Father who refused to move 1cm-high doormat over 'health and safety fears' threatened with injunction and hauled to court

  • Case was thrown out and housing association landed with £1,700 legal bill

A father-of-two has criticised housing chiefs for dragging him into court because he refused to move a doormat from outside his flat.

Lubin Reyes, 37, was ordered to remove the 1cm high rubber doormat because health and safety officials ruled it was a fire hazard.

But he refused and Notting Hill Housing Association said they were going to take the currency broker and his wife to court to apply for an anti-social behavior injunction to order him to remove it.

ubin Reyes, 37, was ordered to remove the 1cm high rubber doormat because health and safety officials ruled it was a fire hazard

Exasperated: Lubin Reyes was ordered to remove the 1cm high rubber doormat because health and safety officials ruled it was a fire hazard

But the case was thrown out of Bedford County Court and the housing association was forced to pay their £1,700 legal bill which they were hoping Mr Reyes would have to pay had they won.

Instead, Mr Reyes signed a legal agreement agreeing the remove the mat to put an end to the saga.

Yesterday, he said it was wrong for housing chiefs to take him to court.

He said: 'They wanted to give me an injunction for a doormat. It is just wrong. Luckily the judge realised that the case was a waste of court time.

'None of my neighbours have come to me and complained about the door mat, it is just the housing association who have a problem.

'The housing association just want to tick boxes. They never gave me a deadline to remove the mat so I didn’t.

The Anti-social behaviour injunction sent to Mr Reyes over the row claiming if he does not obey the order he could be sent to prison

The Anti-social behaviour injunction that the council tried to get the judge to serve. Instead he signed a document pledging to remove the mat

'This is a case of harassment from the housing association. We worry that we will lose our home over this. That is a horrible feeling.

'This has been going on for a year now - all about a doormat. The doormat was removed by the housing association two months ago.

'I am not going to put a new one down now. I do not need the hassle. But I am frustrated that now I will have to walk dirt into my flat.'

Mr Reyes lives in a two-bedroom flat in Bedford, Bedforshire, with his wife Luz Reyes, 42, their daughter Annabelle, nine, and stepson Juan Libreros, 19.

The father was first ordered to remove his doormat by Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA), which manages the communal areas on behalf of Notting Hill, for health and safety reasons.

Not impressed: The injunction ordered Lubin to 'remove his belongings from the common areas of the property and restore it to its original state'

Not impressed: The injunction ordered Lubin to 'remove his belongings from the common areas of the property and restore it to its original state'

A warden stuck warning tape, which read 'move it or lose it', on his mat on August 11.

But Mr Reyes refused to move the disputed doormat from outside the first floor apartment where he has lived for a decade.

Notting Hill Housing Association took Lubin to Bedford County Court on October 28 to apply for an Anti-social behavior injunction.

The injunction ordered Lubin to 'remove his belongings from the common areas of the property and restore it to its original state'.

It also prohibited him from 'using the common areas of the property for the purpose of using it to store his belongings or for any other purpose relating to his belongings'.

Anti-social behavior injunctions strengthen the power of registered social landlords to take action against tenants who cause nuisance or annoyance to neighbours.

If a tenant breaches an injunction they are in contempt of court and could face punishments including a jail term.

But the county court judge threw the case against Lubin out of court and ruled it was a waste of time, leaving Notting Hill Housing Association with a legal bill of £1,715.

A spokeswoman from Notting Hill Housing Association said: 'We take anti-social behaviour very seriously.

'We try to resolve all issues through informal channels before the get to court. If other avenues prove unsuccessful, we will go to court as a last measure to resolve issues.'

Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association manage the communal areas of the block of flats where Lubin and his family live.

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