Disabled Falkirk tenant left to cover hotel and redecoration costs after council work

Ronald Jenkins had to fork out for a two-night stay in a hotel while council contractors dismantled and replaced his bathroom ceiling as part of work on upstairs flat
Ronald Jenkins had to fork out for a two-night stay in a hotel while council contractors dismantled and replaced his bathroom ceiling as part of work on upstairs flat

A disabled man was left to foot a £150 bill for a two-night hotel stay while work was carried out on a council-bought property above his home — and then clean up the mess.

Ronald Jenkins, who has cerebral palsy, was initially offered day-time “respite and meals” at a sheltered housing complex by Falkirk Council as the bathroom ceiling in his property in Thornhill Road, Falkirk was being pulled down and replaced by contractors working on a flat purchased by the local authority.

The nature of the repairs meant 53-year-old Ronald’s toilet and sink had to be removed as joists were replaced, rendering his property uninhabitable.

Ronald, who is confined to a wheelchair and receives a fixed income, has lived in the flat since the age of 16.

The council tenant indicated to his housing officer he would prefer to book into the Premier Inn in Camelon for the duration of the work as he didn’t feel comfortable accepting the council’s offer of a commode for overnight use due to his condition.

However, his request for the local authority to pay for the two-night stay — on November 14 and 15 — was refused on the grounds of cost.

To make matters worse, when Ronald returned home he found both the toilet and hall carpet covered in plaster and muck, with walls left unfinished and cracks and holes still visible.

The light in his bathroom was also left dangling down and has yet to be fixed.

After contacting the housing officer to ask when the council would finish decorating, to his shock, Ronald was informed it was his responsibility to arrange and pay for redecoration.

That was despite the council tenant of almost 40 years explaining he’d spent nearly three hours down on his hands and knees cleaning his home.

Ronald claims he has been kept in the dark over how much he will have to fork out to cover the costs of redecorating, although he believes the sum will be at least £100.

Detailing how the council responded to his request, he said: “They refused to pay the hotel bill because they said they’ve not got the budget.

“That makes me laugh. They put a whole new floor in the flat upstairs and it must have cost them a lot more than £150.

“Even if the council paid half; I’m on a fixed income and half of it went to the hotel.

“The council wanted to put me in a care home. In this day and age, they wanted me to use a commode.

“Can you imagine the smell and having to empty it? The hotel was a lot easier.

“My housing officer promised me there would be no mess at all — they told me a load of lies.”

Carers call into Ronald’s home for one or two hours each day to help him with day-to-day tasks.

According to Ronald, getting greater support from the authorities is also desperately needed to prevent situations such as the one he experienced from happening in the first place.

He explained: “I would like to see a change of policy for the disabled and the elderly because at the moment they’re not taking any notice of us.

“We’re second class citizens. I hope something is done because the way the council treated me was really terrible.

“I just want the council to pay more attention to the disabled and the elderly because for years we’ve been getting ignored and they’ve not been listening to us.

“I’m still a council taxpayer so I’m entitled to some respect. I pay my council tax every month and get treated like this.”

Falkirk Council says the work which took place at Ronald’s home was necessary for safety reasons.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “We had access to this property to carry out essential repairs to the ceiling in order to make the property above safe.

“The work required took three days to complete and we offered our tenant respite and meals at nearby sheltered housing which was refused.

“The work was carried out in November and we have not received any correspondence from the tenant.

“Our contractor made every effort to protect the interior while the work was being carried out. We have arranged for the repaired ceiling to be repainted.”