Thanet council is investigating a number of complaints about the Florence Court Hotel in Cliftonville which the authority has been using for emergency accommodation for people facing homelessness.
The property in Surrey Road has been the focus on a number of complaints related to hygiene, lack of heating, problems with mice and people becoming scared about uninvited entry into their rooms.
Earlier this month 18-year-old Alexi Price raised her concerns and made a complaint to Kent Police of someone trying to get into her room by forcing the key from the lock.
The teen was placed at the hotel by Thanet council as she was homeless. She said the bedding in her room looked ‘recently used’ and smelt and the overall condition was dirty.
She says she was so unnerved by uninvited attempts to enter her room – on one occasion while she was in bed – that she ended up booking into a Travelodge before a move to temporary accommodation outside of the district.
The online sales worker was so disturbed by the conditions that she has created a facebook page for others to share their experiences in a bid to get action taken.
On it she says: “I think TDC needs to be enlightened on the current issues and to start taking action to give us vulnerable people a better response and also look at ways of managing these houses and also look into sourcing more affordable emergency/temporary accommodation which is appropriate for each individual’s needs.”
Earlier this week a Thanet mum said she has been at the hotel for more than seven weeks with her two young children and highlighted glue mousetraps in the premises and a lack of heating as well as dirty conditions and uninvited attempts to enter her room.
Thanet council has paid £30,630 to the Florence Court Hotel between January and June this year for emergency accommodation. The greater part of this – £23,315 – was between April and June.
Thanet council has now confirmed it is in the process of finding alternative accommodation for people currently placed there and is investigating the complaints.
A council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of issues at the Florence Court Hotel. We are investigating the complaints and have started the process of identifying alternative properties for the residents who have been placed there in temporary accommodation following a homeless application where the council owes a Relief Duty.
“We investigate all complaints received about the quality of temporary accommodation, including visiting the accommodation when necessary to ensure that it is suitable.”
A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was called at 10.45pm on Saturday 17 September following concerns raised by an 18-year-old woman at a hotel in Cliftonville.
“An officer later attended the hotel and spoke to the woman. She was given safety advice and no criminal offences were identified.”
The Isle of Thanet News has contacted the hotel but not yet received a response.
Emergency accommodation on the isle
Thanet council says temporary accommodation placements in the district are limited.
A spokesperson previously said: “The type, location and quantity of emergency accommodation that we can access varies day by day. Placements within the district are limited and options are more varied and numerous outside Thanet. Our aim is always to move households who have been placed outside of the district back into Thanet as soon as possible.
“Temporary accommodation is provided until the household is either successful in bidding for a social rented tenancy on our housing register, or finds an alternative private sector home.”
Thanet council receives around 1,000 homelessness applications each year. The council is landlord of 3034 properties but demand outstrips supply. The authority has 1,740 households on the housing register waiting for an affordable rented home. Of these 923 are individuals and 817 are families.
In June Thanet council said there were 181 households in temporary accommodation, with 96 housed outside Thanet.
Get housing help
Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277
Find Alexi’s page:TDC – TEMPORARY/EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATION ISSUES