A Tenby resident battling cancer, fears she could be left homeless this Christmas after being given notice to leave her accommodation.
Michelle Baker has been renting a flat in the town’s Trafalgar Road since last?April, but was recently served a section 21 notice requiring her to vacate the property in two weeks time.
No reason has been given by the landlord for her impending eviction, but Ms Baker, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, believes she is being victimised as she has had reason to complain to the letting agency about the poor state of the property.
“When I first viewed the property I asked all the questions you need to ask, to make sure it was suitable,” she explained.
“There were damp patches dotted around, but the lady who showed me around said it was just paint drying. I asked if there were any damp or mould issues and was told no. I’m asthmatic as well, so that would be an issue for me.
“When I first moved in I was also having to put my cooker on in the kitchen to warm the flat up,” added Ms. Baker. “The place is freezing. It is atrocious!
“The damp is an issue which is getting mouldy, in particular in my bedroom.
“There still is damp under the kitchen units where I’m supposed to keep food and utensils, which has not been addressed.”
“A gap under the front door leading to the lounge also allows the wind through, making the property even colder.
“Because of chemotherapy, I’ve got a compromised immune system, and I feel the cold now even more so,” explained Ms. Baker.
“I’ve had chest infections throughout my treatment and I’ve got a persistent cough that I never used to have until I moved in.
“I should be recuperating, but I’ve been battling since I moved in to try and get things sorted.”
Ms Baker admitted that the landlord had offered to release her from her contract at no expense, but this was impossible for her at the time as she was about to have an operation.
She said she had also been in contact with Pembrokeshire County Council to explain her situation, and a council officer had come round after being made aware of the condition of the flat.
“Why aren’t they chasing them up, why aren’t they making the landlord correct things,” said an exasperated Ms Baker.
“The condition of this flat hasn’t happened overnight, this has been years of neglect!”
Having been served the section 21 notice in September, Ms. Baker has been told to leave the property by Friday, December 13.
However, she said that she would be in no fit state to do this as her treatment does not finish until the end of November.
“I’m still going to be recuperating and they are expecting me to leave mid-December just before Christmas. That’s not going to happen!” she continued. “I will go to court, I may not get my say in court, but it will give me the opportunity to write to the judge and say this is my reason for not leaving.”
Ms. Baker said that she primarily held the landlord responsible for the situation, but also blamed letting agents Homelink for allowing a property to be put up for rent when it was not habitable.
“I hold the county council responsible as well - as they have the power to fine the landlord and make them carry out the repairs that are necessary,” she stated. “ It’s in their hands.”
When asked to comment on Ms Baker’s situation, a spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “The council served an Improvement Notice on the landlord in relation to damp, mould and excess cold hazards.
“This notice required remedial and improvement works to be carried out by the September 16, 2019.
“Earlier in October, the council returned to the property and found that while some works had been completed, there still remained some outstanding matters. These are being discussed with Home Link Property.”
A spokesperson for Homelink, said: “Homelink can confirm that the property is let on behalf of the landlord.
“We have received from PCC confirmation that they are in contact with the landlords and Zing Energy the suppliers of the eco FLEX grant system. Grant work was carried out at the property in June this year.