A single mum-of-five who is just days away from giving birth to her sixth child says council bosses should be ‘ashamed of themselves’ after they ‘snatched’ away her new home.
Rachel Mitchell (29), who is eight months pregnant, had accepted a three-bedroom property from Ashfield Homes and had carried out a long list of repairs to her current home on Sutton’s Carsic Estate in order to be able to move house after Christmas.
But, despite having spent hundreds of pounds carrying out the work in order to meet the deadline, Rachel was told that her house was not up to standard when it was re-inspected and the alternative property had been given to someone else.
Miss Mitchell, of Percival Crescent, says she is in ‘desperate need’ of a bigger house, with her three daughters being forced to share one bedroom, while her two sons are currently sharing a single bed in her box room.
She said: “The way they have treated me is disgusting. They want to be ashamed of themselves.”
Rachel’s current house has three bedrooms but one is ‘tiny’ and the house gets very crowded when her children Courtney (11), Callum (9), Kaine (7), Charleze (5) and Lexi-Louise (3), are all at home.
“It’s horrible. We have got no storage space, no space to put anything anywhere,” she said.
Rachel has been bidding for larger properties on the Ashfield Homes website since moving into her current home nearly four years ago, but says that few suitable ones are ever advertised as she wants to stay on the Carsic estate to be close to her children’s school.
When one did become available in December, she bid for it and then Ashfield Homes called offering her a viewing.
She accepted the property and an inspector came round to her home to produce a list of repairs and tasks that needed doing before she could move out.
After receiving this on Christmas Eve, she had just six days to complete the repairs including repainting all the walls cream, taking up the laminate kitchen floor, taking up the stair carpet and replacing two interior doors.
Rachel spent more than £300 and every waking moment doing them, enlisting the help of friends and even selling some Christmas presents to pay for the materials.
“It’s unbelievable some of the work - there was a lot of it, but we got it done,” she said.
She did everything on the list apart from mend a window - which she would have been charged for, but after passing one inspection, Ashfield Homes sent out another inspector and he failed the property because Rachel had had part of the kitchen worktop removed in order to have an eight hob cooker.
Replacing the worktop and unit had not been on the repair list, but Rachel still lost the house she wanted to move in to.
“If it was on the sheet it could have been done but it was not,” she said.
“They didn’t give me any options at all. They offered the house to me and then snatched it out of my hands.
“I felt awful because I knew I had to explain to the kids as well.I cried.
“The thought of moving into a new house - a new year, new start for us, then for them to snatch it all away. I thought I had let my kids down.”
With her new baby due any day now, Rachel will have to stay put for the forseeable future and wait for another house to become available.
Kelly Scott, director of housing services at Ashfield Homes, confirmed that a property inspection was carried out at Rachel’s house in readiness for the tenant to ‘potentially move’ to alternative accommodation.
“During the inspection it was noted that a number of outstanding repair issues, which are the tenant’s responsibility, remained unaddressed and that alterations had been carried out to a poor standard, and without permission,” he said.
“All the issues we noted during the inspection, which fall under the responsibility of the tenant, require to be corrected prior to any move.
“Such issues do have a cost, which in these circumstances, would need to be borne by Miss Mitchell.
“Unfortunately, because of the above we were unable to proceed with the offer of alternative accommodation.
“We remain in contact with Miss Mitchell and we are working with her regarding her outstanding responsibilities and her housing needs.”