A COUNCIL tenant has spoken about the ‘complete and utter nightmare’ he faces living on one of the city’s estates – and the authority’s inability to do anything about it.
The tenant, who the Citizen has agreed not to name for his own safety, lives in constant fear. In recent months he has been assaulted, suffered death threats, had dog poo shoved through his letterbox and put up with loud music and banging on his door throughout the night.
But Milton Keynes Council has been unable to evict the man behind most of the trouble, despite the fact he is a drunk who was recently convicted of growing cannabis in his own council flat.
Our source, who has learning difficulties and Aspergers, said: “I feel the council lost control eight to nine months ago. The police and council seem to have said, ‘this guy is too much of a problem, let them fight it out between themselves’.
“I struggle through life sometimes. I moved to be closer to my family, which provides the support I need.
“But I was assaulted in a stairwell in November. The police had no evidence to prove who did it.
“Now I am being woken up at night with loud music, banging on the door, dog poo through the letterbox. I have had to board it up because I’m so scared.
“Death threats have been made against me and threats that my flat will be burned down.
“It literally petrifies me.
“I am only living in two rooms of the flat. At night I sleep with the light on and at every single sound I’m up checking the doors and windows. I’m constantly phoning my family to say I’m scared.
“Whenever I call the police it’s ‘there’s nothing we can do’. I have had times when I have just cried and cried. I can’t sleep properly. I have been moody with people who have done nothing to me.
“I’m constantly looking over my shoulder to see who is following me.”
The tenant, who has put an extra lock on his door for added security, added: “It is like living in a prison cell. I can’t go out at night. When I have to work late I have to get someone to come home with me as I’m so scared something will happen.
“It is a complete and utter nightmare. It is like mob rule in the flats. If you are big and strong you are in control.”
The council has offered to move him out of his flat and into a towerblock, but the tenant said his Aspergers means he needs to be close to his family to survive.
“I don’t want to move out of the Lakes Estate,” he said.
“I have tried living away from the family and got to the point where I tried killing myself four times in six months. Moving away would put me back to square one.
“I want to be at peace, but to move out would be worse for me. I would have been stuck in an eighth floor flat. If I had a dark mood I’m worried I would succeed if I felt like ending my life.”
And he said he is disgusted a convicted criminal can remain in his flat while he is too scared to return home.
“I am the one that hasn’t committed any crime, hasn’t made anyone’s life a misery.
“The authorities take the side of the offenders over the victims, who are made to feel they are the ones in the wrong for making them do their job.
“There is no support for victims of these kind of crimes.
“Teresa May said the Government will stamp out this sort of anti-social behaviour, but this man has committed a crime and the authorities can’t kick him out.”
The council have asked our source to testify as part of a long-winded eviction process that could take as long as a year, but he said: “Why does it have to get to the stage where the victims have to put their lives on the line to get this criminal out of his flat.”
He has moved in with family to avoid the area, but the council told him to move back into his flat or it would be re-rented.
“They said if I don’t go back to my flat they will deem it uninhabited, board it up and re-rent it. But when I went up there I was approached by two council officers who said, ‘you can’t be here, the animal is in his flat’.
“They are giving conflicting messages. It’s totally confusing.”
And he added: “I have been self-harming when these people have been at my door making threats. I cut myself to reassure myself, to make sure it is not a dream.”
When dealing with problem tenants the council is tied by legal procedures that can mean it can take up to a year and a number of court appearances before an eviction can be secured.
Other legal procedures are possible, but often large rafts of evidence have to be collected for these to succeed – and they can even mean that while tenants are removed from their homes, the council still has to battle for many months before an eviction is granted leaving valuable housing stock unoccupied in the meantime.
A council spokesman said: “There are a variety of resources available to the council for dealing with anti social behaviour, including legal action if necessary.
“The law has put in place a number of safeguards to ensure that those who are subject to the action are dealt with fairly, and the council is obliged to ensure these are met – the natural consequence of this can be that cases can take a long time to resolve. Whatever action is taken, this must be supported by solid evidence and directed at the actual problem at hand.
“The council will be taking action, but it may take time and care as necessary to ensure that it is effective.”