“APPALLING conditions” have been uncovered at houses used for some of society’s most vulnerable people.

Now one councillor has called for its residents to be rehomed and a full investigation into how the issue was allowed to develop.

The not-for-profit Palm Cove Society is paid by public bodies to provide shelter to victims of modern slavery, refugees, asylum seekers and people fleeing violence.

But broken beds, missing fire alarms, doors and windows off their hinges and defective cookers were just some of the problems clearly visible when the Telegraph & Argus visited some of its 32 homes in the Bradford district. At one house, an Iraqi refugee described making many complaints to Palm Cove Society staff, such as being left without hot water or heating for weeks, but said nothing ever seemed to be done.

In broken English, he described the conditions as “awful”, adding: “I’m a refugee, but I wasn’t born in mud.”

In another house, an Iranian refugee described how he had been forced to sleep on blankets on the floor for more than a year, because his bed was broken.

A new oven had been delivered several months ago to replace the current faulty one, he said, but had never been fitted and had just been left in the living room. The T&A has withheld the exact location of the homes and the names of the tenants for their own protection.

Concerned councillor Zafar Iqbal (Lab, Bradford Moor) said he was calling on Bradford Council’s housing standards team to inspect the properties and serve improvement notices.

He said: “It was shocking and disappointing to see vulnerable people who have fled from war zones to be living in such appalling conditions.

“I will be speaking to Council officers to inspect each property and identify defects and serve notices to the landlord for immediate repairs.”

He said the situation was “shocking” and the homes were “not suitable for living conditions”.

But Palm Cove Society’s founders, husband-and-wife team Gerard Stocks and Yvonne Hall, have said they themselves had been shocked to uncover the problems when they held their annual inspection last month, and have since started a major renovation programme.

The pair said they had got into the business precisely because Ms Hall had seen vulnerable people in bad housing conditions in her previous work as a midwife and had wanted to do something to help.

But they said in recent months they had been giving in-depth support to a woman raised in a Brixton cult and had entrusted their staff to keep the houses in good condition. Ms Hall said when they went to do their annual inspection last month, they were “horrified” by what they found. She said: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Mr Stocks said: “We feel totally and utterly disappointed. I think I can be guilty sometimes of putting too much faith in people.”

He said they had since started a major programme of repairs, which had cost them £15,000 in the first 20 days alone, and had taken on four new maintenance staff. He said they hoped to finish the work in the next few months and would likely face a bill of a further £60,000 to £70,000. The couple showed the T&A around some of the homes currently under refurbishment. Mr Stocks said the company was not making any money from its tenants and made a loss of £20,000 last year.

Local authorities and other agencies can refer people to Palm Cove Society properties. Bradford Council is one of those who uses its services and is also listed as a sponsor on its website.

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “When the standard of these three properties was raised with us we sought an urgent meeting with Palm Cove, which we have now had. One of our officers visited the properties to inspect. It is obvious some repairs and renovations are required. We have been assured by the Palm Cove directors that all repairs and maintenance will be attended at these three properties and management concerns are addressed. We are in the process of agreeing a timetable for the identified actions with them.

“Everyone in Bradford has a right to a decent home to live in and we expect all housing providers to measure up to that. Any that we find not doing so will be enforced against by our Housing Standards team.”

The spokesman said Bradford Council currently had 19 people placed in other Palm Cove-owned properties but have none in the ones visited by the T&A. The Council said those 19 people had not raised concerns with it.