Siblings slam council for 'backtracking' on council flat

Mathew Thorpe (right) and his sister Leah have been living in Mathew's one bed flat together for over a year

Mathew Thorpe (right) and his sister Leah have been living in Mathew's one bed flat together for over a year - Credit: Mathew Thorpe

Siblings trapped in a one-bed council flat claim they have been dumped at the bottom of the waiting list for a new place. 

Mathew Thorpe's living room sofa became his bed when his 16-year-old sister Leah moved into his Norwich flat in April 2020 after becoming estranged from their mother.

But although he obtained a court order proving the residency arrangement was permanent at the request of the city council - he's since been told his application won't been backdated to the day the teen moved in. 

Mathew's has to keep his clothes in the living room - which is also his bedroom

Mathew's has to keep his clothes in the living room - which is also his bedroom - Credit: Mathew Thorpe

He claims council officials had said proof of when his sister moved in would be taken into consideration. 

Instead, he insists he has dropped to the bottom of the wait list for a two-bed.

Mr Thorpe claims he is tenth in the queue for the tower block property he is currently bidding on, adding that it could be ages before the pair are put out their misery.


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He said: "The council seems to have totally backtracked. It doesn't make any sense at all.

"Leah and I get on fine, but it's just constant ups and downs. It's horribly crowded and we need our own space."

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Not only that, but Mr Thorpe believes he has been unfairly placed in the lowest priority "band".

Leah is now sleeping in the bedroom after moving in with Mathew last April

Leah is now sleeping in the bedroom after moving in with Mathew last April - Credit: Mathew Thorpe

In 2017 he fell into rent arrears of £500. He says when he was taken to court by the council, it was agreed he would pay an extra £50 a month on top of his rent until he was in credit.

He is now £170 in rent credit, but because he says "nobody from the council notified him when his arrears were paid in full", and that he needed to move on to paying his £446 legal costs, his debt to the court remains untouched.

He explained: "Because those costs aren't paid I'm automatically in the bronze band, when we should be in silver."

The pair's living room double-functions as Mathew's bedroom, making the place extremely cramped

The pair's living room double-functions as Mathew's bedroom, making the place extremely cramped - Credit: Mathew Thorpe

A Norwich City Council spokeswoman said the council was reviewing the banding decision upon Mr Thorpe's request.

The credit on his rent account has also since been moved to his sub-account for court costs.

Despondent, Mr Thorpe said: "Every step of the we've just come up against more bureaucracy."

Mathew Thorpe (right) and his sister Leah have been living in Mathew's one bed flat together for over a year

Mathew Thorpe (right) and his sister Leah have been living in Mathew's one bed flat together for more than a year. - Credit: Mathew Thorpe


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