‘Welcome to Hell’ - No front door, black mould, and a scorched wall in horrifying condition of flats
- Credit: Archant
A tenant in a Norfolk block of flats with 'Welcome to Hell' scrawled in the entrance hall has said he can not bring his children round to visit because of the squalid conditions.
To the passer-by the block of flats in Glebe Close, Thetford, could look abandoned. It is covered in graffiti, has several windows boarded up and has water pouring off the side of one of the walls.
There is also no front door as tenants fear constant break-ins and the building has been left scorched by a recent rubbish fire.
But this is actually home to around six people who have today called for conditions at the flats to be improved.
Breckland District Council, meanwhile, has confirmed an investigation is under way into the living conditions people are faced with.
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However, the landlord of the flats today hit back, blaming the tenants themselves for the issues.
The tenant this newspaper spoke to, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he has no working heating and struggles to deal with the black mould and flies.
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He added: 'I have got kids but I can't bring them in here because of the mould. The windows have popped out and I have got no heating. The storage heaters take 12 hours to come on and they still don't work.
'If you spent the night in here you would freeze. I have got mould in the living room behind the wallpaper and my landlord told me to put mould paint on it instead of coming to fix it.'
He added that the block can not even get post delivered and tenants lived in constant fear of being burgled.
He said: 'It is awful living here. There is no downstairs front door, the flats get broken into all the time and so often it is just not safe.'
The tenant pays landlord Rick Player, of Players Properties, £500 a month to live in the two-bedroom flat. He claims he was told that would rise by £300 if his friend moved in.
But Mr Player denied the allegations made against him and blamed the tenants for the state of the flats and said he was in the process of evicting two of the three tenants in the block for non-payment of rent.
He added: 'The front door is missing a lock, because every time I repair it, four times in the last 12 months, the tenants 'forget' their keys, and kick the door open, or break their key off in the lock, rendering it inoperative.
Mr Player added that work had been done to the block of flats since he since he bought the block, but did not say how long he has owned the flats.
He said 'The flats have been re-roofed, several of the windows replaced, and all four flats have been completely refurbished since I have owned them.
'New kitchens, bathrooms and flooring have been installed in all four flats and they have been completely decorated. Two of the flats have been rewired, with mains linked fire alarms installed.'
Mr Player also disagreed the flats had been let to the tenants in poor condition and said none of the tenants have reported disrepair to him as the landlord.
He said: 'Their tenancy agreements clearly state that disrepair should be reported, in writing, within 24 hours of the disrepair being noticed.
'The bottom flat has been unoccupied and empty for some months, whilst I waited for the previous tenants relatives to clear his belongings from the flat after his death from natural causes.
'They did not do so, and after asking repeatedly for them to clear and clean his flat, I was forced to have this done professionally.
'In this time, several of the windows in the bottom flat have been smashed, there has been no hurry to repair these, as with no tenant in the flats, they would only have been smashed again.'
Breckland District Council confirmed the condition of the block of flats was under investigation.
A spokesman for the council said: 'We have been made aware of some concerns regarding the condition of the property of Glebe Close and are currently in the early stages of investigating these.
'It is important that all housing across the district is maintained at an appropriate standard and we will work with landlords to address issues in any cases where improvements are necessary.'
In response to the fire on the property, a spokesman for Norfolk Police said: 'Police were called around 6.30am on New Years Day by the fire service reporting some rubbish outside an address in Glebe Close in Thetford was set alight.
'Fire service did not need our attendance and we were told for informational purposes only.'