Parish council chairman caught up in shared house rent row

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THE chairman of one of the biggest parish councils in the city has been evicted from is home amid accusations that he defrauded fellow tenants, the Citizen can reveal.

John Goss, who represents 15,000 people as the head of Campbell Park parish, this week left his shared house in Oldbrook allegedly owing £3,000 back rent.

In a bizarre twist, his two housemates are insisting they paid their share of the rent to 28-year-old Mr Goss – but say he failed to pass it on the their private landlord.

They have now shown the landlord their bank statements confirming a year’s worth of direct debit payments into Mr Goss’s own bank account.

The allegations of dishonesty may affect Mr Goss’ position as parish chairman and also his role as head of Q:Alliance, the city organisation for gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgender people.

The landlord, a London property investor, has confirmed to the Citizen that Mr Goss was appointed as rent collector for the house and around £3,000 was owed.

He said he had seen the bank evidence and was “satisfied” the other tenants paid their share of £260 apiece each month into Mr Goss’ account during the arrears period,

The situation only came to light when one tenant, a 23-year-old computer worker, decided to move on and contacted the landlord for a reference.

“I thought I was the perfect tenant because I’d never missed paying my rent to John.

“I was really shocked when the landlord said all this money was owing,” he said.

“To not pay your own rent is bad enough, but to collect money from fellow housemates and not pass it on is terrible.”

Mr Goss occupied the only double room in the Shackleton Place property originally with his former boyfriend, but the £780 monthly rent, which excluded bills, was split three ways, say his tenants.

“We knew each other through Q Alliance, so it was all quite friendly and we trusted him,” said the 23-year-old.

Mr Goss, now believed to be living with his parents, declined to discuss the matter but said in a statement: “Where areas of non-payment have been identified these are either being rectified or brought to the landlord’s attention.

“From my part, the amount which has been identified does not equate to £3,000.

“The house has seen a small number of different people living there at different times, and it would be wrong for sole responsibility to be left with me.

“I have always worked hard for the local community, and don’t believe this issue should get in the way of me continuing to do so.”

Campbell Park Parish Council was unaware of the rent row.

Deputy chair Mike Johnson this week said he could not comment until the matter had been investigated by councillors.