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Landlord wanted to kick out tenants who moaned about squalid city flats

PUBLISHED: 06:35 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:15 13 November 2018

The mould inside the flats at St Faith's Lane, Norwich. Photo: Archant

The mould inside the flats at St Faith's Lane, Norwich. Photo: Archant

Archant

The landlord of a squalid block of city flats told his sales agent to report tenants who complained so he could kick them out.

Nick Sutton, director of Faiths Lane Apartments, which owns the flats at 60 St Faith's Lane. Norwich. Photo: Twitter screenshotNick Sutton, director of Faiths Lane Apartments, which owns the flats at 60 St Faith's Lane. Norwich. Photo: Twitter screenshot

Nick Sutton, the director of Faiths Lane Apartments, asked the agent to “quietly identify tenants who bad mouth us so I can get them out” in May.

The agent, Liam Blake, has come forward after a series of reports in this newspaper about the state of the flats at 60 St Faith’s Lane, off Prince of Wales Road, which Faiths Lane Apartments owns.

Mr Blake, 21, started work in April but said his job quickly turned into a nightmare of having to help tenants.

“They were asking me to do weirder things like listen to what the tenants were saying and they would kick out the ones who complained,” he said.

Mould at St Faith's Lane. Photo: Archant  Mould at St Faith's Lane. Photo: Archant

Tenants had previously complained they signed something called a licence to occupy when they moved in, rather than a tenancy agreement, which gave them fewer legal rights.

Mr Blake also said he had to try to repair electrics, despite having no training, after the maintenance man left.

A spokesman for Mr Sutton’s company, Sutton Management, said: “We were not aware that Liam was attempting any maintenance works.”

On October 8, Norwich City Council gave all tenants 28 days to leave the block for safety reasons.

The flats in St Faith's Lane which has had a whole load of problems with mould, water pouring down the walls and through light fittings, and lifted floorboards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe flats in St Faith's Lane which has had a whole load of problems with mould, water pouring down the walls and through light fittings, and lifted floorboards. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The council made the move after a series of complaints going back several months about damp rooms and unsafe electrics.

The council had served eight notices ordering the landlord to sort the electrics, fire safety and heating, but that work was not done.

But such is the struggle to find rented accommodation, tenants in just four of the 24 flats had moved out by the end of last week when the 28-day deadline passed.

The council said a further five will move this week.

A spokesman said: “We continue to work with the remainder of the residents to help them find private rented accommodation in a difficult market.

“We’ve given these remaining residents some extra time to find alternative and safe accommodation and will continue to assist them in any way we can.”

But that was contradicted by a spokesman for Sutton Management who said: “The majority of the guests have vacated the property.”

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