Man living in hotel after sewage floods bathroom in 'uninhabitable' flat
- Credit: Archant
A vulnerable tenant claims he was forced to check into a Travelodge after his Norwich social housing flat became "uninhabitable".
Theo Gallant, 27 and living on Chantry Road in the city centre, checked into the hotel at the beginning of April and has not been home since.
He said the final straw was when sewage and excrement began to bubble up through the bath and out onto the floor whenever he flushed the toilet - ruining his clothes and leaving a "foul smell" which was impossible to get rid of.
A spokesperson from Mr Gallant's landlord Clarion Housing Group said they were committed to resolving any outstanding problems Mr Gallant faced and making him feel comfortable in his home.
A litany of other issues he claims have gone unresolved include black mould and water ingress on the windows, a broken boiler, washing machine and kitchen sink, broken electric vents in the kitchen and bathroom and staining on the ceiling from the flat above.
A number of his living room windows were also screwed shut by Clarion because of faults during previous years, while the one still able to open is insecure and in danger of "falling out onto the street".
Family members have been footing the bill for his stay in hotel accommodation, but Mr Gallant now wants rehousing altogether.
He says Clarion has allowed his property to fester ever since early 2015 when he first moved in.
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A Clarion spokesperson, however, said "the safety and wellbeing of our residents" was their "absolute priority".
They said: "We have visited previously to fix the window and we're sorry to hear this is still in need of repair.
"We are also on standby to complete repairs required to the boiler at the property but this had been put on hold after Mr Gallant informed us he would be unavailable for a period of time.
"Plumbing issues and a leak have not been reported to us, but we absolutely want to investigate these."
They added that they were in discussions with Mr Gallant to arrange an inspection date to provide him with any additional support he may need - hopefully in the coming weeks.
"There were issues with the Chantry Road flat as soon as I moved in", Mr Gallant explained. "Every time something gets fixed or repaired it just breaks again. I've had countless numbers of people out here over the years.
"There's no general maintenance. I feel like I've just been abandoned.
"I can't live there anymore because it's destroying my mental health.
"It's uninhabitable. I'm sick to death of having to deal with this."
The now 27-year-old was allocated the flat after applying for social housing through the council's Home Options website.
A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “Our role as housing authority to the city is to support tenants such as Theo who report issues to us about their private rented accommodation.
"When Theo and his father have come to us for help in the past, we have helped them resolve issues directly with their landlord.
"In terms of their most recent complaints, we had provided advice as to how to proceed, but had not heard back until very recently – and we will look into this latest correspondence.
“If it is found that their landlord, Clarion, is not fulfilling its responsibilities then we will investigate further and can use powers such as taking legal action should this be warranted.
"He should also pursue the issue through Clarion’s complaint processes.”
His father, who does not want to be named, said: "I would hope young families would not be treated in the same way Clarion is treating these single, vulnerable tenants in their accommodation - and all at taxpayer expense because Theo receives housing benefit.
"It's a scandal."