A woman says her family has been made homeless after being served an eviction notice on the property she has lived in for the last 19 years.
Tracey Wadey, 49, her husband Christopher Wadey, 63, and son Connor Curry, 16, are today packing up the last of their things after being told by Arun District Council they must leave the house in Aldingbourne by Monday.
Tracey’s mother had lived at the property for 51 years before becoming so ill she had to go into care in October, and just days later Tracey was served a notice to quit the property she grew up in.
“It’s a nightmare, we are getting out today so we’re packing up the last of our things,” Tracey told the Observer this morning, Friday, November 25.
“We have to be out by Monday so we’re handing back the key today. A mate is putting us up in her two-bed flat so we’ll all be in one room but after that I don’t know what we’ll do.”
Arun District Council has said it is working closely with her to try to resolve the situation, and would assist them to find alternative accommodation in the private sector.
Tracey said she moved back into her family home when her dad became seriously ill in 1997.
When he died, her mother asked her to stay to help her cope with her bereavement and because she was lonely.
Tracey said: “In the last few years mum has been really poorly and I’ve basically been her main carer and had to give up work.
“It just got to the point where she now needs 24/7 care which I just couldn’t do.”
After Tracey’s mother went into a nursing home on October 7, she was told she would have to leave the house, and on October 28 she was served with a notice to quit which she says came totally out of the blue.
The notice from Arun District Council warned: “You now occupy the property as a person who has entered and remained in the property without the consent of the council, who are entitled to possession of the property.
“As a result, you are a trespasser and must vacate the property as a matter of urgency.”
Tracey said: “To be told I am a trespasser in the house I grew up in is horrible, I burst into tears when I read the letter.
“It’s four-bedroom so I never expected to be able to stay here but I was always told we would be able to get a two-bedroom house to move into.
“But when I went to the council they said they couldn’t help and there’s no two-beds out there to bid for.”
She added: “We’ve always paid our bills on time and never caused any trouble.
“They are making us homeless and telling us to find private rental and to go on benefits but it’s too expensive and landlords won’t touch you if you’re on benefits.”
Tracey and the family now face the prospect of Christmas without a permanent home.
She says the anxiety of having to leave her home, on top of her mother’s deteriorating health is causing her untold stress.
Aldingbourne parish councillor and neighbour Elaine Sturgess has taken up the family’s cause, and in a letter to MP Nick Herbert and three Barnham ward councillors she described the situation as ‘an enormous injustice’.
Nigel Lynn, chief executive of Arun District Council said: “Arun District Council is working closely with Mrs Wadey to try and resolve her situation.
“In circumstances such as this the council have a clear and practical process.
“An Officer is assigned to work with families in these circumstances and they will assist them to find alternative accommodation in the private sector.
“Financial help can be given if funds are not available for rent deposits and rent in advance.
“Unfortunately the need for social housing is great and currently far exceeds the stock available, with two bedroom accommodation being in the greatest demand.
“The waiting time for this type of accommodation is lengthy and in more rural areas, where there is a limited amount of social housing, the waiting time maybe longer than in more built up locations.
“We are working hard, as a council, to improve this situation and in the meantime will continue to be in contact with Mrs Wadey and help where we can.”
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