I came back from a 4 day camping trip to find the council had locked me out of my own home – it’s ridiculous

A TENANT was locked out of her flat overnight by the council for not telling them she was off on a four-day camping trip.

Alice Benn, 33, had to sleep on a neighbor’s sofa and was banned from going into her flat just to pick up clean clothes.

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Alice Benn was locked out of her temporary accommodation.Credit: Alice Benn
She had to sleep on a neighbor's sofa

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She had to sleep on a neighbor’s sofaCredit: Alice Benn

She came back from the holiday with her 23-year-old brother in Camber Sands, East Sussex, last night when she realised the code on her temporary accommodation flat had changed.

An on-duty worker told her they changed the lock code because she went away without telling them.

But no one in charge of the block of 27 flats in Tonbridge, Kent, tried to contact her while she was away before deciding to lock her out, she said.

Alice, who lives alone in the £124-a-month flat, told The Sun: “It feels like a prison here. I went away for four days, not weeks and weeks.

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“They have my number and email but I had no correspondence from them. Why didn’t they contact me?

“I had nothing on me, no clean clothes. If my neighbor wasn’t here I don’t know what I would have done.

“I would’ve had to camp in the hallway. There was nobody I could’ve called to speak to about it. It’s all a bit ridiculous.

“When I first realised I was locked out I questioned myself and thought had I put the code in right?

‘But then it’s like ‘what am I supposed to do?’

“Do I call out of hours? What am I going to do with my stuff? I was sitting there thinking where am I going to stay?”

She added that her and her neighbor, who has three children, were worried about Alice staying the night because the authorities ban people staying round in other flats past 10pm.

She said they did not want the neighbor getting in trouble for helping her out.

Alice added: “It’s just a joke. I wasn’t allowed in my flat, even supervised, to get my things. It feels like they can do what they want.

“We have no power – they can just take away our housing.”

Alice had been living in private rented accommodation all her life until a mental health episode last year forced her into temporary accommodation.

She has been actively looking for work and said she is struggling to afford her flat.

A clause in her licensing agreement states residents must inform the scheme manager if they are staying elsewhere overnight.

Bosses also reserve the right to change the door code at any time.

A spokesperson for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “Dowding House provides temporary accommodation for people, many of whom may be vulnerable.

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“The Council will always seek to engage with and provide support to occupants to address breaches of license conditions.

“Unfortunately there are times when there is the need to follow a reasonable course of action to cease the provision of temporary accommodation in instances of serious breaches of license conditions, and for the safety and security of tenants.”

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