A US Navy family of five in Oklahoma is now living in a 250 square foot RV after their Tinker Air Force base housing became unlivable due to mold and other problems.
“What you see- this is it. There is a bedroom and a bathroom and that’s it,” said Rachel Cole, looking around her RV.
The family fled Tinker Air Force Base after the privatized military housing company, Balfour Beatty, refused to fix a myriad of problems, often putting in false reports that work order requests were completed.
“It was problems from day one,” she said as she recounted moving into the house in August of 2017. “The house was a wreck, it was a disaster.”
The house reportedly looked more like a run-down motel room than a livable home.
“There was mold in our shower, in the linen closets, [and] in the kitchen cupboards under the bathroom sinks,” she said.”
Despite constant requests for work repairs, Balfour Beatty never got around to fixing anything.
“We had an entire year of problems,” she said. “Flooding, mice, earwigs, the mold issues.”
Finally, the family had had enough and moved into an RV park, where other families had taken shelter from Balfour Beatty’s negligence.
In response, Balfour Beatty sent them an invoice for thousands of dollars in work that had never been done, including carpet replacement, painting and satellite dish removal.
“They tried to charge us for things that they never did,” Cole told KFOR.
Instead of discussing the matter with the Coles, Balfour Beatty sent the claim to a collection agency.
Tinker Air Force Base claims they are aware of the dismal housing situation at the installation, and claims they will continue to work with Balfour Beatty until all issues are resolved.
A British company, Balfour Beatty has denied any wrongdoing and claims the Coles aren’t telling the truth, despite documented evidence.
“We are aware of the formal complaint filed by the Coles, and are actively defending against all claims,” the company said in a statement. ”Because this is pending litigation, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.
The well-being of service members and their families living in our communities is our top priority. We are committed to the continuous improvement of our military housing communities, including at Tinker AFB, and have focused on delivering new tools and expanded resources designed to ensure we are providing the highest quality living experience.”
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