Home   Medway   News   Article

Landlord holds on to ashes of former tenant’s mum over clean-up costs at flat in Luton Road, Chatham

A grandmother claims her landlord is holding the ashes of her late mum “to ransom” in a bid to force her to pay £300 to clean his property.

Geraldine Glanville is locked in a bitter war of words with the businessman over the safe return of the treasured remains.

Geraldine Glanville with a picture of her beloved late mother, Ellen
Geraldine Glanville with a picture of her beloved late mother, Ellen

The property owner, who does not wish to be named, has threatened to dispose of the urn unless Ms Glanville forks out for the clearance and refurbishment of the flat in Luton Road, Chatham which he claims was left in a poor state.

He is also demanding an apology from her daughter who he says was repeatedly rude towards him despite his offers to help them and in his view, a small contribution towards the “devastation left” is warranted.

But Ms Glanville is accusing the businessman of “blackmail” and hanging on to the ashes as a “ransom”.

The 67-year-old grandmother accidentally left the urn and a bag full of mementoes belonging to her parents when she was evicted at the beginning of December for non-payment of rent.

Currently living with her daughter, Charlotte, she said: “The bailiffs arrived and we had to get out in a rush.

“I thought we’d be given an hour, but we had 15 minutes to get out.

Geraldine Glanville with her mum Ellen just before she died
Geraldine Glanville with her mum Ellen just before she died

“I had to leave furniture there and I left the ashes which I kept on my dressing table in the bedroom.”.

Attempts to retrieve her belongings have failed and the landlord has said he will not give them back unless he is compensated.

The landlord told KentOnline he had kept her rent low throughout the 13-year tenancy and gave her ample warning about her duty to keep the place in good condition.

He said on occasion he did not chase the top-up rent she failed to pay over her housing benefit and over the years he has tried to support her.

The businessman increased her rent from £530 a month to £750 a month in May last year, which he said was the current market rent for a one-bedroom flat with a garden.

In July he applied for an eviction order and on December 6 the bailiffs carried the eviction and changed the locks.

The landlord says he has had to fork out to refit the property
The landlord says he has had to fork out to refit the property

He said: “I still have Geraldine’s mum’s ashes and even though I threatened to dispose of them I would not do that.

“I was just so angry that Geraldine and her daughter think it is perfectly ok to just walk away from the mess Geraldine left and expect it all to be cleared up at no cost to Geraldine.

“I keep thinking that if Geraldine and her daughter treasured the ashes, why did Geraldine not take them initially to her daughter’s flat? She had months of notice and ample time to do so before the court bailiffs evicted her.

“Again, how important to them are the ashes that they would not pay a small amount towards the damage and money owed from the court fees.

But if they are not willing to pay him directly he added he would accept a payment made to a charity, such as Demelza or the Stroke Association, if Geraldine preferred.

He added: “Then once I receive an apology from her daughter I will happily take the ashes to Geraldine.”

The landlord went on to explain the eviction was the only one he has had to carry out in 14 years letting out properties, adding his encounters with the mum and daughter had left him “anxious, angry upset and drained”.

Baby Charlotte on gran Ellen's lap
Baby Charlotte on gran Ellen's lap

Addressing the non-payment of rent, Ms Glanville’s daughter said her mother, who suffers from health problems, depression and anxiety, ran into financial problems when her rent was increased.

Ms Glanvile initially stayed at an ex-partner's home before moving in with Charlotte and her daughter Eleanor, aged eight.

Charlotte said: “My mother has offered to pay the money back in monthly instalments.

“All she really wants is the ashes back. This is blackmail and is upsetting my mum.”

Ellen Glanville died on Christmas Day 2004, aged 84.

Charlotte added: “My mum was very close to her, And I loved her.

“Myself and my daughter are all my mum has.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More