Tenants were locked out of home amid row over asbestos
- Credit: Archant
A couple were locked out of their north Norwich home amid a dispute with their letting agent about the presence of asbestos.
Frankie Morley, 26, and Liam Painter, 25, moved into the rented house on Gertrude Road in September, but in October - after complaining about asbestos - they arrived to find their landlady inside and the locks changed.
They have since been given a new key but the row is still ongoing.
Ms Morley said when they first moved in, the kitchen was dirty so they cleaned it and found rubble and dust on the cabinets. They contacted the letting agent, Northwood, based on Norwich’s Riverside.
Ms Morley said she feared the dirt could contain asbestos because there was an artex ceiling in the terraced house.
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However, Northwood said this was not possible as the ceiling had been replaced after asbestos had been banned.
But Ms Morley sent a sample of the material to be tested and it came back positive.
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The report, seen by this newspaper, states chrysotile - white asbestos - is present.
However, the letting agent disputed that asbestos was in the home.
They said an air test they had paid for showed there was no asbestos present and therefore a full environmental clean was not necessary.
A spokesman said the test had established “beyond reasonable doubt that it is free from asbestos”.
After the results came back from the first test, Mr Painter and Ms Morely contacted Northwood, left their possessions inside the home and moved in with Ms Morley’s parents.
But when the couple returned to the home a few days later to check on things, the locks had been changed and the landlady was inside.
Northwood said the owner had changed the locks because she was worried about the number of people who had gathered outside the home.
Both parties called the police.
Community union Acorn took up the tenants’ case and they have been given new keys, but are still in a stand-off with the landlady and letting agent over cleaning both the home and their possessions.
“It has been really stressful,” Ms Morley said.
A Northwood spokesman said: “We have sent very detailed proposals, covering all aspects of this dispute to the tenants. They have the option to retain the tenancy or surrender it.”