Sunday, June 16, 2024

South Ockendon mum: "Why am I being charged rent on a house that is not fit to live in?"

A SOUTH OCKENDON mother has been fighting a six year battle in and out of court with Thurrock Council over why she has to pay rent in a house that she claims is "uninhabitable."

Michelle Stavers, 30, moved into her house in Quince Tree Close, South Ockendon in 2009 with her then three-year-old son.

But it soon became apparent to Michelle that the house had, according to her, damp and mould issues.

The conditions became so bad that, at times, Ms Stavers had to move out.

A battle then ensued and continues to this day, as to whether it was fair or just that Ms Stavers had to pay rent on the property in South Ockendon that she felt was "not fit for habitation".

Ms Stavers said: "It was clear after we moved in that the house was unfit. It had water running down the walls.

"I have tried to live there but it has made my son ill. I simply think it is deeply unfair and unjust for the council to charge me rent in a house that is unfit for habitation and is making my son ill.

"The centre of this is my son’s welfare. I have appealed to the council to help me but they have ignored us."

Thurrock Council has undertaken extensive work on the South Ockendon house, on the outside and on the inside, to try and remedy the problems but none of it, according to Ms Stavers appears to be working.

Ms Staver’s situation has led to court proceedings as Thurrock Council believe that she owes them thousands of pounds in rent.

However, Ms Stavers has been backed by Ockendon councillor, Barry Johnson.

Cllr Johnson believes that Thurrock Council could find themselves facing a number of consequences.

He said: "The debts started with housing benefit being paid by Thurrock Council to Thurrock Council for a property that was uninhabitable when originally offered to her.

"The portfolio holder must step in and make the council see sense before they face an enquiry .

"If the portfolio holder suggests they are not aware of the problem then there is another problem and this time with the administration."

Thurrock Council has confirmed that there was court action last week. The application to evict Ms Stavers was halted and her debts rescheduled.

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