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

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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.”

24 comments

  • Looking at this the other way, does the council have proof that the bath was immaculate before the house was handed over? It really is a lesson for every young person-cameras, dated photos, full and careful record of all problems agreed with the letting agent before moving in. And the same on moving out. After some experiences with incredibly greedy student housing landlords I thought I had seen it all Until one kid was billed £40 for cleaning a hob in an otherwise immaculate flat-on a day when the boiler had broken down and the agent had failed to organise a repair-so no hot water for cleaning before moving out. Pretty shocking to read that the council doesnt see fit to play by the same rules as most private letting agencies.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, January 6, 2013

  • If Ms. Neve signed off the flat and did see a list of inventory dilapidations on her taking it on, then she is obliged tom pay, afaik. If she only gave a verbal OK and did not mention the scratch, it costs about 220 to have a metal bath restored, then the council has no case.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • I have worked on council houses and have seen them trashed and no money ever collected. One house of a former councellorleft it with floorboards ripped up and doors cut up for the fire. What did the Council do, gave him a new house in Bowthorpe. This is OTT

    Report this comment

    gordon52

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • This all seems very trivial, having worked in many council houses when they have been vacated, plenty have been next to wrecked and cost literally £thousands to put right, yet never to my knowledge has anyone bothered to seek compensation from former tenants.

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    Catton Man

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • A friend of mine left a 2 bedroom Council flat imaculate, except for 2 built in cupboard door handle which over the years has worked lose. She would have been happy to replace them but was told by the housing inspector that was not nessesary as the flat required no further work and could be relet promtly. Enter the contractor and a bill of £200 for 2 door handles, she refused and was eventualy taken to court and ended up having to pay! Seems these repair costs should be challenged!

    Report this comment

    City Boy

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • If the council failed to do a schedule of dilapidations on the exit of the previous tenant or provide a written invitation for the incoming tenant to do so within a reasonable time then they have been negligent and they are wrong to automatically attribute the damage to the young lady. The council seem to have acted as judge, jury and executioner on this case leaving the ex-tenant nowhere else to appeal except to the press.

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    Ira Rose

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • i dont know where they get there prices from they seem too think of a number and treble it,, my letter box was jammed with mail. and they tried too get 95 pound for a new front, i paid 7 pound and did it myself, i moved 2 cupboards together and when i moved i put the cupboards back, but left out 1 screw i got a bill for 140.pounds to recite cupboard,, iwas told i could leave a sofa and carpet in the flat by the housing officer then they tried to bill me 260. for dumping the 2 items, its rediculous, there prices are rediculous,just replace it chances are with the council there baths are cheap to start with and with kids accidents happen,

    Report this comment

    morello

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • Sounds like a variation of the "hire car scratch" or "motorway recovery" scams. As time goes on and the "economy" develops it seems we will all face at least one of these money making exercises.

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    Cyril the Canary

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

  • @ STEVEJO...... you clearly havent ever lived in a council house if you think that the council carries out an inventory when you move in and actually addresses them. Its a case of take it as it is, or leave it.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • This all seems very trivial, having worked in many council houses when they have been vacated, plenty have been next to wrecked and cost literally £thousands to put right, yet never to my knowledge has anyone bothered to seek compensation from former tenants.

    Report this comment

    Catton Man

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • All rental property should have the same lease rules, but just because one authority doesn't see fit to enforce the rules, doesn't mean that it is wrong if another does. Although I cannot understand why a 'simple' scratch could not be repaired at a fraction of the cost. Maybe it was more than that? Perhaps it would be best to privatize the houses and leave it to private firms to take care of the dead beats.

    Report this comment

    kenneth jessett

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • If Ms. Neve signed off the flat and did see a list of inventory dilapidations on her taking it on, then she is obliged tom pay, afaik. If she only gave a verbal OK and did not mention the scratch, it costs about 220 to have a metal bath restored, then the council has no case.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • this is not a sob story, after two appeals with the council not listening, i feel like this is another way to try to make them listen and also to make people aware of the money the council is wasting on replacing silly things for no reason. The picture they sent me of the scratch can only just be seen and is blurred. the only thing the council told me to do was fill in the catflap, remove carpets and fill in holes in the walls from shelves, i have this in writing. two inspectors said the property was in good condition. Nothing was said about the bath until i asked if i would qualify for there leave it tidy scheme (which was never in place when i moved into george pope road) then they sent me a bill saying the bath had to be replaced and i had 2 pay for that and the labour. When i moved into george pope road it was an absolute s**thole, the council didnt clean it when we viewed it and when we finally got the keys we couldn't move into the flat until a month later due to the council not clearing it properly and previous tenants had done a runner leaving holes in the wall, broken window frames, debt on the meters and the scratch in the bath. The only evidence they have against me is the fact that i didnt report it but who would when it doesnt stop you using it and caused no inconveniance. obviously i would understand if there was a hole in it but it was a scratch. This is also a matter of principle as in my new property the bath had a scratch in it the same as my old property but it had not been changed before i moved in. I didnt want the bath changed in my new property but just so i didnt get another bill for not reporting a scratch in the bath i rang them up and they replaced it. Question is will the old tenant be getting a bill for it, i doubt it!

