‘We went straight from her dying to a fight’: Grieving son told to leave council house he shared with his mum 16 days after she died


A grieving Tesco worker is locked in a battle to find a new council house just weeks after his mum died.

Robert Jones, who works two jobs seven days a week to make ends meet, has been told he can’t stay there. The 51-year-old, of Stockport, had lived at the three-bedroom home with his mum Margaret and partner for three months.

However, just 16 days after his mother died from septicaemia aged 73, her carer Robert was told he had to leave because he had not lived in the property for more than 12 months. He is fighting to find a new place to live that accommodates his sleep apnea medical condition, when your breathing stops and starts and means he cannot share a bed with his partner.

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Despite already providing a doctor’s note confirming his sleep issues, Stockport Homes, which manages the council’s social housing, have rejected his application for a two-bed property. A spokesperson says it ‘seriously reviews all medical information’ received in housing bids.

Charity worker Robert told the Manchester Evening News : “We did not have a chance to grieve for my mum. We went straight from her dying to a fight with the council.

“I thought we would be able to apply for succession to stay in the house. That was denied.

“It was Christmas Eve, they knocked on the door. The housing officer said ‘can you sign this, we are terminating your tenancy’. I wrote to the council to complain, and I appealed but they rejected it.

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“We asked for a two-bedroom place. I snore quite loudly so we sleep in separate rooms. They asked for medical evidence and I gave them a doctors’ note. That was denied on appeal, twice. It’s always a no.”

Robert’s mum Margaret, with his sister Tracey Mills, a former Countdown runner-up

Robert’s mum Margaret died on December 8 . He had been her carer for the last few months of her life in their Lancashire Hill council house.

After her death, Robert has only faced more problems — with his application to succeed his mum’s tenancy at the Clarkethorne Terrace home rejected by Stockport Homes. He has also seen an application for a two-bed property with the housing group, to be shared with partner Tracy Leach, knocked back as well.

That was despite the fact he has a medical condition which means he snores so loudly he cannot share a bed with her, and provided a doctor’s note when asked to give medical evidence of his apnea.

While Robert, who works two jobs in a Tesco bakery and for a homelessness charity, is not facing losing the current roof over his head, but says he is battling a ‘flawed’ process. I added: “We have zero housing points.

Tracy LeachRobert’s Partner

“If we were two adults applying for a place we would qualify for a two-bed, but as a couple we don’t. I think there’s a flaw in the system. I work two jobs, in Tesco bakery from 3am to 11am, then with Creative Support, a homeless charity, from 3.30 to 8.30pm.The cost of living has spiraled so much that’s what I have to do.”

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A Stockport Homes spokesperson said no legal action has been taken against Robert. A statement said: “We completely sympathize with this resident’s recent loss and appreciate and support the important role of carers.

“However, there are thousands of people on the housing register awaiting rehousing, including many families in desperate need of scarce three bedroom properties such as this. This means that we need to follow housing law when looking at people succeeding to tenancies, which excludes those who are not partners and have only recently moved into a property before a bereavement

Robert Jones’ doctor’s note, explaining his medical condition

“We are not able to offer succession on tenancy to anyone who doesn’t qualify under the rules of succession policy and procedure. Housing law states that to be considered for social housing succession, a person must have lived in the property for 12 months or more.

“We pride ourselves on supporting all Stockport residents and even where people are unable to take over a tenancy we help explore alternative housing options. This can include offering a one bedroom flat for single people or couples left in a family property, but we appreciate that people may want more space and we are happy to help access accommodation in the private rented sector where supply is greater.

“While we can’t comment on individual medical cases, we seriously review all medical information in regards to how it impacts criteria for housing and will always re-asses any new medical information that a person provides. We can also confirm in this case, that no legal or eviction action has been taken.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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