A father-of-eight who demanded a larger council house claims he is “not greedy” and has agreed to compromise with the council to try and avoid being made homeless.
Arnold Mballe Sube and his wife Jeanne, 33, currently share their three-bedroom, end-of-terrace home in Luton, Beds., with their eight young children.
Today (Friday) he claimed he would view a final properly offered Luton Borough Council (LBC) and consider whether it was “suitable” .
Despite turning two homes in Luton, - thought to be worth between £250,000-£270,000 - he says he has not been fighting them.
After hearing that the council are going to formally offer the family one more 4/5 bedroom property, Arnold said he would really appreciate a permanent home.
The father, born in Cameroon, said: “We will definitely go and view the property because we can’t sign anything without viewing it.
“We know we are entitled to a six-bedroom house, but I know it’s not easy for Luton Borough Council, I know that.
“When they say a 4/5 bedroom I really appreciate. We have to know with them if this is a permanent accommodation because we want a permanent home.
“But if the house has got some space where 10 people could breathe, because in this house we are not breathing, where we could breathe then OK, we could take it.”
The family moved to Luton, from Paris, France, in 2012 after Cameroon-born Arnold got a place on a mental health nursing course at the University of Bedfordshire.
The end-terraced house where they currently live in Bletchley, Bucks., costs £1,278 per month which is fully covered by LBC - costing the taxpayer £15,000 a year in rent.
Arnold is due to start his third year of his degree on Monday and said he wants the family to be able to settle somewhere so the children don’t have to move schools.
He said: “Let’s see what they offer, we are not greedy people. Trust me we are not greedy.
“We are looking in the best interest of the children because I know what is best for my children, I know very well.
“This is about my children, I can go live anywhere and work but with the children I just want them to stay in a place where it is suitable.
“My kids are being bullied about this. I have gone and picked them up from school and they are crying.
“We are not fighting with the council.
“I want to come to a compromise with Luton Borough Council, I was fighting for 16 months now and still this is a problem.
“All the properties they offered to us was not good. They know their job more than all of us.
“We have changed school about five times because we are very unstable, we don’t have a permanent home, we are moving from one home to another.”
Labour councillor Tom Shaw, who is in charge of housing at Luton borough council, said the family only bothered to view one property before turning down two others they were offered on paper.
He said: “A formal offer is going to be made in the next few days for another four- bedroom property which could be extended to a five that will be made formally in writing so we can follow the law through if he turns the offer down.
“If it’s turned down the council’s got the right to say that you are intentionally homeless please go and look after yourself in the private sector.
“We’ve got too many people waiting and other people are in all those properties now.”
After hearing the council can vacate the family from their current home if they refuse another formal offer of a house, Arnold said the council know he likes to say “no”.
He said: “What they [LBC] are saying is wrong. I know very well they can’t treat us like that.
“They can say that but what I know is they have a legal duty.
“They know I like to say no when something is not correct.
“We don’t want a home where landlords will come and remove us one day because the family is too big.
“If we go somewhere now and the landlord moves us again, what will we do?
“You could imagine the storage facilities for 10 people but the most important place is sleeping places and if each room could accommodate two people then that would be fine.
“Two people in one bedroom would be fine, I would definitely appreciate it.
“Let’s just wait and see what they offer to us and we will come and view the property. We want a permanent house.
“I’m tired of displacing the family.”
A spokesman for Luton Borough Council said: “If Mr Sube rejects an offer of accommodation which we deem to be suitable under the homeless legislation, the council will consider its duty to be discharged and the family will be required to vacate their current accommodation.”