Lancing pensioners' predicament highlights renting problems

Two pensioners have spoken out about their difficulties in securing a new home to shed light on the struggle of entering the rental sector.

Thursday, 13th July 2017, 4:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 10:56 am
David and Maureen Willmer of South Lancing

Great-grandparents David Willmer, 79, and Maureen Willmer, 74, have to leave their rented flat in Western Avenue, Lancing, by early September, but their financial constraints have left them unable to find somewhere new.

David said: “We’re in a bit of a predicament.

“In a sense, we are being penalised for not having enough money up front.”

The couple need to provide a guarantor to secure a home, and cover the rent if they cannot pay, but have been told that their ‘very generous’ retired friend does not have sufficient income to take on the role.

Without a guarantor, the couple would have to pay six months rent up front – which they cannot afford.

The couple also have a dog, a beagle terrier called Hollie, who many landlords will not accept, though David said: “She’s no trouble at all.”

When the Willmers approached Adur District Council, David – who has lived in Shoreham and Steyning but recently lived to Spain for several years – was told residency of two years was required to be eligible for the housing register.

Only then will the couple be put on the housing list, at which point they could face a wait of up to three years for a council home, David said.

Emergency accommodation will be provided if the pair have nowhere to go – but beloved Hollie will not be welcome.

Their situation has left them feeling abandoned.

“No one wants to help us out,” said David, who believes their situation is not uncommon.

An Adur District Council spokesman advised anyone in this situation to contact the Housing Solutions team on 01903 221063.

“We are sympathetic to anyone who finds themselves in housing need and obviously it is well documented that local authorities are inundated with requests for social housing,” the spokesman said.

“Our Housing Solutions team seek to provide advice, assistance or connect people with other organisations who may be able to help.

“The team also works with private landlords whenever it can to support people to maintain their tenancies or obtain new ones.”