House to resolve the issues that have been raised as quickly as possible.”

Have you had a bad experience with Keepmoat? Call the news desk on 020 8722 6358, or email