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HomeNewsMum-of-three in Hillingdon faces homelessness as eviction deadline approaches

Mum-of-three in Hillingdon faces homelessness as eviction deadline approaches

A mum-of-three says she is facing ‘the abyss’ as eviction from her home looms with no accommodation in sight.

Sara Ahmed, from Hayes in Hillingdon, has been given until Tuesday (April 30) to leave her family home due to her landlord deciding she wants the property back.

The mum says she has reached out to Hillingdon Council on numerous occasions for help only to be rebuffed and ‘belittled’ leaving her ‘suicidal’. Sara told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that in the months she reached out for help the council has only found her one alternative accommodation which she says is ‘dangerous’ for her as a single mother and her three children.

Sara told LDRS: “I have said just help me facilitate finding a new place and I am out of your way, I will cover the rent. But it’s so infuriating because the one time I get an offer from the council and I rush over and it is absolutely unsafe.”

The no-fault eviction has turned Sara’s world upside down, throwing her into the competitive and sometimes predatory rental market. As made clear by her experience, every single affordable property becomes a battlefield for different bidders.

Sara said: “I’m coming to be evicted on Tuesday, I have been viewing like crazy. I have been to a number of viewings with housing associations. None of them have given me the properties I have looked at even though I have put an offer down to rent with them.”

With time running out before the deadline and the looming dread of homelessness or life in poor emergency housing, Sara says Hillingdon Council’s lack of communication and limited support has left her desperate.

Of the council’s assistance she said: “There’s nothing. Only me running about here there and everywhere and the places I have visited, the number of people that are queuing outside, it’s like an auction house. Every single viewing I have been there is at least 10 people with you.”

Paying £1,350 for her current accommodation and maintaining a job at Heathrow Airport, Sara is just about getting by while raising her three children. However, she has had a shock after hunting for anything she can afford in Outer London.

She said: “For a three bedroom in a 1.5-mile radius of where I come from. The average price is £2,100. If I go down to two bedrooms, which I will more than likely have to do and continue to be overcrowded, it’s £1800.”

The issue is not just the rent, but the requirement by many landlords to get renters to prove they have a suitable salary before offering them the property. This has been a serious stumbling for the single mum who currently works part time.

She added: “Even if I was to do extra shifts so that I could afford [the rent], to secure [a property] you have to be earning an astronomical amount of money to put in your contract. I can’t put in my contract ‘I’m gonna work extra hours’, they don’t want that, they want to know your salary from the last year and I can’t show that.”

With all the issues Sara is facing in her independent search for properties, she has become increasingly disappointed and frustrated by the council’s response to her circumstances. She says that despite emailing multiple times, the council has failed to reply since April 17, over a week ago.

“I have not a heard a peep back, not a single peep,” she told LDRS. “I am none existent. I do not exist. That’s how it feels like.”

“The pressure of the situation has left Sara struggling to cope. She says she has been put on anti-stress medication and her dosage was recently doubled because her “blood pressure is just not coming down”.

“I had to take some leave from work because I couldn’t cope,” she added. “I don’t sleep. Constantly, 24/7, I am thinking where am I going to be?”

“There are no words to describe how I’m feeling because I’m at the abyss.”

Hillingdon Council said: “The council’s priority is to ensure that residents have access to the homes they need and live in safe and strong communities. However, like all London boroughs, the council and our residents are facing immense challenges due to changes in the private rental sector and rising costs.

“The demand for our services has surged, with an increasing number of households seeking support each week to prevent them from homelessness. While we always look to find residents a home that fits their needs, the reality is that there is a significant shortage of available properties in our borough, particularly in the three, four, and five bedroom categories.

“We understand the urgency of the situation and have been in frequent contact with Ms Ahmed to address her housing needs promptly. Our dedicated team is working tirelessly to explore all available options and assist her in finding suitable and affordable alternative accommodation.”