Enfield Homes is investigating complaints that it has taken more than ten months to repair a family home devastated by fire.

Kathleen Carter, her husband Ray and her three children were forced to leave their home of 15 years in Lavender Hill in January after a fire damaged the roof and both floors .

She claims staff only started clearing the home on November 17, but belongings saved from the fire – including a fridge, freezer, washing machine and microwave – were stolen when they were left outside the front of the property.

A statement from Enfield Homes said: “There appears to have been a problem in communicating our timetable for clearing the property and the commencement of work with Mrs Carter.

“We are in the process of investigating what has happened, and this is subject to a formal complaint that is yet to be concluded.”

Mrs Carter, 47, who is a switchboard operator at Chase Farm Hospital, said the family still pays £450 a month in rent for the property, even though they have not lived there since January.

Enfield Homes claims the serious nature of the fire – which was sparked by a cigarette – has caused the work to take longer than it had hoped.

The statement said: “The fire caused significant structural damage to the property and this has meant it has taken us longer to complete the work than we would have liked.

“The roof had collapsed and the first floor was damaged beyond repair.  The property therefore needed to be completely cleared, including removal of the remaining roof and the first floor. 

“As an interim measure a scaffold was put up with a tin roof in order to prevent further damage to the property and its contents.”

According to Enfield Homes, which manages housing on behalf of Enfield Borough Council, the fire was classified as a “major incident” and the group immediately offered to rehouse the family.

But because the family wanted to return to the property, they have been living with Mrs Carter’s parents in Lavender Hill until the work is complete.