Harborough woman in eviction threat because of her cats

Debs Ardley with Pams and Fern at her flat
Debs Ardley with Pams and Fern at her flat

A disabled woman has been told she will be evicted from her Market Harborough flat if she doesn’t get rid of her two beloved pet cats.

But Debs Ardley told the Mail: “I’m on my own now and not well, and my cats are my reason to get up in the morning.

“I’d rather stay here with my cats, and barricade myself in if I have to.”

Debs (51) moved to the Northbank town centre flats, off Coventry Road, in a hurry after an incident at her former home, bringing her pets Pams and Fern with her.

“I’ve never hidden the fact that I’ve got cats. I’ve been too honest – that’s the problem.

“They’re indoor cats. They don’t go out of the front door.

“To insist that I get rid of them now seems very cruel.”

Debs was re-housed by Harborough-based Seven Locks Housing to Northbank, in April last year, after the incident.

She has lived in her beautifully-maintained flat, seen by the Mail, for nearly a year.

She says a Seven Locks representative has visited her three or four times in that period, but never mentioned her cats, one of which she has had for 10 years.

But she suffers from a degenerative bone disease which is now making it difficult for her to use the stairs to her flat.

Debs said: “The pain I’m in for 24 hours a day is awful.

“I’ve been told by my social worker that I warrant a wheelchair, but obviously that would be impossible here because of the stairs.”

Seven Locks has now offered her a bungalow in Market Harborough – but only if she gets rid of her cats.

Debs turned down the move on Monday this week.

But Seven Locks says that Debs will have to get rid of her cats anyway, because “large pets” are not allowed in the Northbank flats.

“They’re serving me with an eviction notice, and I don’t know where I’m going to go,” said a tearful Debs.

She admitted that she was aware of a rule that large pets were not allowed in the flats

“But they knew I had two cats, and I had no time to re-house them when I moved here in a hurry.

“Other residents here have pets – including the previous owner of this flat. He had an Alsatian,” she said.

Jacque Allen, group director of housing and neighbourhoods at Seven Locks’ parent company Acclaim Housing, said: “We are working with the tenant to find alternative accommodation which will meet her mobility needs.

“Our policy states that tenants who live in flats with a communal entrance are not allowed to keep pets.

“This is made clear in our property adverts and when tenants sign their tenancy agreement.

“Seven Locks Housing will continue to liaise with the tenant and look to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”