The woman at the centre of an eviction row over her pet cats can stay put for now.
Debs Ardley had been told by Seven Locks Housing she would be evicted from her Harborough flat if she didn’t get rid of her two beloved cats.
However, yesterday Chris Foster, head of housing at Seven Locks, said: “Subject to the tenant signing an agreement, on this occasion we will allow the cats to remain there while the tenant is supported to find alternative accommodation which meets her mobility needs.”
Disabled Debs (51) has shown the Mail written proof that other residents in the Northbank flats, in Coventry Road, are allowed to keep cats permanently.
A letter sent by Seven Locks to another resident in her flats titled ‘Request for permission to keep a house cat’ states: “I am pleased to approve your request.”
Debs said: “I’m bewildered by this. Either you’re allowed to keep cats or you’re not.
“I could understand being thrown out if I was a drug user or I didn’t pay my rent on time.
“But I’m a disabled woman with two house cats which never leave my flat and are genuinely no trouble to anyone else.
“I’m on my own and not well, and my cats are my reason to get up in the morning.”
Debs moved to the flats in a hurry after an incident at her former home, bringing pets Pams and Fern with her.
“I’ve never hidden the fact I’ve got cats, and my flat has been inspected by Seven Locks on three or four occasions. To insist I get rid of them now seems very cruel.”
Debs has lived in her beautifully-maintained flat, seen by the Mail, for nearly a year.
But she suffers from a degenerative bone disease which is now making it difficult for her to use stairs to her flat.
Debs said: “I’ve been told by my social worker I warrant a wheelchair, but obviously that would be impossible here because of the stairs.”
Seven Locks has offered her a ground floor flat elsewhere in town – but only if she gets rid of her cats. The association had said Debs would have to get rid of her cats anyway because “large pets” are not allowed in Northbank.
Debs said: “They’re serving me with an eviction notice, and I don’t know where I’m going to go.
“They knew I had two cats when I moved here, and I had no time to re-house them.
“Other residents have pets – including the previous owner of this flat, he had an Alsatian.”