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My flat was taken over by a stranger while I was abroad – now he lives there for free and nobody will move him out | The Sun

A MAN who got stuck overseas during the pandemic has been left homeless after a random stranger moved into his London flat while he was away. 

Filippe Scalora, 41, claims he is the victim of "a planned and well thought out fraud” after a squatter gained access to his Clarion property in Chelsea and began living there – with the help of an employee from the housing association. 




Filippe, who moved to London 21 years ago from Brisbane, moved into the Leverstock House on an assured lifetime tenancy agreement in February 2019.

The arrangement with Clarion was organised by Kensington and Chelsea Council who put Filippe there due to a health condition.  

His rental agreement outlines he was to pay utilities on top of his rent – and Filippe says he was happy in the property before deciding to take a trip abroad. 

Filippe left London on December 31 2019 to India before heading to Brisbane in February 2020 to visit his parents, but in March 2020 Coronavirus hit Australia, leaving Filippe unable to get back to London.

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He claims he contacted his Clarion consultant and alerted her to the situation when a few weeks later, he says she asked him to send the keys to her so that they could gain access for required inspections and collect his mail. 

The Clarion employee confirmed she'd received the keys and shortly after she told him that the council was putting some up in his house – but instead, Filippe claims she proceeded to sublet the flat to someone she knows.

Filippe told The Sun Online: "She told me that RBKC had 'nominated' someone to live in my flat during the pandemic. She then told me that when the lockdown ended, and I was able to return, I'd be allocated another tenancy." 

Filippe believes the Clarion worker exploited his situation for her own personal gain.

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He told The Sun Online: "It's absolutely devastating. There's all of the emotional trauma that's gone along with it. My health has suffered, my mental health has suffered. It's not right.

"I've been living on the assumption that I am homeless for almost two years and someone has been living largely rent free, utilities free, all the rest of it in my property. It's been life-changing."    

His personal items, clothing and furniture were in the property so the Clarion worker told him that he'd need to organise for some of it to be moved out. 

He said: "She said I needed to get someone around to move all of his stuff – I said to her during that call, 'I'm coming back, there's no possibility of me not returning', and told her 'there can't be someone else in my flat'. 

I was in Australia, locked down with my parents while this man has been running up bills in my name in my flat

"Then she said 'don't worry about it, Clarion will move you into an available property' – so I didn't stress too much about it."

Filippe sent his friend around to the flat who was dealing directly with the Clarion worker to pack up most of his belongings.

When he couldn't get in touch with the Clarion worker in July 2021, he began to wonder what was going on. 

As travel was starting to open up again, Filippe was making plans to return to the UK and needed to know what was happening with his place.

In November, he called Clarion to ask about the details for his new flat – but a Clarion client services representative told him no sort of plans were in place.

Filippe says: "They said 'what are you talking about?' and I said 'this is what was agreed'. They said no one had been nominated to move into your flat, the property is still in your name and there's £8,000 outstanding in bills. 

"It had not been relet, and when they looked – someone had appeared to forge my signature on several forms." 

Filippe says the "forged" signature used on the documents matches the one on his passport which his Clarion worker was in possession of for proof of identity. 

He claims the worker has been running a "racket"  on the estate – renting out social housing flats privately and collecting the cash herself. 

He says: “I was in Australia, locked down with my parents while this man has been running up bills in my name in my flat." 

'BASELESS CLAIMS'

After multiple phone calls and complaints to Clarion, he was told a tenancy fraud investigation had been launched – but despite multiple efforts for an update, Filippe was repeatedly denied to be kept in the loop. 

He says he was shocked to be named as a co-conspirator and claims the allegations they are making against him are "bizarre" and "baseless" but "convenient for Clarion". 

He said: “They are a bad attempt by Clarion to blame a tenant for their own well published failings."

Filippe claims the Clarion employee who moved the man into his property illegally knows the man who moved into the flat in a personal capacity. 

Filippe says: "Everything points in the same direction. She got the keys and she sublet the flat. A random person could not have orchestrated or put this together themselves. 

"You have to have knowledge of how Clarion works – the mechanics.

"You need to know there's a delegated authority, you need to know what my signature looks like, you need to know who to call, you need to know when to make a payment so an eviction notice doesn't get issued.

"There's too much that you need to know about Clarion to be able to pull this off without them being involved." 

He is adamant he has never met the man in his home, has never spoken to him and did not ever authorise him to live in the home. 

He says: “This man is living in my home for free and doesn’t pay rent or utilities."

Filippe says the situation has made him homeless and he is now living in hotels which has cost him tens of thousands of pounds. 

He says Clarion cannot provide any details or information that can prove any connection between him and the occupant. 

'UNACCEPTABLE'

The Sun Online made repeated requests to Clarion for any evidence of the two colluding which was not provided.

Filippe urgently wants the situation to be made right. 

He said: "Clarion is a disaster. In terms of the way they operate, this is another example of them just not being fit for purpose.

"I need to be put into a property, I need to be paid  – I've been literally living in hotels for two years. That's unacceptable."

In a statement, Clarion said one of their employees is believed to be involved in the tenancy fraud case – but they believe Filippe is in on it too, along with the man who is living in the home. 

A spokesperson told The Sun Online: "We can confirm that three individuals are the subject of this investigation: a Clarion staff member, a Clarion resident and the person now illegally residing in the home.

"All three of these individuals are suspected of colluding to commit tenancy fraud.

"If tenancy fraud is established, we will take all appropriate action and support the prosecution of anyone who has been involved."

The spokesperson said they also have a robust policy for investigating any staff member accused of fraudulent activity and this is being acted on now.

The spokesperson said an investigation is ongoing. 

“Clarion takes a zero tolerance approach to tenancy fraud and there is a criminal investigation currently underway regarding this case.

"In order to not prejudice that inquiry, we cannot comment in detail."

They said all Clarion residents are made aware of their responsibilities when moving into a property.

Filippe says the allegation of collusion as the "Clarion resident" named by the housing association is merely “a bad attempt by Clarion to blame a tenant for their own well published failings”. 

He says: "A scammer working for Clarion targeted me during the pandemic. 

"I have no clue who the man is who is living in my home – he is a random and complete stranger."

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Despite Filippe's name being on all documents relating to the tenancy of the flat, the squatter still resides in the property.

Filippe has laid multiple complaints with Clarion, the Chelsea and Kensington Council, police, the Ombudsman and his local MP.


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