An elderly woman is being evicted from her home, despite being told “it’s yours until the day you die” when she moved in 27 years ago.
Anne Allsop, 85, has been handed a legal eviction notice on a “no fault” basis by church officials – and is being forced out.
The Presbyterian Church of Wales is selling the home she rents in Pembrokeshire, along with another it owns, to a housing association.
Her son Stephen said: “Legally, it’s 100 per cent legal. Morally, it’s incredibly callous – and even more so considering it’s coming from a church.”
Anne lives in the cottage next to the Presbyterian church in the seaside village of Saundersfoot, but said rent prices are too high in the area due to holiday homes.
She said: “I’m sure there are lots of properties out there to let – but not one for me. I can’t pay £800-£1,000 a month, there’s no way.
“I was told ‘it’s yours until the day you die’. I’m still waiting to die. I feel bloody mad. I’m very angry. I’m mostly angry by the fact they haven’t told me themselves, and they still haven’t told me.
“I was given a two-month notice and I couldn’t believe it – think about all the things I have accumulated over the last 27 years, two months is nothing.”
Anne, who has never missed a rent payment, was told she needed to be out of her home by July 21 in a move that came “completely out of the blue”.
She said: “What makes it worse is that I haven’t heard anything from them. Not one person from the church has come to see me or see how I am doing.
“For all the years that I paid the rent on the dot every month, I kept the garden tidy and then nothing.
“My son and granddaughter are working hard to find something for me, but they can’t.
“A lot of houses here are holiday lets, and when they do hear of somewhere for me and look at it they find that it is a flat two storeys up or it’s a house with stairs in it – I can’t do stairs.
“I have no place to go. I said to the letting agent, the next time you drive past here, do drive carefully because you might see me out on the road with all my goods and chattels. I am 85 years old, this is no joke.”
Anne is now waiting for Pembrokeshire County Council to help her find a property – and is staying put for now.
Son Stephen said: “We were told that the church wanted to put the properties on the market and sell them and there’s nothing they could do about it.
“The actual notice period ran out on Friday, the agent called her and asked when she would be handing in her keys – she said she wasn’t going to.
“She’s a very strong woman, she’s been through a lot health-wise, but her mental strength is stronger than ever. The news absolutely broke her to start with, but she’s got through that and now she’s just angry.”
The Welsh Government said it believed everybody has a right to a decent, affordable home to buy or to rent in their own communities so they can live and work locally.
A spokesman for Presbyterian Church of Wales said: “It is of great concern to us that the current housing situation in Wales is in crisis.
“In this particular situation, unfortunately, the church needed to sell the two houses and notice was served in accordance with the law.
“As a church we are delighted that we are from time to time able to sell property to housing associations to provide affordable homes.”