Sunderland dad’s three-month wait for Storm Arwen roof repair as landlord Gentoo faces global shortage of building materials

A single dad of three has hit out at his landlord for taking over three months to repair a hole in his roof.

Chris Saddler, who lives in Easington Lane, rents his home from Gentoo Group and said he has had to move the furniture around in his two youngest daughters’ bedroom as the water ran down the wall and caused the wallpaper to peel off.

And although Gentoo Group temporarily repaired the roof and have promised to carry out the full repair by this weekend, Chris, 37, says he is still left with the cost of repairing the damage caused while he has waited.

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“I had just paid £180 for the room to be decorated when the tiles were blown off by Storm Arwen back in November,” said Chris, who is a full-time dad to three girls, aged 10, eight and five.

“Wallpaper is peeling off the wall where the water is running down and a large crack has formed between the wall and the ceiling, again due to the water.

“I reported the problem back in November, when Storm Arwen hit, and we have had another five storms since then. Each time, I am worried that the damage will get worse, especially as the temporary repair wasn’t done straight away.”

Gentoo Group has defended the time taken to fix the roof, saying that there had been almost 3,000 requests for roof repairs since November and said the demand for roofers had been ‘unprecedented’.

A shortage of building materials and roofing contractors have compounded the problem, said Louise Bassett, executive director of corporate services at Gentoo Group.

She said: “We apologise to Mr Saddler and all of our other tenants who have faced, and continue to face, delays to repairs due to damage caused by various storms.

“We have repaired as much of Mr Saddler’s roof as possible, however, due to a global shortage of building materials, some of the work has not been able to be completed yet. The material is ordered and the repair is booked in. We apologise for the damage that has been caused as a result of the delay.



Chris Sadler sits on bed with damp wall behind
Chris Sadler, who has had to wait for three months for a repair to the roof of his Easington Lane home

“Storm Arwen caused a huge amount of damage to properties right across the North East. We have not experienced this level of storm damage in the North East for many years. Since Storm Arwen, the region has been hit by a further five storms that have caused even more significant damage to properties.

“We have had almost 3,000 roof repairs reported to us due to the storm damage since November. This is an unprecedented amount of roof repairs.

“Roofing contractors are in high demand at the moment and we have worked hard to bring in additional support to help our own roofing team to complete the huge amount of outstanding repairs we have.

“There is also a huge problem in terms of a global and national shortage of building materials, including roof tiles, ridge tiles and facias, which is adding to the delays.

“We assure tenants that we are doing everything we can to complete all outstanding repairs caused by the six storms we have experienced since November.”

But Chris said that although he acknowledged the weather conditions would have made things difficult for Gentoo Group, as a landlord it had a responsibility to ensure the damage was fixed as quickly as possible.

“They replaced the tiles, but not the trim, which means the water continued to get into the house,” he said.

“It has destroyed the bedroom. The wall is soaking wet and I have to move the girls’ beds away from there. It’s not safe for them to sleep there.”

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