Dead woman evicted

A DEAD woman was sent a letter evicting her from her council house on the day of her funeral.Her distraught son and daughter then received another letter, again addressed to their dead mother, saying the rent was going up.

A DEAD woman was sent a letter evicting her from her council house on the day of her funeral.

Her distraught son and daughter then received another letter, again addressed to their dead mother, saying the rent was going up.

Finally Janet and Philip Webber got the correct letter - what Ipswich Borough Council meant to tell them, on the day of their mother's funeral, was that THEY were being evicted from their home of 43 years.

Miss Webber said: "I think it is heartless. Who in their right minds sends a letter to a dead person?"

The problem started when their mother Stella Webber died on February 9.

On the day of the funeral, the Webbers received two documents.

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The first was a notice to quit served on their dead mother.

It included a letter that offered Mr Webber the council's condolences - and then demanded the keys be returned by April 4.

Yet another blunder was that the notice was dated March 28 - a date still in the future.

A few days later another letter arrived for the late Mrs Webber saying the rent would be going up.

Mr Webber said: "I thought it was disgusting. I just couldn't believe what we were seeing. We were going through heartache enough and it just made it even worse."

The final letter was a second notice to quit, which told the Webbers they had to be out by April 11.

The tenancy cannot be transferred to the Webbers because tenancy of a council house can only be transferred once - and it had already been transferred from their father to their mother.

This comes just six months after the council told disabled pensioner Pat Bagley that she had to leave her home of 53 years in Turner Road, Ipswich, after her mother died. Mrs Bagley is still in her house, after The Evening Star raised her case, but is still waiting to see if or when she will be evicted.

Mr and Miss Webber are outraged at the way they have been treated - and do not want to leave their mother's council house in Spenser Road, Ipswich.

A neighbour is even getting together a petition in protest.

Mr Webber, 46, said: "I have lived here for 43 years. My parents moved here when I was two and my sister was six weeks old. It's been a family home for all my life."

Miss Webber, 43, said: "I am hoping that we will be able to stay here. It's our family home. It's our memories of our mum and dad here."

"Because of losing my mum and the pressure from the council, I am suffering from depression and my brother is a bundle of nerves.

Today Ipswich Borough Council apologised and said it would be looking at their case.

The council has now said the way relatives are contacted would be reviewed.

A spokesman said: "We want to apologise to the Webbers for sending out incorrect letters and causing them distress at a very difficult time.

"We made a mistake and there are no excuses. That is why we sent another letter correctly addressed and with a further week added to the tenancy.

"Although we have had to send out a notice to quit letter, this does not mean they have to leave the property at the end of the tenancy, April 11.

"We have spoken to the Webbers about this and went to see them yesterday.

"By law the tenancy has to end, but the case will be referred to a review panel. If it's decided they cannot remain there, we will help them find suitable accommodation."

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