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Family made homeless after 'following CAB advice'
3:18pm Wednesday 29th August 2012 in Colchester
A FATHER fears facing a battle to keep his daughter after being made homeless - claiming he only followed Citizens Advice Bureau guidance.
Graham Gull, 28, alleges he was told he would be within his rights to withhold rent until work to bring his house up to decent standard was carried out by his landlord.
But having not paid his rent for three months, Mr Gull was evicted from his £415-a-month house in Chinook, Highwoods, in May.
Now he has been told by social housing landlord Colchester Borough Homes he has intentionally made his family homeless and is not entitled to be added to the social housing waiting list.
“I have only done what I was advised to do when I went to Colchester Citizens Advice Bureau,” said Mr Gull, whose four-year-old daughter Naomi Gull and partner Martha Herman Sierra, 34, are also affected.
“Now we have nowhere to go.
“I have a young daughter and a partner and I can’t support them and social services are now inquiring about taking Naomi away.
“She’s my daughter and I won’t let that happen.”
He added: “All I want to have is a home so I can get back on my feet and provide for Naomi and Martha.”
Mr Gull, who is a mechanic by trade, worked in a garage in North Station Road until February, when he was made redundant.
The family is now staying with his sister, in Avon Way, in Greenstead.
A bureau spokesman would not comment on specific cases, but said a number of options are available to private tenants.
He added: “It is never a good idea to just stop paying your rent, you should consult an experienced adviser without delay.
“Withholding rent could mean that your landlord takes legal action against you for rent arrears and you could lose your home.
“In certain circumstances, you can arrange for repairs to be done yourself and use the rent money to pay for the work.”
By law a landlord must maintain the house structure, gas and water pipes, electrical wiring, including for gas fires and electric cookers.
A Colchester Borough Homes spokeswoman said: “We cannot comment on individual cases but each application is assessed under a standard criteria which is applicable to all.”