Families across the UK are being cruelly exposed in freezing houses with concrete floors due to council rules which mean tens of thousands of tonnes of carpets and wooden planks are thrown away every year.
Research in Scotland estimates that 7,700 tonnes of flooring is removed from social housing across the country every 12 months.
Every year, vacant tenants are forced to rip the equivalent of 6,600 double-deckers of floorboards from their homes before they leave or risk a hefty fine.
This shameful practice means thousands of cash-strapped young families live in cold, floorless homes for months on end, while tons of good carpets and planks are sold off by builders or thrown into the landfill.
Honey Penny, who is campaigning for a change in the law so that flooring is kept where possible, first learned of the rules when she gave away her old wooden floors for free on a Facebook group of recycling.
St Albans mother was shocked by the response and ended up sharing the material between three families who lived without flooring.
Sarah Dillingham first learned the rules when her mother died and the council told her there would be a charge if the seven-month-old carpets in her Hatfield, Hertfordshire weren’t torn up, reports online mirror.
“When I said they had been down for such a short time, we were told it was protocol for absolutely everything to be taken down, even though they really could have helped someone else. and save them a small fortune,” Sarah said. the mirror.
“I think it’s shameful that it has to be rendered with bare floors. It would have really helped my mom financially if she didn’t have to pay to put it up.
“I’m sure it would have been advantageous for the next person who moved in not to have to do it themselves before moving in.”
Unable to throw away the new rug, Sarah used part of it to cover her mother-in-law’s hallway and part to make her dog’s bed more comfortable.
Sarah’s experience with her local flooring removal council is by no means uncommon.
Although no research has been carried out for the whole of the UK, the figure above scaled for the country’s 5.2million social homes suggests that 80,000 tonnes of flooring is pulled out every year.
Adam Nichols, a researcher at End Furniture Poverty, says the policy has a big financial impact on people and harms the environment.
“End Furniture Poverty knows that flooring can be very difficult to get if you’re on a low income, it’s very expensive, and few crisis programs provide flooring,” he said.
“Up to 15% of heating can be lost in homes without floors and curtains, with household bills rising sharply, putting additional pressure on families.”
A mum, who asked not to be named, took out a £900 loan to lay out the floors after moving in and found her flat was much barer than the photos she had been shown.
A year and a half later, she has just repaid her debt.
A St Albans man watched as council contractors removed the flooring from his future neighbors’ flat and then sold it in the car park.
“They loaded it for the guy straight into his car and the money was exchanged,” he said.
“Better it is donated to charity than ‘thrown away’. In my opinion it is disgusting that it is sold, only for the new tenant to then have the cost of replacing it.
“The poor girl who moved in hasn’t had flooring for months.”
When Chantelle Barclay was offered her new apartment, one thing that caught her eye was the “beautiful parquet floor”.
She said: ‘Even the council said it was a good fit and good quality but they had to tear it up (before we moved in).
“We had to move in with a newborn with a concrete floor covered in plaster and paint.
“It was dirty and no cleaning improved it. It was winter and the frost and the concrete floor weren’t helping. We stuck to carpets until we could afford flooring.
“What a waste. We had to go months without anything on the floor when there was absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Another mum, who asked not to be named, found herself trying to make sure her two-year-old was uninjured on a downstairs concrete floor and wooden planks upstairs.
She only recently started using the downstairs, after Honey gave her some of her old flooring.
“Of course as a mum you worry about the splinters of wood we’ve had on numerous occasions, falling on a concrete floor is dangerous and it was so cold all winter too,” the mum said.
“I’ve been here for seven months and I just came from down there.
“If it wasn’t for people like Honey who donate their floors. I can’t afford it any other way. The floor is still bare.
Asked about its flooring policy, a spokesman for St Albans Council said it was “based on best practice from other local authorities and housing associations”.
“As part of their rental agreement, tenants are asked to remove all flooring such as carpets before the property is returned,” they said.
“That’s because – the floor can be in poor condition and unpleasant for new tenants; and pets may have been in the house, posing a risk of flea infestation.
“In some cases, which are quite rare, the flooring can be “offered” to the incoming tenant; if the carpet has just been laid, there is confirmation that there are no pets and it is treated against fleas as a precaution; where the flooring is suitable for new flooring to be laid on top, often where there may be problems with glue or tiling underneath.
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