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Family left heartbroken after cowboy builder disappeared leaving £40k worth of damage to home that’s now uninhabitable

A FAMILY were left heartbroken after a rogue builder disappeared leaving £40,000 worth of damage to their now uninhabitable home.

Charlotte Rudolph, 41, from Bath and her partner Sam Peacock had been living in rented accommodation for the last four-and-a-half years.

They had finally bought their dream home – a two bedroom terrace in January for £287,000.

The couple, who have two children Ruby, seven, and Dylan, six, had enlisted a local builder who they had become friends with to complete the works.

The builder said he would do the job for £35,000 – including labour and materials – which later went up to over £41,000.

He promised that he would order materials but they didn’t arrive on time.

In June, the cost of materials increased and the couple refused to pay up after the builder demanded more money.

He reportedly ignored their letters and abandoned the job, removing tools from the site.

They were told by regulators that much of the work was inadequate – meaning the couple have to fork out at least another £20,000 which they are trying to raise through GoFundMe.

Charlotte, who is battling chronic kidney disease, told The Sun Online: “When I knew that we were in a situation, I thought why should anyone help me out when someone else has stolen my money and I’ve readily given it to him.

“When you’ve known the person for four-and-a half years and he’s supposed to be a friend, you trust him when he looks my children in the eye and says don’t worry I’m going to make you a lovely home.”

She said: “I felt ashamed and stupid.”

“I was asking people, ‘Can you help me out and make my home a home’.”

The home was supposed to be the couple’s ideal property as they had struggled with passing credit checks in the past.

“The property needed a new roof on the kitchen, a full rewire, some structural work and an overall head to toe makeover in order to get it to a decent liveable standard,” the mum-of-two said.

The couple worked alongside the builder in the early stages but things started to go wrong when materials failed to arrive on time.

He claimed the cost of materials had gone up because of the pandemic.

“It went from a cost of £1200 on Thursday night to £5000 by Friday morning.”

Experts told her that the cost of glass may have increased by up to three per cent but not to the extortionate levels that the builder was charging.

Charlotte noticed a change in the builder’s behaviour.

“About two or three weeks before, he started goading us – into trying to get a reaction – maybe wanting us to sack him so he could play the victim,” she claimed.

She spent four hours clearing dust and rubble and he reportedly emptied the bags of rubbish in front of her after claiming he couldn’t find a piece of material.

The builder claimed that Charlotte was starting to irritate him with questioning.

The couple had seen the previous work of the builder and he had a 100 per cent approval rating on tradesman website MyBuilder.

The pair had considered selling the property in order to cut their losses but they were recommended to put out a post on social media, asking for help.

As the builder is the couple’s neighbour at the rental property, they still have to cross paths.

“We see him every day. If I was to go into a jewellers and take £25,000 worth of diamonds, I would be taken off to jail,” she said.

“He has taken all our money – left us with an incompetent build and he’s away with our money.”

But, Charlotte remains optimistic that with the help of a small team of carpenters, plumbers and labourers, she will be able to move into her dream home.

This is despite the extensive work which could cost up to £30,000. The property is still uninhabitable – it has no electricity, bathroom, kitchen or finished bedrooms and hallways.

“It’s been really strange as we’ve gone from being completely winded, heartbroken and disillusioned to writing a post online asking for help where people have chipped in,” she said.

“We can make a future and build our home. My partner and I are unified in the end goal.

“Lockdown happened, summer holidays have happened. Everything has been thrown at us. We just want to keep pushing on.

“We have a plan in place and that will keep me trucking in terms of my positivity.”

Donations to the GoFundMePage can be made here.

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