Family unable to use own home for Christmas

A FAMILY’S Christmas plans have been disrupted because a women they rented their home to is refusing to leave, they claim.

Naomi Mitchell told The Crow that her parents home for 27 years, in Priory Lane, Royston, had been rented out for six months but was due to be the venue for 14 of them to have Christmas dinner.

However, the tenant that they rented the home to is staying put, even though her rent allegedly expired on November 4, leaving her parents, Mr and Mrs Woods, calling for improved rights for landlords.

Mrs Mitchell said: “My parents wanted to try downsizing, so they rented a home in Meldreth for six months to see how it was.

“They decided on moving back to their family home and spending Christmas there though, and served the tenant with a notice that her contract was to expire.

“The tenant said she didn’t want to leave, so my parents gave her an extra month. Since then, she still hasn’t left, and it’s left our family with nowhere to meet on Christmas day.”

Naomi’s father Michael Woods then moved himself into the house in order to try and get the tenant to leave. He spent a week camped out in the living room with his family bringing him supplies, but the tenant stayed.

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Mr Woods said: “It was very awkward when I was in there. I had to be careful not make life too difficult for her.

“The police came round, but they said I was within my rights to be there as long as I didn’t force my way in. We sat in the same room on some occasions, and completely ignored each other.”

Luckily for Mr and Mrs Woods, they have been able to extend their rent on their home in Meldreth. However, they have been left paying for a home they no longer want to be in, while someone else lives in their own home rent free.

Mr Woods is now calling for landlords’ rights to be enhanced. “There should be more rights for landlords in this country as they are treated really unjustly. The rights are minimal and strongly favour the tenant, who can claim squatter’s rights,” he said.

“Fourteen of us wanted to be in our home, which has been in the family for 27 years, to celebrate Christmas.”

Mr and Mrs Woods have now started court proceedings in order to get the tenant removed, but it will not be sorted in time for Christmas.

The Crow tried to contact the tenant by visiting the house, and by phone, but she declined to comment.