Church evicts grandmother, 85, from cottage she was told was hers until she died

·3-min read
Anne Allsop, 85 was told her home was
Anne Allsop, 85 was told her home was "yours until the day you die" when she started renting it from a church. (Wales News Service)

An 85-year-old mother has been evicted from her home by a church after being told she could stay in it until she died.

Anne Allsop was told her white-washed cottage was "yours until the day you die" when she started renting it 27 years ago.

But she was shocked to be handed a legal eviction notice on a "no-fault" basis by church officials - and is being forced out.

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."

Allsop lives in the cottage next to the Presbyterian church in the seaside village of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, but says rent prices are too high in the local 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.

Anne Allsop has been handed an eviction notice on a
Anne Allsop has been handed an eviction notice on a "no fault" basis - and is in a race against time to find a new home. (Wales News Service)

"I was told 'it's yours until the day you die. I'm still waiting to die.

"I’m very angry. I’m mostly angry by the fact they haven’t told me themselves and they still haven’t told me.

She was given a two-month notice, which has now passed, but she has refused to hand in her keys.

She said she claimed she has not had any direct contact with the church despite always paying rent on time and keeping her garden tidy.

Her son and granddaughter are looking for somewhere for her to live but they can't find anything suitable and affordable.

Allsop added: "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 Allsop has said rents in the local area are too high. (Wales News Service)
Anne Allsop has said rents in the local area are too high. (Wales News Service)

Allsop is now waiting for Pembrokeshire County Council to help her find a property - and is staying put for now.

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 believes that 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."

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