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Vauxhall mum was housed in £1,900 flat then Lambeth council reneged on promise to pay her rent – South London News

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By Robert Firth, local democracy reporter

A mum won over £17,000 from housing chiefs after it housed her in a flat she couldn’t afford.

Aliria Ramos and her children were threatened with eviction by a landlady after they stopped contributing to her rent.

Lambeth council offered Ms Ramos a privately rented flat on the Hemans Estate in Vauxhall in 2020 because she was in danger of becoming homeless.

The mum-of-three didn’t earn enough in benefits to cover the full £1,900 per month rent but the council promised to cover the £1,040 per month shortfall.

But 11 months into her two year tenancy Lambeth stopped the payments, causing 27-year-old Ms Ramos to rack up thousands of pounds in arrears. Her landlady then threatened to evict her.  Ms Ramos subsequently complained to the local government regulator about the council’s decision. It ordered Lambeth to pay off her debts and apologise.

But Ms Ramos said she fears being made homeless again from June because the landlady is refusing to renew her tenancy. She said: “It’s not a nice feeling to be homeless. With three children you feel you should have yourself together. It’s very hard. I feel quite defeated to be honest.”

“The council was aware I was on benefits, that I would not be able to afford the rent. I don’t really know how they thought I was a good candidate for this property. It doesn’t really make sense. During this whole situation, I have always paid my share of the rent. It’s extremely unfair.”

Ms Ramos added she was still waiting for Lambeth to say sorry for stopping its payments towards her rent, over two months after the local government regulator ordered it to do so. Lambeth disputes this and says it apologised by email on February 11.

Ms Ramos said if her family are forced to move again, she fears her autistic daughter will have to leave a specialist school she attends in the borough. Ms Ramos, who has been on the housing waiting list for six years, wants Lambeth Council to make the family a direct offer of a home. Otherwise, she says they may be forced to accept temporary accommodation outside of the borough or London.

She said: “Before I moved here I was in temporary accommodation in Thornton Heath in Croydon. At the time my daughter was attending a school in Lambeth. I had to remove my daughter from school because it just wasn’t possible with three small children to make an hour and 20 minute bus journey everyday there and back. I am very concerned and I have stressed to the council it is affecting my health. I’m very lost. I don’t know what else I can do.

“I’ve grown up in Lambeth. My support network is all in Lambeth. To be moved out of the borough is hard enough but the possibility of us moving out of London is a lot worse. I don’t know how we will cope.”

Lambeth Council said it had taken a homeless application from Ms Ramos. It said it would help her to find alternative accommodation.

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