Family-of-13 in rented 8-bed house fear being homeless as council plans to evict them

A family of 13 who live in a huge eight-bedroom house fears becoming homeless after their local council receives an eviction notice.

Clifford Westfall and Clair Patterson live in Bradford, Yorkshire with their nine children, as well as Clair’s brother and Clifford’s brother, who both need additional support.

But the family now lives in fear that they might be torn apart after Bradford Council told them they had to leave their two and a half year old home by January 26th.

They even fear that they could be forced to move to a hostel if they cannot find another accommodation on time.

Clifford, 37, told Yorkshire Live that they just wanted to be together as a family.

The couple pays £ 1,000 a month for the privately rented property on Green Head Road and are dying to stay in the area.

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Clifford Westfall and Clair Patterson


Huddersfield Examiner)

Their seven youngest children all go to school in Keighley and the family business, a city center toy store, is just a mile away.

Clair said, “If we lived anywhere else, it would be physically impossible for me to take seven children to four different schools and then go to work. It just wouldn’t happen. “

An extension of the property built by the landlord, however, violates the planning regulations.

The work has exceeded the agreed dimensions and the house is now considered too high.

Three separate retrospective building applications and an appeal to the government’s planning inspector have failed.

This resulted in the council securing a forced sale agreement on the property. Clifford, Clair and their family were originally scheduled to move out by January 26th.

After Clifford and Clair were told to leave, they said they asked the council for help finding other accommodation after trying to find a suitable location.

“There’s nothing in the market for a family our size,” said Clifford. “We lived in a three-room house a few years ago. We were so happy, even though it was so small, but it just wasn’t big enough.

The couple with their family, who are threatened with eviction from their Keighley home


Huddersfield Examiner)

“We have never felt safe or comfortable since we were in that big house. The council says they can’t put us in a four or five bedroom house because it would be crowded, but we have to be together.”

The couple say they even asked if they could break two houses into one.

“We’re not trying to be money makers,” said Clifford. “We are fully ready to go our way. We pay £ 1,000 rent a month. We pay £ 378 council tax a month, we pay all the bills for our house.

“We don’t want a big house and it should be cheap. We’ll pay. We just want to be together.”

Shortly after YorkshireLive asked Bradford Council for comment, the local authority said it was trying to extend the deadline beyond January 26, but this has yet to be officially approved.

A spokesperson added that the council “will continue to support the family throughout the process” and is considering the possibility of “having two units side by side or in close proximity to each other”.

But Clifford and Clair claim they were told their family could move to a hostel.

“When you said that, I thought, ‘Is this real?'” Said Clifford. “What is a foot or two compared to making a family homeless?

“If we had to [leave Keighley] we would do it. But a hostel? It just can’t happen. It wouldn’t work. “

The couple have one child together but have custody of their eight children from previous relationships. The youngest is just two years old, the oldest 19.

Local councilor Mohsin Hussain tried to get the local council to do more to help the family.

“Finding another property this size is very difficult, but I told the council that we need to find another property for Clifford and his family to move into – or to extend the deadline,” he said .

“The council is not wrong, but Clifford and his family need support from the council and the housing associations.”

But the family, who spent Christmas with a big deadline, are nowhere near any closer to finding another apartment.

The couple claim they paid their rent to Jigsaw Property Services. However, a spokesman for the estate agent said the property is no longer renting out.

In a statement, a Bradford Council spokesman said: “The violation Mr. Westfall appears to be referring to is related to the building permit rather than the building codes. This was obtained from the owner of the property in 2018 in order to expand the house.The work carried out exceeded the approved level and resulted in an unauthorized increase in the total height of the property.

“Since the start of work, three separate subsequent building applications for a raised roof have been submitted. These applications were all rejected and an appeal by the client to the government’s building inspector against the decision was rejected on May 28, 2020.

“In view of this, and since the owner failed to remedy the breach, a writ of execution was issued asking him to carry out the work in accordance with the approved building permit or to demolish the unauthorized work. No legal remedy was lodged against the enforcement order and therefore it should have been complied with by 08/18/2021.

“With regard to the relocation of Mr. Westfall and his family, Mr. Westfall and his family were assessed by the local authority’s Housing Options Service under the 2017 Homeless Reduction Act.

“The apartment selection officer is currently examining suitable relocation options in private and social housing. This also includes the provision of two residential units next to each other or in the immediate vicinity.

“If Mr. Westfall becomes homeless before the eviction period expires, the municipality is legally obliged to offer a temporary apartment to one of our contracted providers in order to support Mr. Westfall and his family with this move.

“The council is currently preparing legal documents to extend the current January 26, 2022 deadline to have more time to find suitable housing for Mr Westfall and his family. He will receive these documents within the next seven days. “

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