Single mum has just days left in her home after being served eviction notice

Although Sarah Morris wants to stay in the area for the sake of her children, she has just days left in her home after being served an eviction notice
Work is already underway at Oxgangs House.Work is already underway at Oxgangs House.
Work is already underway at Oxgangs House.

A single mum has said she is being forced to 'uproot' her family after she was handed an eviction notice, and has just days left in her home. Sarah Morris, 38, who has two daughters aged 10 and 13, is facing eviction from her home in Edinburgh, along with at least three other families, due to the City of Edinburgh Council's compulsory repairs programme.

Instead of paying for the council's repairs, the landlord of Sarah's privately owned flat has chosen to sell the property back to the local authority, which means the property will become council homes for social rent. This means Sarah, a parent peer support worker, will be given notice to quit her tenancy after Sunday (31 March), when the eviction ban is lifted, and be given a notice period to move out of probably one month.

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The mother-of-two told NationalWorld's sister title Edinburgh Evening News: "The council has decided that Oxgangs House, which is made up of three blocks needs to be refurbished and insulated. They told my previous landlord that she would have to pay £75,000 per house for the repairs.

"She owns two houses here. So she said she would sell the properties back to the council. The council said to her that they would only buy it if she evicted her tenant first. That was in 2022.

"So myself and another neighbour who lives in my landlord's other property were made to move out. Luckily for me the house next door became available so we moved in, and then the council took a break on the plans. Then in March last year they started to push for the works to go ahead again. And they said to my current landlord that it would still be £75,000 per house.

"I couldn't believe it was happening again. My landlord also owns two other houses in the block. Because of the eviction ban he couldn't evict us, but that ban ends on March 31. Just on my floor alone there was five of us in this position, but one family has already been evicted. So there are still four families including ourselves all in the same situation."

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Sarah, who is due to start a university course in September at nearby Napier University is desperate to stay in the area, where her two daughters are settled at local schools. She explained: "I'm just trying to remain in our home. We have been in this block for seven years now. My oldest daughter has autism, I struggled to keep her in school just now.

"I'm not asking them to put me above anybody else, just don't move us out of Oxgangs. The housing officers just say we need to do this work so you need to move out. They said they can put us somewhere temporarily but it's highly unlikely that it will be in this area.

"They offered us Granton but it's miles away. Without sounding entitled I don't want to uproot my family, my kids are settled here with good schools and a good group of friends.

"If we knew we would have to move somewhere for just six months but return when the work is done then fine, we would do that, but we would be out of that flat for good. We really don't want to be forced out of the area, we are settled here. So I feel this is worth fighting until the end. So at least I know I have tried my best for my girls."

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Councillor Jane Meagher, housing, homelessness and fair work convener, said: “It's hard to describe the huge difference these essential works are making to Oxgangs House: to the warmth, safety, and quality of all 36 homes, to residents’ fuel bills and of course to the environment.

“It must be one of the most ambitious, biggest investments we’ve made in the local estate for decades and for the vast majority of residents, the investment is really welcome. By improving the efficiency and security of homes, we can also clamp down on issues like damp and antisocial behaviour.

“A number of landlords have decided to take up the option of selling their property back to the council rather than making an investment themselves or selling on the open market. We will continue to offer housing advice to anyone affected by this.”

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