Barking and Dagenham Council tells disabled woman she has to leave home - three days after telling her she can stay
PUBLISHED: 10:36 12 August 2019
Barking and Dagenham Council has apologised after a disabled woman was told she had to leave the home she had shared with her late mum - three days after being told she could stay.
June Dines and her mum Dorothy were among the first residents of Luke Allsopp Square, moving in when the development opened in 2014.
They downsized from the three-bedroom council home in Sterry Road, Barking, where the family had lived for nearly 60 years.
When Dorothy died in April this year, June - who has rheumatoid arthritis and uses a wheelchair to get around - had asked whether she could stay in the two-bedroom property.
The bungalow is specially adapted to meet her needs, with wider doorways and no steps.
On Friday, August 2, she received a printed copy of an email which states: "I can confirm that I have seen evidence that there has been a council decision to allow her to succeed in the property and I believe this to be the right decision."
But just three days later, council officers visited her home to deliver another letter contradicting this, saying that there was no succession right and that she would be offered a "suitable one-bedroom property".
A council spokesman told the Post: "The first response Ms Dines received included a typing error in terminology.
"This was quickly spotted, which was corrected in a follow up letter sent to Ms Dines on Monday 5 August 2019 clarifying her position on tenancy succession."
He added: "Ms Dines did not have an automatic right to succession of the tenancy because the tenancy had already been succeeded - both her parents were originally joint tenants and the tenancy agreement was then transferred to Ms Dines mother after her father passed away."
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June, who is unable to walk even a short distance without a mobility aid, claimed that she and her mum had been told prior to moving to the bungalow that they would sign a fresh tenancy agreement. Her dad died in 1991 when the family were in the Sterry Road property.
She said she has asked to move into a one-bedroom property on Luke Allsopp Square if one became available, and that she feared being offered a flat that required lift access to get in and out of.
"I wouldn't be able to operate the lift because of the arthritis," she said.
The 59-year-old also questioned how she would be able to get around in a one bedroom property if - as she said was suggested to her - a spare bed was put up in the lounge when her sister, who lives in Norfolk, comes to stay with her.
The spokesman explained: "The property Ms Dines is currently in was built for residents of retirement age and if Ms Dines was to remain in the property, she would immediately be under-occupying the home as it is two bedrooms."
This is despite some of the development's tenants being given to under-occupy their homes when they moved in five years ago because the second room was needed for medical or other reasons.
June's neighbours in Luke Allsopp Square - a gated community of 12 bungalows - have rallied round to support her.
She said that the situation was "making me feel ill" and added: "We are a community here. We all look out for one another."
The spokesman said: "We would like to apologise for any distress or confusion caused to Ms Dines and appreciate this was the last thing she needed after her mother's passing.
"We want to make sure we find a suitable one-bedroom property that meets her needs and will keep her close to her support network as soon as possible.
"In the meantime, we have reassured Ms Dines that she can continue living at her current address until she finds a new home that will give her independence."