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Happy Vale Hotel: Tenants finally evicted from hostel a year on from 'squalid' conditions being revealed

PUBLISHED: 17:23 06 February 2019

Happy Vale Hotel in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent

Happy Vale Hotel in Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent

Archant

A year after the Ham&High reported on the shocking conditions inside Mornington Crescent’s notorious Happy Vale Hotel, its residents have finally been evicted.

Hospitality Zone LLP's partner Hanif Bhimji outside Happy Vale Hotel, with bailiffs and a lawyer, on the day its tenants were finally evicted. Picture: Mark GuardHospitality Zone LLP's partner Hanif Bhimji outside Happy Vale Hotel, with bailiffs and a lawyer, on the day its tenants were finally evicted. Picture: Mark Guard

The hostel, which housed housing benefit claimants in Harrington Square, had been in a squalid condition for some time. During a visit early last year, the Ham&High saw evidence of rodents running over grimy kitchen counters, broken plumbing and blocked toilets.

Its owners, Hospitality Zone LLP, were fined £660 in April over the state of the property. It pleaded guilty to failing to ensure a window and sink were in good repair.

Other charges against the company, and a partner in the firm, Hanif Bhimji, were dropped.

Among those who left Happy Vale Hotel on January 30 was former owner Stephen Gethin, who was born in the hostel in 1951. His mother had previously owned the building, which once housed manual workers.

A rat licks butter off the butter dish on the kitchen counter in Happy ValeA rat licks butter off the butter dish on the kitchen counter in Happy Vale

In 2014 Mr Gethin was fined £20,000 and deemed unfit to manage the hostel, but continued to live there.

Following the eviction, a metal door has been put up at the front of the property.

According to Hospitality Zone LLP, the delay in tenants being evicted as because of people squatting in the hostel after the notice was served.

A spokesperson said: “[We] served two month notices on the occupiers of the hotel terminating their tenancies when [we] became legal owner and [were] entitled to do so.

“After expiry of these notices, the occupiers did not vacate and [we] applied for a court order for possession. It took several months to obtain a possession order from the court. The occupiers still did not leave upon receipt of the court order. Because of this [we] had to apply to court for enforcement officers to remove the occupiers. The eviction date provided by the court was January 30. The whole process took nearly a year.

“[We] have carried out maintenance work on the hotel and concentrated on obtaining vacant possession before deciding what it will do with the hotel.”

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