Property firm promises repayments

A Norfolk property firm promised to refund all its disgruntled former tenants following news of its closure.

A Norfolk property firm promised to refund all its disgruntled former tenants yesterday following news of its closure.

Norfolk Rentals, based in Thetford, confirmed it was winding up its operations because of a lack of business and financial troubles.

But half a dozen of the company's ex-customers have been left out of pocket for several weeks after its owner was unable to pay back their deposits.

Mark Law, 21, who rented a one bedroom house in Thistle Close, Thetford, with his girlfriend Elaine Cole for ten months, said he had been waiting more than two months to get £600 back from Norfolk Rentals.

The couple, who bought their first house, in Bury Road, Thetford, last month , have resigned themselves to not seeing the deposit money again.

“It has been a nightmare. We wanted that money to buy a new sofa and to do a bit of decorating to the new house, but in the end we had to dip into our own savings, which is not ideal,” he said.

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Mr Law, who works as a salesman for a Bury St Edmund car dealership, added: “Norfolk Rentals keep telling us that they will pay us, but I think we have lost the money. We went three months without hot water because they did not want to pay for fixing the boiler.”

The firm, which has a shop at Dorans Corner, in Earls Street, was bought by Raj Rachard in October last year and employs two people.

Mr Rachard, who now lives in London, but owns a fish and chip shop in St John's Way, Thetford, said he was “very sorry” to his former customers, but would get the money together to pay the company's outstanding bills and debts by the end of November.

“The situation is that I bought the business with huge debts and I have paid more than £65,000 out of my own pocket to keep it going. I am a businessman, but I bought the business without experience and made a huge mistake,” he said.

Samuel Oliverira , who manages Norfolk Rentals, said the company, which has 50 properties on its books, would close its doors by the end of the year, but not before it refunded its six former tenants.