Filippe Scalora claims a man moved into his west London flat with the help of an employee from the Clarion housing association. The 41-year-old said that when the borders re-opened and he returned home, he was left unable to “kick out” the stranger.
Filippe says the man ran up utility bills of over £8,000 in his name, reports MyLondon.
“It’s really taken a lot out of me. A stranger has been in my flat, running up bills and sleeping in my bed. Meanwhile I’m left homeless spending a fortune on hotels,” Filippe said.
Filippe left his flat in Chelsea in December 2019 to travel, but was unable to return to London after he got stuck in Australia with his parents as Coronavirus swept the globe.
Comforted by the fact that he had an assured lifetime tenancy agreement at the flat due to a health condition, Filippe contacted Clarion to let them know about his situation.
He said the Clarion employee who managed his flat asked him to send the keys back so she could gain access for inspections.
A short time later she informed him that someone else would be housed in his flat while he was away, but insisted that he would be allocated a new flat when he returns.
He had a friend move most of his belongings out believing he would not be left out in the cold on his return.
“I wasn’t too worried at first. I told her I will be coming back and she reassured me I would be moved into an available property.
“It wasn’t until travel resumed and I started making plans to return that I found out what was happening,” Filippe said.
The moment of realisation came when Filippe spoke to another Clarion employee about his new flat in November 2020.
He said he was told they had no record of anyone moving into his flat and that he had £8,000 worth of unpaid utility bills to his name.
“I soon found out that the Clarion worker had been collecting money by renting out my flat privately,” Filippe said.
Clarion has launched an investigation into tenancy fraud.
A spokesperson said: “Clarion takes a zero-tolerance approach to tenancy fraud and there is a criminal investigation currently underway regarding this case.
“In order to not prejudice that inquiry, we cannot comment in detail.
“We can confirm that three individuals are the subject of this investigation.
“We also have a robust policy for investigating any staff member accused of fraudulent activity and this is being acted on now.”
For the time being the stranger is still living in his flat while Filippe racks up a bill in hotels.
“I’d lived in Kensington and Chelsea for a long time, but I’ve had to move out because I can’t afford to stay in hotels in the area.
“It’s a real shame. I just want my flat back and for this nightmare to be over,” he said.
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