Couple left homeless as ‘rot eats away’ at rented flat
Blair Cottrill and his wife Chantelle have been left ‘sofa surfing’ after town hall inspectors declared their flat a serious safety risk.
A couple say they have been made homeless after their rented flat was condemned by environmental health chiefs, who found rot was eating away at the building.
Blair Cottrill and his wife Chantelle have been left ‘sofa surfing’ after the block of flats containing their Stockport home was partially evacuated after several properties were deemed a serious safety risk by town hall inspectors.
It is understood four other flats at Victoria Grove in Heaton Chapel have been cleared amid fears of the structure collapsing.
It is believed dry rot has ruined the ground floor and spread throughout the building, prompting council officers to serve an Emergency Prohibition Order on the property.
Blair said residents had been told extensive repairs were needed to stop it falling down.
But he said their landlord, letting agents – Wren Properties – and the council had been unable to find them alternative accommodation.
Town hall chiefs insist the borough’s housing association, Stockport Homes, will be able to provide emergency accommodation if required.
Blair, 41, told the M.E.N: “The dry rot is extensive, the whole place is in a state of disrepair. It could collapse at any point.
“We were just told we had to leave. We’ve got nowhere else to go. We’ve been sofa surfing for a few days, but no one has been able to find us any alternative accommodation.
“It’s a private landlord, and we’ve been told nothing. I reported it to environmental health because it’s clear it’s been a problem for decades and has been neglected.
“We’ve been told that the landlord is responsible for repairs. Now it’s come to this and we’re out on our ear.
“We don’t know how long it is until we’ll be allowed back because they don’t yet know how bad the damage is.
“I’m seeking legal advice. It’s not on. I’m at my wit’s end.”
Fellow resident Rachel Whalen, 35, said: “We’ve been given so little information. We’ve no idea when we’ll be able to go back.
“My furniture is still in there. Nothing has been done about this problem for years, despite numerous complaints about inadequate maintenance.”
The M.E.N. has contacted letting agent Wren Properties for comment, but the firm – and the building’s landlord – have not responded.
A Stockport council spokeswoman said the order was put in place after officers identified a ‘category one’ hazard of ‘imminent risk to the health and safety of the occupiers’.
‘Extensive’ repairs are needed, she said, adding: “The order prohibits the use of the property until remedial works have been carried out by a suitably accredited and qualified specialist to the satisfaction of the local authority.
“The authority has been in close contact with all tenants and has advised them to find alternative accommodation with friends or family in the first instance.
“Stockport Homes have been informed and will provide emergency accommodation in the event that a tenant has nowhere to stay in the short term.”