Two homeless women staging a Derby city centre protest to get a house have wreaked more than £5,000 of damage to places they have lived in, landlords claim.
Kessa Scott and Kelly Miklasz began their protest outside the Council House on Monday, demanding safe and secure housing. But two landlords – YMCA Derbyshire and a Chaddesden convenience store owner – say they had to kick the pair out after they wrecked their properties.
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YMCA Derbyshire’s director of operations Karol Koniarski said he had no choice but to evict the duo after making several attempts to come to an agreement over compensation. He said: “At least nine people from YMCA got involved in the situation. They caused the best part of £2,500 of damage to the property.
“We tried to engage with them a number of times but to no avail. I agreed twice to meet with them. Their link worker also talked to them and even offered them lifts to the meetings but, on both occasions, they said they were too busy or whatever.
Mr Koniarski said the door still remained open to the pair if they wanted to talk to the YMCA again.
He added: “I can categorically say that our tolerance levels are significantly higher than any other provider in the city. But the levels of damage they caused made it unfair on other people to continue to house them.”
Another landlord who housed the pair in a flat in Wood Road, Chaddesden said he had to kick them out after anti-social behaviour, about £3,000-£4,000 worth of damage, and unpaid rent.
Sudhir Kumar said: “The property was refurbished before they moved in. It’s a dump now. They say I kicked them out for not paying up in time but I would happily have waited for the housing benefit. But the anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood and the amount of damage was too much.”
A spokeswoman for Derbyshire police confirmed that 18 calls have been made to the police relating to the block of flats in which the pair lived, and on at least one occasion one person was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace. Ms Scott and Ms Miklasz have set up home in sleeping bags at the foot of the clock outside the Council House in Corporation Street.
They said they had separately lost their homes and had moved into the YMCA, and then together into the flat. Ms Scott, who has qualifications in catering, admitted causing damage to the Chaddesden flat but said she was in the process of repairing it before they were evicted.
Ms Miklasz, 20, said she became homeless after she was asked to leave her family home and struggled to keep up rent payments on her flat. She has qualifications in engineering. Ms Scott, 23, said lost her own flat after being unable to keep up with 65-hour working weeks and had to move into the YMCA.
Speaking on behalf of the pair 23-year-old Ms Miklasz said of the landlord: “We told him we were going to repair them (the damage) but he kicked us out before we were able to. We don’t accept the anti-social behaviour claims. All you had to do in that property is speak and you can hear it outside.”
The pair also said the damages to the YMCA property were the result of faulty fixtures and fittings which they asked staff to fix before they eventually broke.
Kessa said: “I made complaints about two months before we were kicked out. To shut the doors in the property you have to slam them. That’s why the door hinge started falling off. I said ‘you need to sort them before they get damaged because otherwise we will get the blame.”