Elderly couple in 'terrible state' after being given 'weeks' to leave rented home

An elderly couple were left in a "terrible state" after being given just weeks to move house by their landlord.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 11:43 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:37 pm
The couple had spent around 1,700 on their rented home.

The pair, who are from Wakefield, had nowhere to go when a deal to move to another home collapsed, after their landlord served them notice.

The case was revealed at a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday by the couple's ward councillor Olivia Rowley.

Coun Rowley, who represents Wakefield East, said the man and woman had eventually found a new place to live but were upset by their predicament.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Coun Rowley said the property business was currently a "landlord's market".

She called for a change in the law to give more power to tenants during a discussion about the council's future plan for housing.

Coun Rowley said: "I get more and more people at my surgeries saying that the owner of their property has told them they have just weeks to get out, which is causing problems.

"I came across an elderly couple recently, who were told they only had weeks to get out of the house they'd spent about £1,700 on.

"They'd negotiated to move onto another house, but that fell through, and they really were in a terrible state.

Coun Olivia Rowley said she wanted the government to give tenants more rights.

"It was a worry and a concern for them, especially when the lady wasn't in great health. It really upset me."

Coun Rowley claimed that the homes business is currently a "landlord's market" where property owners can "charge what they want".

She added: "The private sector seriously needs looking at and tenants need greater representation to stop landlords turfing them out on a whim."

But in response to that, Gavin Dicks from the National Landlord Association claimed Coun Rowley's comments were "rhetoric rather than facts".

He said: "Landlords have to comply with over 100 pieces of government legislation.

"They can't just kick tenants out on a whim. They have to give at least two months' notice and the tenant can leave at any time.

"In Wakefield rents are steady. They're not astronomically high.

"I suspect this is a case of a councillor trying to appeal to the electorate rather than living in the reality of what's happening."

The council is currently writing a new housing plan in a bid to improve the quality and quantity of homes across the district.

Jane Brown, service manager for strategic housing and regeneration, said the authority wanted to hear more from tenants.

She said: "We've worked quite a lot with landlords, but we haven't engaged with tenants as much as we'd have liked to unfortunately.

"It's quite resource intensive to do that and often it involves going from door to door.

"But going forward, that's something we really want to improve so we can pick up what tenants' issues are now."