A group of residents in Selston say they are prepared to take legal action to help one of their neighbours stay in the council house his family has lived in for the past 50 years.
Neighbours of David Fido, of Hooley Street, are gearing up to sign an oath to say that he has lived at the Ashfield Homes-managed property for more than 12 months to help him succeed the tenancy from his mum Elsie, who died in May at the age of 92.
David’s family have lived at the house for 50 years and although his father died 12 years ago, his mum remained there until her death this year.
“After my father died, I used to come and help her and stay with her two days a week,” said David, who has described his neighbours as ‘wonderful’.
“My brother died over a year ago and that’s when I came to stay with my mum because she went down hill very rapidly. I used to have to be here for her every day.
“I had to do a full-time job but she wouldn’t let anyone else care for her - only me.”
David says that he moved into the house fully 16 months ago but that he paid to keep his belongings in storage at his lodgings in Nottingham.
He is currently being charged an occupancy rate of £70 a week but he is not recognised as a tenant.
According to Ashfield Homes’ rules a house may be passed on to a family member if they have lived there for at least 12 months.
Now around 20 of David’s neighbours are gearing up to sign an affidavit (a written statement of fact) to say that he has lived there for at least a year.
Sidney Togg said: “I’d like to see him stay in the house he grew up in - he’s willing to pay rent and council tax. He’s a nice chap who looks after his house and garden.”
And Diane Butler, a Hooley Street resident and Selston parish councillor, said: “It’s no problem for me to sign an affidavit. It’s the right thing for me to do.”
Meanwhile, Selston councillor Gail Turner has questioned the legitimacy of Mrs Fido’s succession of the property after the death of her husband because the original tenancy agreement is not available.
“In Ashfield Homes’ file there is no document signed by Mr Fido Senior to say it was a sole tenancy in his name,” she said.
“Therefore, how can Ashfield Homes prove that the succession to David is not the first?”
She added that while Mrs Fido had signed a document to succeed the property after her husband’s death, she was ‘elderly and confused’ at the time and she did not have a family member to witness it.
But Kelly Scott, who is director of housing services at Ashfield Homes, said that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ that it was David’s main address.
He said: “Mr Fido has not yet provided us with sufficient evidence that he has lived at Hooley Street as his principal home and we are unable to simply rely on friends and neighbours to confirm this.
“Furthermore, Mr Fido advised us he has been lodging at an address in Nottingham.
“Subject to the occupation criterion being met the law allows one succession to take place in respect of a secure tenancy.
“Whilst we accept we are unable to locate the original tenancy agreement dating back to the early 1960s when Mr Fido’s father was the sole tenant, there is clear evidence that a succession has subsequently taken place when Mrs Fido succeeded to the tenancy some 12 years ago.
“We, of course, sympathise with Mr Fido’s emotional attachment to the family home, however, we are not in a position to offer a tenancy to him as he has not been able to demonstrate he has occupied the property for the requisite period of time and further, one succession has already taken place at this property.
“We are required to ensure that we utilise the limited available housing stock in the most appropriate way given the demands for family sized accommodation within Ashfield, and Selston in particular.
“Mr Fido would be under occupying [the property] and therefore, we will continue to work with Mr Fido to help him secure accommodation more appropriate to his needs.”