AS temperatures plummeted last week an Enniskillen man was forced to rely on an electric blanket to keep warm after cracks appeared along the window frames of his Housing Executive home.
Kurtis Johnston, who is unemployed and suffering from health issues, claims he has gone through 300 litres of oil in his small two bedroom flat in one month due to a build up of “rot” inside.
“The wood is rotten and the glass itself has slipped down inside the frame,” he told The Impartial Reporter.
After complaining to the Housing Executive, Mr. Johnston claims he was told that “budget cuts” were to blame for the apparent delay in addressing the problem.
“The fact that I have to bang on the window to be able to close it means sooner rather than later it could fall apart. When the Housing Executive came out to inspect it I was told about budget cuts. 
“I told them that all my windows have wood cracking on them, and explained I may as well leave them open at night or during the winter. But again I was told of budget cuts.”
The 27 year old claims the windows “are poor at keeping in the heat.”
“I ordered 300 litres of oil in December and I am almost out already. It’s a small two bedroom flat yet I run through oil like crazy even though I keep my thermostat at no more than 14 Celsius,” he said.
Mr. Johnston says he wants the Housing Executive “to take responsibility for their part in the upkeep of their properties.”
“Budget cuts should not cause me to have to live in a sub standard home were I fear winter, not just fearing how cold it is outside but how cold it is inside and the unreasonable cost to keep heat in my property due to the windows which are less than acceptable,” he said.
Asked to respond, the Housing Executive told this newspaper: “The tenant reported a defective bathroom window which has been temporarily repaired. A new window has been ordered, and will be replaced when it becomes available. Oil fired central heating is installed in this property and no issues regarding heating have been reported to us. We would urge the tenant to contact us if there are any problems with his heating.
“All windows in the tenant’s flat are double glazed in wooden frames. A window replacement scheme is provisionally scheduled to take place in the area later this year, and this is one of a number of investment plans we have in the area, which includes replacing the communal doors and sidelights, as well as the flooring and covering to stairs in our flats; external walls and timber work will be painted and roofs cleaned as necessary, with any defective fencing replaced,” said a spokeswoman.