'We've got nowhere to go': Bereaved Harold Hill family faces eviction

Lorraine Palmer

Eileen Buckle died from Covid in December and her family is fighting to remain in her council house - Credit: Lorraine Palmer

A grieving Harold Hill family is facing eviction following the death of their mother. 

Havering Council tenant Eileen Buckle passed away from Covid in December last year, meaning her family no longer have a right to live in the home owned by the local authority. 

This is despite Eileen's son, Lee Buckle, having lived in the house most of his lives, Lorraine said, and Eileen's grandson Charlie Palmer having lived there for over ten years.

Lorraine Palmer

Charlie Palmer (l), Eileen Buckle, Lorraine Palmer and Lee Buckle (r) all lived together for many years, the family claims. - Credit: Lorraine Palmer

A spokesperson for Havering Council said specific statutory requirements must be met for someone to legally take over an existing tenancy, and after a “thorough investigation”, the family are not eligible.

Lorraine told this paper: “They can’t kick us out because we’ve got nowhere else to go."

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She added: “Because we’ve got no money, it makes everything so much harder.” 

Lorraine explained the stress was having a negative effect on both her son and brother, who have mental health problems.

Lorraine Palmer

Eileen's son Lee (r) lived with his mother all his life, according to sister Lorraine - Credit: Lorraine Palmer

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Eileen caught Covid-19 while visiting her sister in hospital, and the women died within one month of each other. 

“My mum was the glue of our family,” Lorraine added. 

“She helped everybody. 

“She helped raise our children, and we were so close to her. 

“I still can’t bear to go into her room, it’s too raw.” 

Lorraine Palmer

Charlie Palmer (r) lived with his grandmother Eileen Buckle since he was a teenager - Credit: Lorraine Palmer

Lorraine said she had tried to show the council paperwork proving the family lived at the house with Eileen, but could not email it as she does not have a scanner. 

“I offered to take them to the offices myself,” she added. 

“But they said no, and no-one is helping us.” 

The council spokesperson responded: “We understand how distressing the death of a loved one can be on family members, and we offer our condolences to Lorraine and her family. 

“Given the high demand for family-sized homes in Havering, it is the council’s responsibility to ensure that only those entitled to council properties are provided with housing that meets their housing need."

They added: “We will work with the family to help them understand all options available to them at this difficult time.” 

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