Wainfleet family accuse councillor of letting them live in an ‘ice box’

Emma Dennis with daughter Kerri-Anne aged six.
Emma Dennis with daughter Kerri-Anne aged six.

A COUNCILLOR has been accused of hypocrisy for criticising irresponsible landlords when one of his own tenants live in a house they claim is an ‘ice box’.

Bernard Dennis lives in a two bedroom house at St Mary’s Court, Wainfleet, with his pregnant wife Emma and their six-year-old daughter Kerri-Anne.

He claims the property which they rent from Coun John Upsall is ‘freezing’ due to poor insulation and what they feel is their landlord’s lack of willingness to improve poorly maintained window fittings.

“We’re having to go to bed in our jumpers - the heating is not adequate and he’s made no attempt whatsoever to try and fix things,” he said.

Coun Upsall was previously responsible for housing matters at East Lindsey District Council, during which time he criticised landlords who ignored their duties towards their tenants.

Mr Dennis believes it is ‘diabolical’ that he made such comments considering the problems he says his family have faced while renting their home from him.

The family moved into the house in August 2010 and first reported problems with the windows to Coun Upsall more than a year ago. Faced with fuel poverty from the cost of heating their draughty home and no action from their landlord, Mr Dennis attempted to improve the problem by filling a hole in the rotten frame with foam.

Mr Dennis said that Coun Upsall threatened to evict his family for carrying out the makeshift repairs and was abusive in his dealings with them.

However Coun Upsall claims he carried out satisfactory window improvements to neighbouring properties he rents and the only reason he did not repaint the Dennis’s windows was because they had obstructed his attempts to do so.

He said the windows would have been in a repairable condition but Mr Dennis’s attempts had made the situation worse.

He also claims to have warned his tenants about the high heating costs posed by the property’s high ceilings and that those costs were factored into the ‘very reasonable’ rent he charges.

Mr Dennis has requested a council inspection to assess the condition of the property.