A man has slammed a landlord demanding rent for a flat he moved out of when his ladder went through the floor.

Ben Jones moved into the flat in Bishop Auckland in September last year but moved out just a month later after discovering several issues.

Now he is being chased by Believe Housing, which owned the flat, for rent which Ben says he should not have to pay because of the issues he faced.

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Ben told the Echo: “I had been living down south to help my mum who had been diagnosed with cancer and was moving back up last August.

“I viewed the flat virtually online and said I’d take it.

“I couldn’t move in straight away because I was still at my mum’s but when I got in and started redecorating that’s when the problems started.

“Someone had clearly been smoking because the walls were covered in nicotine – it took five coats of paint to cover them.

The Northern Echo: Ben Jones outside the flat he was renting from Believe Housing.Ben Jones outside the flat he was renting from Believe Housing. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“When I was painted the ladder went straight through the floor in the living room, then it fell through the bedroom floor too.

“There was also a glass panel missing in the wall inside which I was told had been ordered when I viewed it but still wasn’t there.”

Ben, who is currently unable to work due to a health condition, complained to Believe Housing who said they would rectify the issues and gave him a £60 renovation voucher but he decided to hand back his keys.

“I moved out in October, but they’re still saying I owe them almost £500 rent even after the issues,” Ben added.

“They said the problems weren’t reported soon enough but they only arose after I moved in.

“I’ve got chronic liver disease and it’s stressing me out asking about this money all the time.”

Believe said it was sorry if it fell short of expectations but did not say it would no longer chase Ben for the rent.

Nik Turner, Executive Director of Communities and Customer Services at Believe Housing, said: “While we’re sorry that our services fell short of Mr Jones’ expectations, none of the issues he reported prevented him from living in the flat from the start of his tenancy.

“We gave him a voucher towards redecorating costs and explained that the glass to repair the interior window had been ordered and would be fitted once it was available.

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“Mr Jones later reported that the bedroom floor had been damaged while he was decorating but, before we were able to fix it, he told us he planned to leave the property.

“At that point, we advised him his tenancy would run until the end of that month and he’d owe rent until that date.”

“More than 95 per cent of our income comes from rent so it is vital that we collect what is owed, so we can continue to manage our 18,000 homes and provide customer and community services.”