For Paul and Steph Everett, it was meant to be their “perfect family home”.
But since moving into their £142,000 semi-detached on a new Sunderland estate three days before Christmas, the couple have endured a catalogue of misery.
From day one, the pair, who are parents to 13-month-old twins Kai and Chloe, were greeted by a mocking message in their kitchen - relating to the family name being shared with former TV comic Kenny Everett - and unfinished work around the three-storey Persimmon Homes property in Corning Road, Alexandra Park, Millfield.
And this week, injury was added to insult when a loose piece of wood fell from a staircase and hit Chloe on the head.
The couple’s tale of housing hell includes:
•An abusive ‘freak’ message left written on the kitchen hob relating to the family name and late TV comedian Kenny Everett.
•Wooden splints left in the kitchen
•Piles of dust left on the floor
•Gaps next to plug sockets which Mr Everett had to fill in to avoid his children electrocuting themselves
•Mould on skirting boards in their daughter’s bedroom
•Cracked paving tiles in the garden
Mrs Everett, 22, said the “last straw” came earlier this week, when a 10-inch piece of wood fell from the staircase and hit daughter Chloe on the top of the head, causing her to start screaming and crying.
Bosses at Persimmon have now apologised to the family and say they will be meeting with them to address the issues.
“It has been ridiculous ever since we moved in,” said Mrs Everett.
“You move into a house that you pay so much money for and your daughter gets hurt. This is the final straw.”
Mr Everett, 29, who works on the production line at car parts firm TRW, in Rainton Bridge, Houghton, said: “They’ve just rushed this house.
“We were told we’d be moved in by Christmas but when we kept coming around to have a look in the weeks before we just thought ‘this will never be ready’.
“We moved in on a Sunday and the builders were still working at 11pm at night, drinking cans of Fosters.”
On moving in the family found dust, wooden splints and screws left on the kitchen bench as well as a message mocking Mr Everett, comparing him to the late comedian Kenny Everett.
“It was an absolute disgrace,” said Mr Everett.
“When you pay nearly £150,000 for a house, you don’t expect to have to clean up.”
The couple say they have contacted the site manager at the estate a number of times but only a handful of times have workers come to make the necessary repairs, with much still to be done.
“It’s cowboy builders basically,” added Mrs Everett.
“We were told we we going to have a fully tiled bathroom and when I asked when it was getting done I got told it can’t be done now.”
This week’s incident with the falling piece of wood hitting little Chloe has put the family at the end of their tether, leading them to consider selling up and moving somewhere else.
“When it happened she was just screaming crying so I had to calm her down,” said Mrs Everett.
“I was trying to comfort her but panicking myself so I took her to the doctors to make sure she was OK.
“This kind of thing shouldn’t be happening.”
Work continues on other homes in Alexandra Park, which is expected to be completed in six years’ time.
Don Anderson, construction director for Persimmon Homes Durham, said: “We are actively working our way through a number of outstanding issues since these have been brought to our attention.
“With regards to Mr and Mrs Everett we are sorry to learn of their comments and whilst acknowledging these we have supported them with an immediate response and home visit from our site manager.
“As with any concerns forwarded to us it is always difficult to substantiate initially but we unreservedly apologise for any harm which may have been caused in the first instance.”