A Kent couple have been forced to live a ‘degrading’ life in their car after they were suddenly booted out of their flat. Mum-of-two Friday Quick had been renting a property in Chatham with her two sons, when in March they were served with a Section 21. A Section 21 notice is also known as a no-fault eviction notice, and allows landlords to evict a tenant without having to give a reason. They were later told the landlord needed to sell the house, and were given until July 8 to find somewhere else to live – something which Ms Quick’s sons managed, but she did not.
Her partner, Richard Warrior, then moved in with her, reported Kent Online. Since then the couple have constantly applied for flats through the council and privately.
However, their financial situation has made it difficult to be accepted – and by October 27, the couple were evicted, and have since been living out of their car.
Ms Quick said: “I have never had a Section 21 before so did not know the process. I went to Citizens’ Advice for help. I was given a housing officer. My sons moved out and one made their own housing application to the council.
“I could not get a house as I did not meet the criteria. The fact we are homeless should be criteria enough. It has been a bit of a hellish few months.”
They have been sleeping in their Audi for over a week, keeping only blankets, pillows, medication and a few appliances they are unable to use. The pair have been paying for a storage locker to keep most of their possessions safe – but this too is becoming increasingly difficult for them to afford.
When they sleep, the couple put a blanket up to block out light from the front window, and then lay the seats back covered in pillows and blankets. They park where they can find a spot, using public toilets and service stations to wash.
The mum-of-two said: “It is degrading. It is the simple things like going to the toilet. We have been living off sandwiches, crisps and fruit so we are not starving. We have just bought a flask so we can have hot water.
“We had fish and chips the other day as a treat. It was the first hot meal we had had since we were evicted.”
Mr Warrior, 49, added: “Where we are living is not safe, we do not feel safe when we are sleeping. We are going to start losing that locker soon. That is all her possessions, we would lose them. All her life is in that storage locker.
“It is degrading. When we look at what we had and what we have now got.”
The pair said they were stuck in a continuous cycle of obstacles, and despite looking at over 50 homes since March, see no way out. The council’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) scheme to help people in their situation is not helping, as Ms Quick said many landlords are turning them away because they are using it to pay for the deposit and first months’ rent.
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Both of the pair are currently unemployed, with Mr Warrior regularly visiting the job centre. They said they cannot afford to put down a payment without the council’s help.
Mr Warrior had previously been working as a fencer, but had been let go due to a lack of available help, while Ms Quick has been out of work for the last two years due to her health.
All the money they receive goes towards food, petrol, car tax and insurance.
Ms Quick, 50, said: “It is like a kick in the teeth. I never thought I would be in this situation. It is so frustrating. I am really not coping with it.”
Mr Warrior added: “We just want somewhere safe to live that is all we are asking for. We just want a place we can call home and just enjoy our lives.”
Medway Council was not able to comment on their specific case – but detailed the support they do have available to those who find themselves homeless.
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A spokesman said: “We are committed to helping Medway’s residents who have nowhere to live. We commission a range of accommodation and support for people with nowhere to live and work with a range of partners in the private and social housing sectors to help prevent residents from becoming homeless, this includes providing financial support.
“In line with national guidance, residents can also apply to be on our housing register. We assess everyone’s circumstances and prioritise those with greater housing needs; this includes people who are homeless or have medical needs.
“We would encourage anyone who is homeless, or who is at risk of becoming homeless to visit Kingsley House in Gillingham to access the specialist advice and support available to them.”