Salford's highest rent arrears tenant loses home
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal
A social landlord has secured a possession order against a tenant with the highest rent arrears in Salford.
Julie Flesh was also responsible for causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to her home on Antares Avenue in Lower Broughton.
Landlord Salix Homes discovered that Flesh, who moved into the property in 1999, had actually abandoned the home in 2009.
However, the 44-year-old failed to inform Salix that she had moved out.
During a trial at Manchester Civil Justice Centre this week, the court heard that a raid the property by Greater Manchester Police in October 2010 uncovered the remnants of a cannabis farm (pictured).
Salix subsequently found the property to be in a severe state of dereliction with damage totalling £17,435.
The home was declared uninhabitable and the extensive damage included holes in the roof, structural damage and severe damp. The electricity metre had also been bypassed.
During the two-day trial Flesh admitted she had not lived in the property since July 2009 and claimed to have given the keys to her sister Victoria Flesh, who in turn gave the keys to an anonymous third party who she allowed to live at the property.
Victoria Flesh refused to tell the court who the third party was.
Julie Flesh denied any knowledge of a third party living at the property and claimed she was unaware of the existence of a cannabis farm. She claimed she had last visited the property in July 2010 and found it in good order.
This was refuted by District Judge Harrison, who said the third party would have been living in the property at that time. He said: "In July 2010, on the balance of probabilities, the property would have been damaged and even if it had not been damaged the third party would have been seen. I have come to the conclusion that the defendant was well aware of the occupation of the property and the damage to the property."
The court heard how Flesh was in breach of her tenancy agreement by failing to live at the property, by allowing an unauthorised third party free access to the house, by failing to prevent the cultivation of drugs, by allowing damage to the property and by failing to pay her rent.
Flesh had not paid any rent since February 2011 when her housing benefit was stopped after Salix alerted the benefits agencies that she was not living at the property. A total of £9,665,01 in rent arrears has been accrued - the highest of any social housing tenant in Salford.
The judge granted an outright possession order to Salix and Salford City Council and Flesh was ordered to hand back the property within 14 days.
She was also ordered to pay £27,100.01 to cover the cost of the rent arrears and the damage to the property.
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