Stranded Hurricane Sandy victim enraged after Thurrock Council force entry to his flat
Date posted: 01-11-2012
A THURROCK Council tenant, caught up in Hurricane Sandy in New York City, is enraged after Thurrock Council forced entry to his flat despite his desperate pleas to wait.
Kevin Taylor of Marine Court, Purfleet had gone on holiday to New York last week.
According to Mr Taylor, he had arranged for the council to enter the flat when he returned on Wednesday October 31st, as an upstairs neighbour had a blockage in their sink.
But Mr Taylor’s plans changed as the superstorm, that has killed over 50 people, left him stranded.
Speaking from his blacked-out hotel room in New York City, Mr Taylor told YT. “I spoke with the council on Friday because they were going to force entry to my property.
I explained to them that I was stranded in New York, as my flight on Monday had been cancelled due to the hurricane. American Airlines had arranged for me to fly home on Tuesday but that flight was cancelled too.
“I explained that my neighbour next door had my back door key if entry was required.
“I’m in a hotel with no power and no hot water.”
However, Thurrock Council have defended their actions stating that they had been trying to gain access to sort the problem for some time.
A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “The council’s housing office and repairs section have been trying to gain access to the dwelling in Marine Court for approximately four weeks after the tenant above reported being unable to use her kitchen sink due to a blockage and it was confirmed the blockage originated in Mr Taylor’s flat.
“A card was put through the letter box and the tenant was spoken to by another team member advising he must allow access. Repairs also contacted him explaining urgent access was needed.
“None was given. He then went on holiday.
“In the meantime the tenant in the flat above was unable to use the sink in her kitchen.
“The tenant finally agreed access on Wednesday (31 October) when he would have returned from his holiday, but due to delays he was unable to travel home so the decision was made to force entry.”
The tenant’s next-door neighbour contacted us to advise she had a key to the property, but also said the tenant had made it clear the key must not be given to staff to allow access.
Unfortunately, there was no alternative but to force entry.
The neighbour, Dolores Collins has contradicted the council’s assertion re the key.
Dolores said: “I told the council officers there that Kevin was happy for me to pass the key to officers but did not want them unaccompanied in his flat.”