A HUDDERSFIELD pensioner is warning council tenants to be wary when signing documents allowing work to be done at their homes.
Alfred Harling, 73, lives in a Kirklees Council flat on Edale Avenue, Newsome.
He signed documents when the council fitted a new kitchen for him under the Decent Homes scheme on January 11.
One document was a disclaimer, meaning that neither Kirklees nor contractors Connaughts would be liable for damage caused to his property.
Mr Harling says his Welsh dresser was damaged during the work and says he was not made aware of the disclaimer's meaning before signing it.
He is now warning other council tenants to make sure they fully understand such documents.
Mr Harling said: "This document basically says they can do any damage they like and are not liable for it. That doesn't seem right.
"I didn't get to read it or get a copy. It was just presented to me by the liaison officer. I asked what it was and she just said it was so work could start."
Mr Harling also says the standard of work by Connaught was poor, with badly fitted units which also had cracked back panels.
He added that Connaught workmen failed to clear up properly after the work, leaving his home covered in dust and dirt.
Three days after the work Mr Harling had an asthma attack because of the dust, spending two hours in hospital.
Connaught workers returned to clean the flat again, but Mr Harling was unhappy and asked for a professional cleaning firm to do the work.
The cleaners came on February 7 and he was not charged for the cost.
The council gave him £90 for decorating plus a standard amount of £20 "disturbance" compensation.
Mr Harling says council workmen also damaged an aerial in his roof and knocked off two tiles while mending underdrawing in his loft.
This led to a leak in the roof.
A council spokeswoman said: "This is the first report of any such damage. The Building Services department has attended to the property to carry out repairs, but further investigations are necessary to establish any liability."
She said Connaughts had offered to fix Mr Harling's Welsh dresser, but he had refused permission.
She also said all documents Mr Harling signed would have been fully explained to him at an induction visit by a liaison officer last December.
She added: "All tenants are advised to remove their personal possessions in order that the work can be done.
"If they are unable to, the contractor is willing to do so on their behalf, but asks that a disclaimer form be signed.
"This is only after the situation has been fully explained."
The spokeswoman said the contractors did not know Mr Harling had asthma. Dust sheets had not been used because they could have been dangerously slippy if laid on top of Mr Harling's vinyl floor tiles.