Social housing tenant who claims his one-bed home was illegally sublet when he was stranded in Australia at the start of the coronavirus crisis is suing his landlord Clarion for £1m
- Fillippe Scalora, 43, returned home to find someone living in his Chelsea home
- He claims he has been left homeless as the stranger continues to live in his flat
A social housing tenant is suing Clarion Housing Association for £1million in damages, claiming that one of their housing officers illegally sublet his home when he was stranded in Australia at the start of the pandemic.
Fillippe Scalora, 43, said that when he returned to his flat in Chelsea, south-west London, he noticed that someone had been sleeping in his bed and using his towels, cutlery, crockery and computer.
The former regulatory compliance official told the Guardian: ‘I walked into the flat and saw half of my stuff there and someone living in it. My mail was open, really private stuff like bank accounts and NHS appointment forms. I was devastated.’
Mr Scalora says the person that the housing officer moved in is still living in the house, leaving him homeless and living in budget hotels and temporary accommodation.
He got stranded in Australia when the pandemic hit and claims that the housing officer asked for his keys for a gas inspection when he told him that he would not be able to get back home.
He says the housing officer later told him that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council wanted to allocate his flat to a temporary tenant, but promised he would get it back, or be given another one, when he came home.
RBKC gave Mr Scalora the flat on Cale Street with a lifetime tenancy due to a medical condition.
His rent was around £600 a month but he said it would cost roughly £2,000 a month on the open market.
According to Mr Scalora, a friend was supposed to remove his belongings from the flat so that the new occupant could move in but it turned out that not all of his items were removed.
He realised something was off in November 2021, when the housing officer stopped replying to him and the council said it had no record of moving a new tenant into the home.
When he returned home in April 2022 he hired a locksmith to let him in the flat and that’s when he saw all of his personal items being used by a stranger.
He said: ‘It was very uncomfortable seeing someone had been sleeping in my bed, using my towels. It was just theft.’
The court case over the one-bedroom property goes to trial at the high court in London on Thursday.
Clarion refused to comment when approached by the Guardian.
But they did refer to a statement they made in October 2022 that a Clarion staff member, the unauthorised person residing in the home and Mr Scalora were suspected of colluding to commit tenancy fraud and were under criminal investigation.
This is an allegation that Mr Scalora strongly denies.
Scotland Yard said they received a report saying that an ‘unknown person was believed to have been residing at the address while the occupier was abroad’, that the ‘tenancy issue was a matter for the relevant housing authority’ and that no arrests had been made.
They did not say that Mr Scalora was under investigation but Mr Scalora said he was interviewed under caution in late 2022 but the investigation did not go ahead.
RBKC said it had ‘established that any legal action had to be pursued by Clarion’ whilst Clarion said it had not been pursuing any legal action at all.
MailOnline approached Clarion for comment but they refused at this time.