A Greenwich family have revealed details of conditions in a private home they moved into after being evicted by a private landlord seeking a rent increase.
Ben Franklin had lived in the borough for most of his life and lives with wife Katherine and children Ava, 2, and 11 month old Tilly. He was part way through therapy at the time they moved. Photos show apparent signs of infestation and mould in their current home.
The family were informed by their previous landlord that they wanted to refurbish the home in order to gain higher rent, and thus raise prices to a level the family could not afford.
Gaining money for a deposit and removal company proved impossible at short notice and they turned to Greenwich Council for help. A chronic lack of social homes in the borough meant they were offered a place in Medway with a days notice.
Franklin, 37, states:
“They agreed to put us into temp accommodation though we could only find out where we were going on the final day of tenancy. So we waited down the council office for the whole day.
At 5pm a woman walks out and says you are moving to Chatham and will have to meet the landlord in an hour and a half! We stated that this was not possible as we have two kids. And I had mentioned that I have mental health issues and support network here (including therapist).”
The condition of the home raises big questions over inspection of properties. The family were only supposed to be there for 56 days, which took them to November. They are still there today.
This is an issue close to my heart, and one in which many could find themselves. Trying to save and create a safety net while paying very high rents in London is not at all easy. It just takes illness or period of sick leave to leave people in a dire position.
That’s before a landlord seeks to increase rent or evict. Add that to the mix and major problems ensue – and there’s little safety net even if one has lived in an area for many years.
It’s even worse when sick. Support networks via family and friends in a local area are severed. Moving miles away sets back recovery. Changing schools, doctors, dentists and hospital appointments is a laborious task at the best of times. Doing so when ill is something else. Mould and infestation then exacerbate existing health problems whether physical or psychiatric.
The family have complained and were offered a move but were again given a day’s notice which was insufficient to sort schooling and packing. They now have no confirmed date and whilst desperate for a move are asking for three days notice to arrange.
A lack of social housing is causing hardship for many people across the country – and costing everyone. Private lettings are expensive and taxpayers are paying for the chronic lack of social and truly affordable housing. Greenwich Council revealed another emergency £2.8 million additional spend last month due to housing pressure.
UPDATE: Greenwich Council have contacted the family after this post was uploaded and an inspection is due.