    Report this comment

    rachy128

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

  • oh dear, another sob story, trying to get the council to drop their action through publicity. It is the young persons fault, you have an inventory when you move into any property where you and the landlord note any problems before you move in. My bath has a crack in it, which i made my landlord aware of the day we looked around it and when we moved in.

    Report this comment

    stevejo

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • Did the Man from the Council have a small black moustache on his upper lip. If you charge one then you must charge all for damage, but must have a seeing out list agreed with the tenant. You could give them £100 to leave the place tidy, now there's an idea.

    Report this comment

    Rorping

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • The same council that was negligent in leaving cemetery gates open for vandals.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • Norwich council were supposed to fit a new boiler to my mums flat she died in 1983 and it still has'nt been done yet, Norwich council are not only useless when it comes to repairs, they also have some very rude and corrupt people working there, I begged the council for help when I had a noisy and rude family living above me as my father was dying of cancer, but no all they did was tell me I was making it up, one of these people also lied in court and harassed my dying father with threats that she could get us thrown out, Nothing Norwich city council do would surprise me.

    Report this comment

    clive hill

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

  • Do as I say not as I do - this is the same local authority that that advises landlords - what about the inventory? And can a private landlord just demand money from the Housing Benefit to pay for damage? I do no think so! Any chance of the name of the Council spokesperson? No doubt another faceless bureaucrat.

    Report this comment

    concerned

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • You sound nice, stevejo. Why doesn't the council inspect the properties, and then the tenant sign off the description? And we don't know how big this scratch is anyway.

    Report this comment

    aitch

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • Sounds about right for Norwich city council - a load of ********** - I'll let you fill in the missing word ( a hint - it starts with J!)

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

  • this is not a sob story, after two appeals with the council not listening, i feel like this is another way to try to make them listen and also to make people aware of the money the council is wasting on replacing silly things for no reason. The picture they sent me of the scratch can only just be seen and is blurred. the only thing the council told me to do was fill in the catflap, remove carpets and fill in holes in the walls from shelves, i have this in writing. two inspectors said the property was in good condition. Nothing was said about the bath until i asked if i would qualify for there leave it tidy scheme (which was never in place when i moved into george pope road) then they sent me a bill saying the bath had to be replaced and i had 2 pay for that and the labour. When i moved into george pope road it was an absolute s**thole, the council didnt clean it when we viewed it and when we finally got the keys we couldn't move into the flat until a month later due to the council not clearing it properly and previous tenants had done a runner leaving holes in the wall, broken window frames, debt on the meters and the scratch in the bath. The only evidence they have against me is the fact that i didnt report it but who would when it doesnt stop you using it and caused no inconveniance. obviously i would understand if there was a hole in it but it was a scratch. This is also a matter of principle as in my new property the bath had a scratch in it the same as my old property but it had not been changed before i moved in. I didnt want the bath changed in my new property but just so i didnt get another bill for not reporting a scratch in the bath i rang them up and they replaced it. Question is will the old tenant be getting a bill for it, i doubt it!

    Report this comment

    rachy128

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

  • Good grief, you ought to come to where I live. Tenants living free of charge trash their houses and it costs the council a fortune to put them right but I have never once heard of the council chasing up the tenants for payment. Maybe Norwich should hire their staff out to other councils and show them how it should be done. If they did, we could have a cut in our community charge.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Friday, January 4, 2013

  • this is not a sob story, after two appeals with the council not listening, i feel like this is another way to try to make them listen and also to make people aware of the money the council is wasting on replacing silly things for no reason. The picture they sent me of the scratch can only just be seen and is blurred. the only thing the council told me to do was fill in the catflap, remove carpets and fill in holes in the walls from shelves, i have this in writing. two inspectors said the property was in good condition. Nothing was said about the bath until i asked if i would qualify for there leave it tidy scheme (which was never in place when i moved into george pope road) then they sent me a bill saying the bath had to be replaced and i had 2 pay for that and the labour. When i moved into george pope road it was an absolute s**thole, the council didnt clean it when we viewed it and when we finally got the keys we couldn't move into the flat until a month later due to the council not clearing it properly and previous tenants had done a runner leaving holes in the wall, broken window frames, debt on the meters and the scratch in the bath. The only evidence they have against me is the fact that i didnt report it but who would when it doesnt stop you using it and caused no inconveniance. obviously i would understand if there was a hole in it but it was a scratch. This is also a matter of principle as in my new property the bath had a scratch in it the same as my old property but it had not been changed before i moved in. I didnt want the bath changed in my new property but just so i didnt get another bill for not reporting a scratch in the bath i rang them up and they replaced it. Question is will the old tenant be getting a bill for it, i doubt it!

    Report this comment

    rachy128

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

  • The council carry out inspections before you leave a property and inform you what work needs to be carried out. Its not clear whether she was told to sort this in advance or not. If not, then the council have no case. Raise a complaint or threaten them with the Local Government Ombudsman and they will most likely back down.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Friday, January 4, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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