Family’s anguish at eviction notice
An Otterton couple say they have been left ‘devastated’ after their family, including their disabled daughter, was served with an eviction notice from their home.
Stephen and Angela Baker, who live at The Green with five children aged between five and 22, have been asked to vacate their property by landlords Clinton Devon Estates (CDE).
The couple, who have lived at the house for 17 years, say they have been given no reason for their eviction, having proved previous suggestions that their home is overcrowded incorrect.
However, CDE says the house is in fact overcrowded, and denies the couple’s suggestion that they have been evicted because of their daughter’s disabilities.
The Bakers say that offers for their older children to move out have fallen on deaf ears, and that the issue only came to light after they applied for a council grant to build an extension for their daughter.
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Mr Baker said: “We haven’t done anything wrong. If we’d not paid the rent or if we’d been bad neighbours we’d understand, but we haven’t.
“After 17 years we’re just absolutely devastated. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me and I can’t believe they can get away with it.”
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Mrs Baker said: “If they can do that to us they can do that to anyone. They kept bringing up that the place isn’t suitable for our daughter. I’m sure she would say she’d be happier to stay here than out on the street.”
In response, CDE says the couple has been offered alternative homes by it and East Devon District Council without success.
CDE’s solicitors Everys added: “The landlords received formal notification from EDDC that the property is statutorily overcrowded, [so] the landlord has served notice on the family to leave the property.
“The landlords have offered to continue working with the family and the housing officer to ensure a smooth transition to a new home.”
An EDDC spokesman said: “For many months we have been working with the landlords and the tenants in a bid to help the family find a solution to their housing needs.
“The family have contacted us on several occasions expressing concerns about the cramped conditions they were living in. On one occasion they also requested a grant to provide facilities for a disabled family member.
“Sadly, the property is simply too small and completely unsuited for the type of adaptations which would be needed.
“During the assessment it became clear that the house is overcrowded, and under the Housing Act 2004 there’s a legal obligation for the landlord to take action to remedy it.
“We believe it would be in the family’s best interests to let us help them find larger accommodation which could be adapted to suit the needs of everyone in the household.”