A Labour council is trying to force a family out of their home on Boxing Day

A vote Labour sign and Andrew Brogan holding a notice to quit
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A Labour council is trying to force a family to permanently leave their home on Boxing Day. But the two brothers in question have done nothing wrong. Because the council is telling them to leave on a technicality – even though one of the brothers lives with Asperger’s syndrome. And to make matters worse, the effective eviction comes after both their parents died.

A family, broken

Sean and Andrew Brogan live in West Lancashire. The home is a council property, managed by Labour-led West Lancashire borough council. Andrew, who lives with Asperger’s syndrome, has always lived there. But they now face the prospect of the council kicking them out – essentially because both their parents died.

The brothers’ father passed away at the start of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Brogan had moved in at this point to help his family. As he wrote:

This in its own right was an extremely difficult time as our mother was suffering quite severely with long Covid-19 as a result.

Fast forward to the 14th of November, my mother unfortunately passed away from a massive heart attack.

Losing both parents within a short space of time is trauma enough for anyone to deal with. But then, West Lancashire borough council piled more stress on top of this.

“Notice to Quit”

Brogan wrote that:

Read on...

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Due to my mother being the only named tenant on the tenancy, the council have issued a “Notice to Quit” which effectively runs out on the 26th of December.

The Canary has seen the council’s letters to the brothers. Website the Tenants Voice describes a Notice to Quit as:

a legal tool, which the landlord can use to regain possession from a property which is let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. It gives the landlord the right to request you to leave the property… This is the first step of the eviction process, but it itself is not considered an eviction.

So, the brothers don’t have to leave on Boxing Day. But if they don’t, the council can then get a court order to formally evict them. Brogan has started a petition, which you can sign here.

“Devastated”

The brothers got the Notice to Quit on 29 November. Brogan told The Canary:

I felt utterly devastated that nobody in the council seemed to be listening. For Andrew, he felt distraught, betrayed, worried and scared about what was about to happen.

Andrew’s situation is exacerbated by the fact he lives with Asperger’s syndrome. This means he needs to stay in familiar surroundings for his wellbeing. Brogan wrote that:

the only suitable place that he can reside in is within the home he has lived in since he was born as it is familiar and safe to him. This has been the family home since 1958.

‘Appalling’ treatment

Trying to kick the brothers out on Boxing Day seems unconsciously cruel. But the council legally can. This is because the family’s tenancy was originally a joint one between the brothers’ parents. When their father died, their mother inherited it though a process called “succession“. This process of inheriting a tenancy agreement can generally only happen once. So, in theory, Andrew doesn’t have any right to the tenancy. Brogan confirmed that the council refused their request for a further tenancy succession.

He told The Canary that if the council do evict them:

I’ve not really thought that far ahead. I guess we’d have to stay with my sister and apply for overcrowding.

He feels let down by the council and that it has treated him and his brother:

Appallingly, to be honest. The communication has been terrible and we are no closer to knowing what is happening

West Lancashire borough council said…

The Canary asked the West Lancashire borough council for comment. It had not responded at the time of publication.

The brothers’ situation is not really uncommon. For example, this writer knows someone who was also in the same situation where their landlord tried to kick them out after their mother died. They challenged the landlord and won.

Brogan said of his and his brother’s situation:

I hope the things that are being done to us can be used in a good way to promote change for those who go through a similar situation.

The brothers’ situation is awful. And while the Labour-run council is acting within the law, it clearly should take their circumstances into account. West Lancashire borough council must now do the right thing and let the brothers stay in the family home.

Featured image via Evelyn Simak – Geograph and Sean Brogan

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Get involved

Sign the brothers’ petition asking the council to let them keep their home.

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  • Show Comments
    1. If the previous commenter had read the article properly they would have seen the brothers had already been advised. As an ex housing officer who worked with homeless households, I can agree this is not unusual. People often think that you have an automatic right of the tenancy if you have lived in your home all your life and then find out that council policy changed and now their parent has died. The people who are in this situation more than any other group are the disabled. Especially those with learning difficulties or Autism. Many local authorities recognise this and will succeed a tenancy to the disabled person so they have a home for life and as little disruption to their life as possible after the death of a loved one who cared for them. Those authorities recognise they still have a duty of care to the person and it puts less disruption on services and costs them a lot less than having the person apply as a homeless household. The only reason they may not do this is is it is a 3 bedroom property and they have a long list. It is still within the council permit to offer a two-bedroom property in exchange. The fact they have considered it and said no says a lot to me about the housing management at West Yorkshire and their attitude to disabled tenants

      1. I agree with you CCNiC,
        Surely something better can be done to help these two brothers, who will no doubt be clobbered by the bedroom tax now too.
        Why can’t a better solution be found, even if it was a house share with another disabled person?
        Come on Council get someone with common sense going on here who can think of a solution which will help everyone. How about a homeless man to get someone off the streets, while they get on their feet?
        There are lots of solutions you box tickers!

    2. Quite right CCNiC,
      This is like many an unmitigated lack of discretionary policy on extending the tenancy to existing family members.
      I too suffered these circumstances after giving up my nursing job in in London to be with my terminally ill mother, resulting in potential homelessness. Fortunately, the housing officer found in my favour to remain in a 1bedroom apartment .

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