Caretaker’s anger at ‘unfair’ rent rise

NEAABE120214b2, Caretaker Nigel Holmes, Chewton Street Eastwood.
NEAABE120214b2, Caretaker Nigel Holmes, Chewton Street Eastwood.

A CARETAKER at an Eastwood primary school claims he is being ‘unfairly’ forced out of his home by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Nigel Holmes, the caretaker of Eastwood’s Priory Catholic School, says when he moved into his house at Brookhill Leys Primary School nine years ago it was with the agreement he would pay reduced rent until he left his job.

But now the council want to make him pay full rent, more than tripling his monthly payments from £147 to £560, which he says he cannot afford.

“I only come out with £800 a month,” he said. “£560 rent wouldn’t leave me with much would it?”

But a Nottinghamshire County Council spokesperson said My Holmes moved into the property under the agreement it was an ‘insecure tenancy’, meaning he was given a cheap rate but the council could up the price when it wanted.

However, Mr Holmes claims the promise to offer him the low rate until he left his job was minuted in a governors meeting.

“The agreement was I could stay on reduced rent until I left the school,” he added. “They have gone against the agreement.

“I look after it and I’m not a nuisance to anybody. I still work for them and I should be able to stay here.”

The 45-year-old said he paid to replace the kitchen and bathroom.

“It was a dump when we moved in so we spent a lot of money getting it up to standard,” he said.

“Now they’ve seen it all done up and they want it back.”

Mr Holmes – who also recently had his wage slashed £2,000 a year because of council budget cuts – has already contacted Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero and is now considering going to the Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.

Lesley Haywood, group manager of design and maintenance operations at the council, said: “Mr Holmes requested permission to live in the property when it became vacant several years ago and it was granted by the governors at Brookhill Leys Primary School.

“There have been a number of improvements to the property, however the majority have been paid for in full by the council.

“We are not a housing authority and for operational reasons we have reviewed Mr Holmes’ occupation of the property. The council has indicated to him that should he wish to continue to stay, he will need to pay the market rent for that property which will be an increase on the rent he currently pays.”

Mr Holmes is the caretaker for the Priory Roman Catholic School, but lives on site at Brookhill Leys Primary School in Chewton Street.