A housing association has denied claims that it forces tenants to rip up perfectly good carpets leaving them with bare concrete floors after its head office was invaded by a community action group.

Around ten “activists” from community action union, ACORN Falmouth and Penryn, staged a sit-in at LiveWest offices in Camborne on Friday, December 15 to demand changes to their flooring policy for tenants.

They asking to speak to LiveWest CEO Paul Crawford to deliver their campaign demands and testimony from a tenant but say they were told he was not in the building due to personal engagements.

When they were told there was nobody else to speak to them they continued to occupy the lobby for an hour, playing backgammon and sitting on strips of ripped up carpet. They left chanting “carpets not concrete” and left a letter addressed to Paul Crawford.

ACORN says it took the action on behalf of residents in Falmouth and Penryn living in LiveWest properties with concrete floors.

It claimed that up until very recently, LiveWest forced their tenants to rip up any carpets before they moved out or face a fine regardless of the condition of the flooring.

They said that this has left many LiveWest tenants in Falmouth and Penryn, and across the whole of Cornwall and the South West, living with concrete floors in their homes.

ACORN member and LiveWest tenant Sarah said: “When I was first able to look round the [new] property, there was carpet laid throughout the house, which was in amazing condition and looked to be expensive.

“I asked if there was anyway we could keep the carpet and was told no, it had already been decided… We paid £870 to get the lino and carpet replaced for the whole house and then an additional £550 having it laid by a local fitter, who could help quicker as we'd already been homeless for a year.

“We had to move in a week later than expected, to wait for the flooring to be laid, meaning we'd paid a week's rent in advance but weren't able to move in yet.”

James Reseigh, Director of Neighbourhoods for LiveWest, said: “We fully understand the challenges our customers face with the cost of living and, specifically, the costs of moving into a new home.

“As part of the work we are doing to support customers across Cornwall and the South West, we have already reviewed our approach to our empty homes and changed our empty home standard in May this year.

“We always like to leave carpets for any incoming residents unless they are in poor condition.

“We also provide support to our customers through our Tenancy Sustainment team which includes over £600,000 of funding to support crisis, hardship and those customers moving into a new home or fleeing a home due to domestic violence.

“We have offered to meet with Acorn to talk through our approach and the support we provide to all of our customers moving into our homes.”