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Terrified Faversham mum speaks out as she and children face no-fault eviction

A terrified mum whose family faces a "no-fault eviction" has branded a council's social housing policy "inhumane".

The Faversham woman, who asked to remain anonymous, fears she and her two youngest children will be turfed out of their home after her landlord warned they will serve a Section 21 notice at the end of May.

The mum is facing a ‘no fault eviction’ which could leave her homeless. Picture: iStock
The mum is facing a ‘no fault eviction’ which could leave her homeless. Picture: iStock

The teaching assistant says Swale Borough Council insists she cannot register for social housing until the eviction comes in writing, despite being told her landlords are selling up.

Under the controversial legislation, renters can be evicted without reason with two months’ notice.

“It's a horrible situation. After being secure for so many years, suddenly everything changes,” said the mum-of-three.

“I feel like I'm in limbo and it feels really unhealthy to be so insecure. It’s inhumane.

“I'm worried about how I think it's going to affect my kids - their whole life has been here.

“I’ve got two dogs as well. What will happen to them? There’s so much that I just don’t know.”

The woman, who lives in the three-bedroom home with two children under the age of 18 at £750 a month, was warned her home would be placed on the market a year ago.

She says her need for housing benefits and tax credits to help subsidise her low wage rules her out of renting opportunities – despite working full-time.

So scarce are her options, there is not a similarly-sized house available for less than a four-figure monthly rent within 10 miles, with the cheapest costing £1,175 a month.

Having been advised a year ago plans were in the pipeline to sell up, she has routinely searched for potential new places.

But after her efforts came up short she feels “nobody wants to touch” her due to receiving benefits.

“The prices they're charging for rent now are just ridiculous,” said the Faversham resident of 30 years, who has been at her current address for 12 years.

“They're all out of my price range and the ones that I could afford, I get turned down because of what I’m earning.

“The high-earners are always going to get given the property, aren't they? Faversham is a very competitive place to try and do anything like that.”

Councils can only step in when a Section 21 notice is served, causing many renters stress.

SBC said it does not “insist people remain in their property until a bailiff warrant is executed” but it “generally will take an application once the landlord has a possession order.”

“We are only able to work with people once there is a threat of homelessness, such as a valid notice from the landlord,” it added.

The authority currently has 1,730 people on its housing register – with only 300 properties becoming available each year.

The mum is desperate to see a change in the law, with councils becoming more proactive and reasonable when dealing with those facing eviction.

“When I first was struggling to rent a property, I tried to get on just the housing list but I was refused because I didn't have a housing need,” she said.

“The council advised me to go on to the homeless register but still they can't do anything for you until the day that you're evicted by the bailiffs.

“They've just told me that I need to stay here in this house.

“If I leave this property to go and stay with friends or anything then they won't be able to help me.”

Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary

It comes as levelling up secretary Michael Gove announced a previous pledge to ban no-fault evictions could no longer be guaranteed before the next election.

The Conservatives first promised to end landlords' ability to evict tenants without needing a reason in 2019.

MPs debated the Renters (Reform) Bill last month, after the government was forced to water down some of the planned protections for renters, including original promises to abolish no-fault - or Section 21 - evictions in England.

This woman’s story is one of many across Kent – with KentOnline previously exploring the impact of rising mortgages and landlords selling up.

A spokesperson for Swale Borough Council said: “We of course are sympathetic to [this] situation and our prevention team will reach out to go through her options with her.

“Sadly, the number of people in need of social housing far outweighs the housing that is available.

“If someone is threatened with homelessness our first step would be to try and prevent this, by helping people stay in their current home through negotiation and mediation with landlords.

“If this is not possible, we will try and help households find alternative accommodation.

“If alternative accommodation can’t be found, due largely to current shortages, a household may need to make a homeless application, however central government legislation dictates who we can help and offer temporary accommodation to.”

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