A DESPERATE dad is pleading with his council to let his two kids stay in their home after losing their mum.
Darren Cross says his children face being homeless over a technicality which prevents the property from being transferred over to them.
The 47-year-old and his then-partner Jackie moved into the house in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on a joint tenancy in April 2000.
There, they started a family and raised two kids, now aged 18 and 22.
When the couple split in 2015, Darren took his name off the tenancy agreement.
But after Jackie died from alcoholism in August this year, their daughter attempted to put the home into her name and was told she needed to vacate the premises by October 30.
Housing association Optivo says only one transfer between family members can be made in a lifetime – and this was used when Darren took his name off the tenancy.
The crushed father-of-two said: “When Jackie and I split up, I thought I was just coming off the tenancy, but in the eyes of the housing association I handed the house down to her and this can only ever be done to one person in the house in a lifetime.
“They are saying the children haven’t got a right to the house.
“I didn’t know this, I thought I was just coming off the tenancy.
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“My daughter has tried to get the concession on the home to stay there with her brother, but they turned them down and told them to leave.
“They have nowhere to go at all. My son has ADHD and learning difficulties so you can imagine he’s in a right state at the moment.”
Darren lives in a mobile home so there isn’t enough room for his children to live with him.
But he claims “no one is interested” in helping them through the immense stress of the nightmare situation.
“We phoned the local housing authority but the closest we can get is a telephone call for next Wednesday,” he said.
“That only leaves my son, who is in college full time, three weeks to find somewhere to live.
“My daughter works and can pay the rent so I don’t see the issue.”
This is destroying my family.
If the pair are forced out, Darren’s daughter’s dogs will also have to be rehomed.
“They just lost their mum, she’s not even cold in the ground, and this is destroying my family,” he added.
“I’m in tears. This is the only home my kids have ever had.
“They watched their mother die in it. They got memories in there.”
Optivo confirmed it is assessing an application for the transfer to be made.
A spokesperson said: “We have received an application from one of Jackie’s children to succeed the property following her death, which we are currently looking into.
“We understand this is an extremely sensitive and complex case and we have not asked anyone to leave the home.
“A housing officer will pay a visit to get a better understanding of the situation and discuss all the options available to Jackie’s children.
“We know this must be an extremely difficult time for the family and we will offer all the support we can.”
A spokesperson Arun District Council added: “We understand these circumstances are very sensitive and it is a difficult time for the family.
“We can’t comment on any detail as we haven’t received any application for housing, but we know that Optivo will be working with the young adults involved to support them and help them find a solution to their situation.”
Inheriting a council or housing association property
MOST councils give tenants “succession rights” to their rented homes which allow family members to inherit their properties.
But the rules can be very strict, according to Credit Ladder.
To inherit a property, people must have a direct relationship with the tenant and have lived there for at least 12 months.
This is usually someone’s close relative or partner.
There also needs to an accepted reason for the transfer.
The listed of very urgent needs to move include domestic abuse and major construction work, but other priorities are to do with size and suitability.
When it comes to how many times a property can be transferred, the rules vary.
If a secure tenancy was granted before April 1, 2012, only one transfer may be permitted.
The government advises checking your agreement, and requesting a transfer through your local housing department.