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Row over bath scratch in council house leads to threat of “recovery action” for young Lakenham mother

PUBLISHED: 09:40 04 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:41 04 January 2013

Rachel Neve, with her daughter Esmai, who has been sent a bill by the council for the replacement of the bath in her old flat because it had a scratch on it when she left.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Rachel Neve, with her daughter Esmai, who has been sent a bill by the council for the replacement of the bath in her old flat because it had a scratch on it when she left. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

A scratch on a bath has led to a council threatening recovery action against a young mother.

Rachel Neve is being charged £350 by Norwich City Council, after they found the mark on the bath when she left her Mile Cross home to move to Lakenham.

The council decided to replace the bath because of the mark, leaving the home’s former tenant with a £350 bill.

The mother-of-one, who is on maternity leave and works for the Co-op, refused to pay for the replacement bath as she said the mark was already there when she moved into the home.

Ms Neve, who has an eight-month-old daughter, said the scratch was so minor that when she moved into the house she did not think to tell the council about it.

She said: “I am disgusted and dumbfounded that this is all over a scratch on a bath.

“It feels like I’ve been made out to be a vandal and have not been given a chance to explain my side.”

The 23-year-old left her home on George Pope Road in Catton Grove in September to move into Harwood Road in Lakenham.

But now she is being told to foot the bath bill.

The council has recovered some of the money through housing benefits, but around £200 is still outstanding and a spokesman confirmed they would use a debt collection agency if the rest of the money was not paid.

The spokesman said: “Information about tenants’ rights and obligations in relation to this is set out in the tenancy agreement. Where a repair is not considered normal wear and tear, for example, if damage is caused by members of a household, or their visitors, there is likely to be a charge.

“If a tenant moves into a new property and there are repairs that are outstanding, we would expect the tenant to report these repairs at the earliest opportunity, so that an inspection can be made and any necessary repairs addressed.”

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