Dad claims he’s being evicted after complaints about flat’s condition

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A family with a newborn say they are facing eviction after numerous complaints about the state of his rented property allegedly went unanswered by his landlord. Mr Cheal has claimed he started to have issues with the flat in Penzance, Cornwall, in early 2021, including incomplete maintenance, damp leading to mould and fears a gas pipe was installed too close to electrics which could be hazardous.

Mr Cheal, who lives with his partner and six-week-old baby, said: “The first problem I had was in April last year, when I had a leaking toilet which was rotting all the woodwork and mould issues. I went through the procedure, contacted the landlord, but he didn’t get much done.

“I got the council to tell him to do the work, but even with the inspection, he was still lacking and I’m waiting for them to do a reinspection. The whole staircase is falling apart, the gas metres and electrics are bunged up close together, and I was told it’s not meeting regulations.”

Mr Cheal has lived in the property, rented from a private landlord, for around five years, reports Cornwall Live. 

But the man claims his landlord failed to act on the problems in the flat, so he contacted Cornwall Council. Council inspectors visited the property in September last year.

A letter with details from this inspection, dated September 14, 2021, states that the building had “various” breaches of building regulations. These included a defective bolt on the main exit door, electric and gas key metres on the ground floor not being boxed in, heat and hot water appliances not being certified and a missing handrail on the stairs in the flat.

As well as this, Mr Cheal said he raised concerns about the damp which he claims was the cause of the large amount of mould across the property.

Since the inspection, Mr Cheal said the landlord made some repairs. This included adding a rail to the staircase, enclosing the electric and gas metres and attempting a fix on the defective bolt.

But, the tenant has now said, the fixes are not enough and leave plenty to be desired. Mr Cheal said the staircase is still “falling apart”, and that it’s unsafe.

Regarding the newly-boxed electric and gas metres he said the door to it “swings open” and thus is not fireproof and that they are still too close together to be safe. “There’s still loose carpeting on the stairs,” Mr Cheal went on. “All around the bath it’s still rotting away with wood blocks, the walls around it are still really mouldy.

“The mould is bad, my daughter’s bedroom smells awfully in summertime. I keep complaining but it’s not fixed.”

A further inspection, this time from Wales and West Utilities, warned that the electrics and gas in the home were unsafe. This inspection report was dated November 2021.

Inspectors returned to the property for a reinspection in August 2022, after Mr Cheal was concerned about how things hadn’t changed. He said the results of this inspection have yet to be sent to him.

Mr Cheal has now been served a section 8 eviction notice, which demanded he had left the property by September 1. On advice by the council, he has remained inside until he is removed via legal proceedings. He claims the eviction is due to the complaints he’s given to his landlord, something which the landlord contests.

The landlord declined to comment on the state of the property or the reasons for the eviction but claimed he was told there was nothing of concern after the August 2022 inspection. He said: “I am not at liberty to discuss this while matters are ongoing,” and that his lawyer is “confident that the correct legal process has been followed with regards to the eviction process”.

A Cornwall Council spokesperson confirmed that inspectors visited and that there is an “open case” related to Mr Cheal’s rented property.

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