'Our children's Christmas is ruined' - family 'distraught' as flooding forces them to spend Christmas in hotel

The family have two young children.

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 2:17 pm
The family have moved into a hotel.

A family in Gorebridge say their Christmas has been ‘ruined’ as they will spend the festive period in a hotel due to flood damage in their new Persimmon home.

Stefano Cernicchiaro, 33, and Maria Brien, 34, say their two young daughters are ‘distraught’ as they have had to temporarily move out of their home, already decorated for Christmas.

The family moved out of their house and into a hotel as their downstairs hall was ‘absolutely soaked’ following heavy rain in early December.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The house will need repair work to fix the flood damage.

They are due to remain in the hotel until New Year at least.

“The whole house smells of mould and damp,” said Mr Cernicchiaro.

“You don’t expect that with any house, let alone one that’s only 16 months old.

“Our oldest child Lily is distraught.

Stefano, Phoebe, Maria and Lily.

“This has ruined our children’s Christmas, and Persimmon shouldn’t be able to get away with it,” he added.

The couple’s 16-month-old baby Phoebe has a chest infection, which Mr Cernicchiaro believes is due to the damp caused by flooding in the house.

“We told Persimmon about the floods but they ignored us, until we posted about it on Instagram,” he said.

“Then all of a sudden they were on the phone.”

The family's downstairs hall was flooded.

The couple say Persimmon then got in touch and offered to re-floor the downstairs area affected immediately.

But the couple’s insurance company Ageas told them the house was ‘saturated’, and needed to be dried out before work was done to fix the damage, while the family move temporarily elsewhere.

They bought the house in 2018, but say they have faced continued problems with it.

“The longer we stay in this house the more problems we have,” said Mr Cernicchiaro.

“Within six weeks the ensuite bathroom upstairs was flooded, as the drainage was not connected properly,” he added.

“Another time the fuse box blew up while we were having dinner - it wasn’t wired up properly.”

Other incidents include a toilet coming away from the wall due to faulty fixings, and the breaking of all toilet seats in the house.

“Last year I went into the attic to put away the Christmas tree and I found beer cans among the insulation. The company said youths must have broken in but we think it was the builders who were building the house.”

“If you’re buying a house, stay clear of Persimmon. It’s not worth the money,” said dded Mr Cernicchiaro.

Iain Innes, managing director of Persimmon Homes East Scotland, said: “On hearing about the water issues at the property, we immediately offered the family assistance.

“Following on from visits to the house, we can confirm that we offered all the necessary help to resolve the situation and could have repaired the property with minimal disruption.

“Throughout our repairs process we monitor work carried out by our contractors to ensure standards are maintained by asking them to take photographs before and after, and I am confident that at no point during visits did the situation warrant the need for our customers to move out of the property.”