Woman in tears as council tries to evict family from home of 28 years because mum died

Woman in tears as council tries to evict family from home of 28 years because mum died

A family fear getting evicted after the council reportedly threatened to kick them out after the mum died of cancer.

Leanne Everest’s mum Diane died of pancreatic cancer in February at the age of 75.

They had shared a three-bed council house in Barry, with Leanne’s two children – Caitlyn, 21, and Louis, 19.

In the days after Diane died, the Vale of Glamorgan Council reportedly told the family they need to move because the rules only allowed for one succession per tenancy, WalesOnline reports.

The tenancy had already been passed down from Diane’s mother.

Leanne, 46, who has lived in the house for 28 years, has unsuccessfully bid on 13 council properties since her mum’s death.

Leanne with her mum Diane who died in February 2021
(
Wales Online WS)

The council did offer another home, but she rejected it because of its distance from Barry town centre and crime concerns in the neighbourhood.

The council has now launched legal action to evict Leanne and her two kids.

Leanne says she has received documents saying she and her children must pay £656.50 each when the case goes to court.

Leanne said: “I am terrified. I feel like a criminal when I’m not. I really don’t think I’m strong enough mentally to go through with this court case.”

Leanne lives in a three-bedroom council house with her daughter and son
(
WalesOnline/Gayle Marsh)

She added: “I can’t even begin to say how bad it would be if I have to pay those costs. I only get Universal Credit. I literally have no spare money at all. My kids are totally confused by it.

“They’re both just trying to get their way through university. It’s heartbreaking that the council are taking my kids to court. I’m crying most days over it.”

The council insists the succession rule ensures there are housing options for new applicants but Leanne said the council had told the family they would be moved to another three-bedroom house.

Diane died of pancreatic cancer in February at the age of 75
(
Wales Online WS)

She said she did not know what kind of temporary accommodation the family would be in if they lost in court.

She added: “If we lose the court case we’re homeless.

“The council said it will find us somewhere temporary because it can’t put us on the streets. I’ve not heard a word about what kind of accommodation it will be. It could be anywhere in Vale of Glamorgan and we’ve got to take it, which I find terrifying.”

Leanne said she did not have a problem with moving to a new council house.

She has applied for council houses, but all her 13 applications have been rejected. The family are not in the council’s highest priority group because they are not in temporary accommodation.

Leanne has unsuccessfully bid on 13 council properties since her mum’s death
(
WalesOnline/Gayle Marsh)

After rejecting the Powis View offer Leanne and her children were ordered to appear at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre for a January 13 hearing.

In a message to Leanne in December housing charity Shelter said it had asked the council to “reconsider and allow you to remain”, adding: “Of course they don’t have to do this but it does appear unfair that they don’t consider using their discretion in this way.”

Leanne said: “Everyone I speak to says they don’t understand why the council is putting us through all this but they are and it’s terrifying what the new year will bring for us.”

A spokesman for the council said the authority was “keenly aware” of Leanne’s situation and was “doing all it can to offer a suitable housing solution”.

The spokesman added: “It is important that council housing stock is allocated appropriately based on a household’s requirements.

“The law allows only one succession per tenancy to ensure properties become available to the range of applicants on the housing register. If we did not do this properties could be kept within families for generations and new applicants would have very limited opportunities to secure council accommodation.

“There are currently over 5,000 households on the housing register. This includes many homeless households and people in acute housing need.

“Our housing solutions team have been working hard to help Ms Everest and her family find alternative accommodation and have given the family a number of extensions on leaving their current property.

“They have also been offered temporary accommodation which would mean they would be able to continue to bid on other properties for their permanent home and their banding would have increased to gold-plus status [the highest priority].

“The council will continue to support the family and work with them to ensure the best outcome is achieved.”

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