Residents who were evicted from a house of multiple occupation (HMO) are “angry” they might be left homeless for Christmas.

Police and council officials entered The Old Quay House in Connah’s Quay and told the occupants they had to leave saying the property was “unsafe.”

The Flintshire Council-led operation started around 5.30am on Tuesday and included North Wales Police, the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, the British Red Cross and government departments.

About 40 occupants were taken to Deeside Leisure Centre after the property was closed under an emergency prohibition order.

The order was granted due to the following concerns; defects to the electrical system and overloading of sockets, lack of smoke/heat detectors, and insufficient heating throughout, encouraging the use of supplemental heaters.

Other issues were inadequate escape routes and signage, primary firefighting equipment being out of date, blocked compartmentation and escape routes being compromised.

But George Stratescu said even though officials were “very helpful” he has found it difficult to find any further support.

“Someone woke me up at 5am and said they wanted to check my passport,” said Mr Stratescu, who is originally from Romania.

“I have a full time job at Morrison’s and pay my taxes and have all my documents.

“We were told to leave and had to go to Deeside Leisure Centre.

“It’s coming up to Christmas and this has ruined all my plans.

“I was hoping to send money home for my nine-year-old daughter but it’s all gone.

“I’ve had to pay a deposit and rent in advance for a new flat and my wallet is empty.

“I’ve come here to work and I have a good job but this is a disaster and I am concerned for the future,” he said.

David Griffiths has lived at The Old Quay House for five years and works as a joiner making furniture.

“I got up for work and when I came out there was a police officer outside my door,” said Mr Griffiths.

“I had to spend Tuesday night sleeping on a friend’s couch and took (Wednesday) morning off to get my stuff.

“The landlord Hayden has always helped me out and there’s very little wrong with the place at all.

“They shouldn’t evict so many people for the amount of work that needs doing.

“Of course there is a safety issue with the fire alarms but that could have been fixed without the eviction.

“Hayden [the property owner] is not just a landlord he’s a friend and is always there for us.

“This has completely disrupted my life and I have had to take time off work to sort this out.

“I can’t have my daughter this weekend and I have to sleep on my friend’s couch for now,” he said.

Two more tenants said they have been housed in the Holiday Inn but were told they would have to leave after two nights.

The owner of The Old Quay House, Hayden Rogers, said he was working “very closely” with the council to rectify the problems.

“I do agree with the council’s decision but I’m very worried about my tenants and some are very vulnerable,” said Mr Rogers.

“I had a fire protection system installed three years ago which cost £13,500 but some tenants have disabled their smoke alarms.

“I’ve been quoted between
£2-3,000 to rectify the problems and I hope to have the property open in two weeks,” he said.

A Flintshire Council spokesman said: “The Emergency Prohibition Orders served by Flintshire Council and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service were on the grounds of imminent threat to safety.

“Such decisions are never taken lightly, however the statutory agencies are bound by clear legislative requirements . The responsibility for compliance rests wholly with the landlord.”