Residents of ‘worst hotel in Britain’ slam Camden Council’s management as ‘even worse’

One of the rooms at the HappyVale has been left open to raw sewage

One of the rooms at the HappyVale has been left open to raw sewage - Credit: Archant

Tenants of a property taken over by Camden Council because its landlord had left it infested with cockroaches and open to raw sewage, have accused the council of being even worse managers.

Water leaks at the HappyVale got so bad they caused ceilings to collapse

Water leaks at the HappyVale got so bad they caused ceilings to collapse - Credit: Archant

The Ham&High was this week handed a letter signed by more than half of the 12 tenants at the HappyVale Hotel in Mornington Crescent, complaining that conditions at the bedsit-style property have become “much worse” since it was taken over in June of last year.

It follows landlord Stephen Gethin losing control of his property after a judge found he had showed “a wilful refusal to comply with statutory obligations”.

The decision led cabinet member for housing, Cllr Julian Fulbrook, to brand the HappyVale “possibly the worst hotel in Britain”.

But after some eight months of council management, Cllr Fulbrook’s department is facing accusations it has left the place in an even worse state.

The letter, signed by seven tenants, complains of no heating during winter months, showers being stripped out of their rooms and raw sewage moving from outside the property to inside.

The joint letter reads: “Since the council has taken over the HappyVale, conditions at the hotel have been much worse for us.

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“There are still major leaks in the ceiling of the dining room and two of the basement rooms are open to raw sewage. The smell has become unbearable for neighbouring tenants. We call for better management of the property.”

After visiting the property last week, this paper found an extraordinary stench of sewage coming from two now-vacated rooms spreading through the property, along with buckets collecting water from collapsed ceilings and extensive mould.

The council suggested its hands were tied by the law and that the repairs needed were not classed as “emergency”.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of the extremely poor condition and problems at this property which led to us taking control of its management and undertaking repairs.

“The work included replacing dangerous gas boilers and electrical wiring, getting rid of mice rats and cockroaches, strengthening staircases and renewing parts of the roof.

“In December, we served a Final Management Order which gives the legal authority to carry out a full refurbishment. The owner has appealed against this, which until determined means we can only carry out emergency repairs.

“We continue to deal with urgent issues as soon as they are reported to us.”