Rats destroy pensioner’s home leaving him heartbroken ‘Too late to save anything’

Michael Gove savaged over housing pledges

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Everything in John Vernon’s flat in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, had to be disposed of and replaced. Suffering from severe health problems, Mr Vernon struggled to cope after the death of his sister who had taken care of him.

But his neighbours rallied to his cause by raising more than £4,000 to help make his home habitable again.

Neighbour Aleia Stickly posted on Facebook, asking for donations so Mr Vernon could replace his things.

Within days £4,175 had been raised, including £1,000 pledged from Tory MP Lee Anderson, who represents Ashfield.

Ms Stickly said: “I was heartbroken to see John like this. He had kept his problems to himself, instead trying to do things for others.

“Everything had to be thrown away, his whole life was out in the garden.”

Mr Anderson said: “I was shocked to see how bad John’s situation was. All of his possessions were bagged up on the street ready to be chucked away.

“In 2022, I cannot believe John had been left in this situation.

“The council had been approached but hadn’t stepped in to help or safeguard him in any way.

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“John had been told it would cost hundreds of pounds for his stuff to be cleared away.”

Ashfield District Council has been approached for comment.

Besides his local MP, donations also poured in from well-wishers, including The Skegby Scooter Club and businessman Craig Gold, each donating £1,000.

Aleia said: “I can’t believe how the community has stepped up to help. Thank you so much to everyone who has offered to help.”

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On top of the generous donations, Ms Stickly and Mr Vernon’s families have now banded together to redecorate John’s flat.

Mr Vernon told NottinghamshireLive: “I’m so thankful. I cannot appreciate everyone enough. If you are struggling speak out.”

The good news came during a week when the Government announced plans to create a fairer private rented sector in England with the publication of a White Paper.

Under the proposals, tenants will have more power to challenge poor practice and unjustified rent increases and they could also be saved the expense of having to move as often from one rented home to the next.

It will also be made illegal for landlords or agents to place blanket bans on renting to families with children or those receiving benefits.

The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper marks a generational shift which will redress the balance between landlords and the 4.4 million privately renting households across England, according to the Government.

The decent homes living standard will be extended to the private sector, meaning homes must be free from serious health and safety hazards.

Landlords must also keep homes in a good state of repair so renters have clean, appropriate and useable facilities.

“No fault” Section 21 evictions, allowing landlords to terminate tenancies without giving a reason, would also be outlawed.

Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement: “For too long many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions orders hanging over them.

“Our new deal for renters will help to end this injustice by improving the rights and conditions for millions of renters as we level up across the country and deliver on the people’s priorities.”

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