A DUDLEY mum says her family has been left weeks away from homelessness after following the advice of Dudley Council.

Sarah Atwell and her partner and daughter must leave their home on Willow Road on the Wrens Nest Estate in Dudley by the end of the month after being suddenly served with an eviction notice by their landlord.

She claims she has been left in this situation as a result of following the council’s advice after contacting the housing team for help following 12 months of asking her landlord to make repairs.

Sarah says the house needed new windows due to rain and snow getting into the property and a hole in the living room required fixing due to a previous leak.

The 27-year-old blames conditions in the house for causing her four-year-old daughter Mia-Grace to develop asthma.

Sarah says Dudley Council then issued the landlord with a list of necessary works to be carried out, but the landlord then decided to sell the property and served the family an eviction notice in August.

A distraught Sarah said she was then told by Dudley Council that she could not be helped unless she declared her family as homeless.

The frustrated mum-of-one told the News: “All we have done is follow what they told us. We told the council but were told they were not liable so couldn’t help us. It’s frustrating because we followed their rules and procedures.

“We have been told that if we didn’t work or had drug or alcohol issues, they would be in a better situation to help us. We both work and we don’t claim anything.”

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has taken up the family's case.

He said: "This a hard-working young family at risk of being made homeless through no fault of their own. It is scandalous that tenants in the private sector have such little security. I have urged Dudley Council to help her before they are actually made homeless and I have written to all the local housing associations asking them to help urgently too.”

Sarah, who runs her own cleaning business, says she feels trapped as she can only receive help if she declares herself as homeless but claims she has also been threatened with social services regarding the care of her four-year-old daughter if she ‘intentionally’ makes herself homeless.

She said: “We are trapped, I’m a nervous wreck.

"The team have advised us that the only housing they will offer are flats and maisonettes, often unwanted accommodation, in areas that are troubled, with no dogs allowed knowing full well that we have a cat and a dog.

“We have been told that we have no choice in the matter and that we should just rehome our family pet and accept what is given in any area or just to rent privately once again because we work. They couldn’t offer any more help.

"The stress that all this is bringing to our family is becoming unbearable. Our child’s schooling is being affected and our jobs are at risk if we are moved to far from our current area. We don't know if we will have a warm secure home for winter."

Sarah is now calling for a change to the council's procedures while she and her partner Ben desperately continue to find somewhere to live.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing, communities and residents’ welfare, said: “When someone is at risk of losing their privately rented home, whatever the reason, we can provide advice and support on a range of issues including dealing with repairs, defending possession action and helping to secure alternative accommodation if necessary.

"No two cases are the same so the advice we give will always depend on the individual circumstances.

“In this case, our homeless prevention team is already working with the resident to help them secure an appropriate alternative home.”