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Disabled Sean Holman told to pack up and leave Canterbury home after death of dad Len Holman

Sean Holman who is being asked to leave his house following the death of his father
Sean Holman who is being asked to leave his house following the death of his father

Heartless bureaucrats rang a disabled man just three days after his father’s funeral and told him to vacate the council house he has called home for almost 40 years.

Sean Holman, 51, was grieving at home when the housing department asked him to clear the three-bedroom house in Sussex Avenue on the Spring Lane Estate in Canterbury.

East Kent Housing, which runs housing services for Canterbury City Council, was apparently unaware Mr Holman lived at the house, even though he had tried repeatedly to be put on the tenancy.

He says the organisation, which runs housing services for councils in east Kent, now wants to force him out because it says he is under-occupying the house under the so-called bedroom tax rules.

He has tried to arrange for his brother to move in, but has been unsuccessful so far.

Mr Holman, who suffers from a diseased pancreas and seizures, feels as though the authorities are victimising him.

He said: “I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating and it is taking its emotional strain.

“We moved in here as a family in March 1975. Everyone else moved out, but I stayed. It’s my home – why are they victimising me like this?”

Mr Holman lost his mother Kathleen, 75, in 2000.

His father Leonard, 74, died from ill health on Friday, August 2, and was cremated at Barham on Friday, August 23.

On Monday, August 26, Mr Holman was at home when he received a call from East Kent Housing.

“I was sitting there grieving when this call came and the bloke asked me to clear the house,” Mr Holman said.

“I told him that I lived here and he asked me when I had moved back in. It was then that I had to point out that I’d never moved out and had been trying for years to be placed on the tenancy.

“They were somehow under the impression the house was empty and wanted everything out by the end of that week. I couldn’t believe it as I was sitting there grieving.”

Len Holman
Len Holman

Mr Holman wants to stay in the house because his sister Desiree, 43, also lives in Sussex Avenue and he spends time with her and her family.

He has asked East Kent Housing if his brother Terry, 55, could move out of nearby Hertford Court and in with him so two of the three bedrooms are occupied.

“I’ve had no success with that so far, even though I know of other places in Spring Lane where two people occupy a three-bed house,” he said.

“I even told them that I believe this breaches my human rights. They told me human rights don’t apply.”

East Kent Housing is defending its handling of Mr Holman’s case.

Area manager Foronda Smith said: “Whenever a tenant dies leaving other people in the property it is a sad and difficult time.

“I was sitting there grieving when this call came and the bloke asked me to clear the house” - Sean Holman

“We try to deal with these situations sensitively, but it’s important that we explain their legal rights and the options available to them as soon as possible.

“In this particular case, we visited Mr Holman a month after his father’s death and confirmed that he had a right to succeed the tenancy.

“We explained to him that under the legal rules of succession Mr Holman is entitled to his father’s tenancy but not the actual house he lived in. Mr Holman’s father lived in a large three-bedroom house that was specially adapted.

“His son is not entitled to stay in this because of his different housing needs as a single man – it would be unfair when there are families who really need a property like this.

“We have explained to Mr Holman that he can remain in the property for up to six months so we can help him find a more suitable home.”

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