A FAMILY claim they have been through “hell and back” after being prevented from moving to a new house due to a “tired, broken, old lift.”

Phill Brown and his wife Mary are desperate to move to Blackpool with their two children for a fresh start.

The family agreed to take part in a four-way mutual exchange service - where social housing residents swap homes with one another.

However, Mr Brown claims the family cannot move until new tenants have been found who require a home like their's - as it has a lift for Mrs Brown, who has spinal arthritis, to use.

Despite the stipulation, Mr Brown, aged 41, claims the lift has not worked properly since he moved in to the property in Warndon, Worcester, four years ago.

He said: “My wife has been stuck in the lift several times. It stops every time with a bump on the way down about three feet from the ground and jerks my wife’s back.”

However, Fortis, who owns the home, says the condition that homes adapted for a disability must be exchanged with someone who also has a disability are 'well-publicised'.

Mr Brown, who is a recovering heroin addict, says the family were set on moving to Blackpool to start again, adding: “It was going to be a fresh start for us. We felt good when we were going to move. We are all stuck now due to a tired, broken, old lift.”

He added: “It just seems crazy that Fortis will keep paying to have this lift serviced and “fixed” when they could just remove it and take it back to being a family home.

“When we first asked about the lift and, before we sent in the paperwork, Fortis informed us it did not matter as long as the family were willing to accept the property as it is. However, now they have said the person moving in must need the adaptations.”

Mrs Brown, aged 31, who has arthritis in her spine and needs a mobility scooter when she leaves the house, said: “We are stuck here. I feel let down. It’s another punch in the gut.

“It has been a nightmare – we have been through hell and back with Fortis. Fortis will not replace the lift until it dies.

“I cannot do much physically. The arthritis is spreading to the rest of my body and, in time, I will deteriorate. My bones will turn into stone.”

A spokesman for Fortis Living said: “Customers are able to find potential matches for a mutual exchange through a service called Homeswapper. They then apply to the landlord for the relevant permission.

“One of the national conditions of a mutual exchange is that if the home has been adapted for someone with a disability then the new customer must also have a need for that adaptation.

"These conditions are well publicised and an integral part of the information available when customers embark on their exchange journey.

“The customer in question has applied again for a mutual exchange and we are currently waiting for more details from the potential swap partner.

“The lift in question is serviced every six months by a specialist contractor, with the last service due to take place on Tuesday.

"This was cancelled by the customer and we are awaiting instruction to rebook. We have had no recorded reports of it being out-of-service.”


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