A PENTHOUSE apartment in a block of flats built to herald the regeneration of Colchester’s Hythe is unhabitable, its owner has claimed.

Rachel Lund says design and building flaws have repeatedly allowed rainwater into a top floor flat in Caelum Drive.

Residents say about a dozen flats in one block, on the development, overlooking the River Colne, are affected.

Insurers are checking the rest of the development for issues.

Mrs Lund bought the seventh floor, three-bedroom apartment, which features a balcony with two large rooftop patios, for about £200,000 shortly after it was built by Weston Homes in 2008.

Mrs Lund, who lives with her husband and three children in Saudi Arabia, rented it to wealthy students during the academic year and used it as a base when she returned to the UK every summer to spend time with family and friends.

Within a year, tenants reported water pouring into the flat from the ceiling.

Repairs were carried out by Weston Homes but she said problems continued.

In November 2012, further problems with leaks, cracked plaster, poor fixings, faulty electrics and a bad smell led Mrs Lund to make a claim against Weston Homes’ insurers Zurich UK.

Remedial work was carried out early last year but it did not fix the problems.

After repeated requests they paid another site visit this March.

However, Mrs Lund has heard nothing since and says she is missing out on £1,300 a month in rent and is paying electricity, council tax, ground rent and service charge bills for a property no-one can live in.

The spokesman said: “This is a complex investigation. We are doing all we can to progress the claim and will discuss all the options with affected residents to
ensure this is resolved as swiftly as possible.”

A Weston Homes spokesman said the problems fell outside the two-year warranty it offered and within the responsibility of Zurich’s ten-year warranty."

For the full story, see Tuesday's Gazette