A MUM-of-two who was homeless has slammed council chiefs for putting her up in a home riddled with wood worm.
Nicola Haley instantly noticed something was wrong when she moved into the Warners End property with her salesman partner, two children and the family pets.
She said: “We noticed it straight away on the staircase.
“As soon as you walk up the staircase the whole thing moves. One of us actually went through the staircase.”
The family found themselves without a roof over their heads back in March when housing benefit delays meant the rent was not paid.
They were put up in temporary accommodation by Dacorum Borough Council for several weeks before a permanent home was arranged for them.
The family, who were looking forward to a fresh start, moved into the council house in Goosecroft, Hemel Hempstead, on Wednesday, May 9.
“My argument is that the work should have been done,” said Nicola, who has two children aged 12 and 16 and two Staffordshire bull terrier cross dogs.
But council officials say they did not know about the problem and it was not spotted during a routine inspection when the last tenants left.
Council spokesman Claire McKnight said: “We were not aware at the time of the inspection that the staircase has been damaged by a wood boring insect. It would be difficult to view this defect as there is only a small area that is accessible on the underside of the staircase and the rest was hidden from the view of the inspector.
“If the extent of the damage had been ascertained then the repairs would have been completed before the property was offered.”
A completely new staircase is being made for the property, which will take four weeks. Once it is ready to be installed the family will be temporarily moved out, at the council’s expense, while the work is carried out.