A BROMSGROVE Paralympic hopeful has been hit with the news that she needs to find herself a new home after being told she has to leave the adapted bungalow in Dodford where she currently lives.
Leanna Horne, 28, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, received the repossession order from her landlady and landlord Dorothy and Graham Woodhouse after returning from a competition in Berlin where she reached the highest ranking in the World for her classification. It stated she should leave the property by September.
Leanna said, with just weeks to go until the final round of selections for Rio, she should be focusing on her sport and her last few major competitions but instead she had been worrying about where she was going to live.
She fears without a property with the right adaptations she would have to rely on higher levels of support.
“I am a fiercely independent person and have worked very hard to become so and 18 months without the facilities to enable me to continue to be independent will cause me huge setbacks – it all just feels totally unfair because I have done nothing wrong.”
More than £15,000 has been spent over the last 18 months by Worcestershire County Council through its Care and Repair scheme to adapt the privately-rented property to make it more accessible for her. The changes to the toilet and shower, undertaken with the consent of the landlord, enabled her to live as independently as possible.
Leanna said at the time, she and the landlords signed an agreement that if she left the property within ten years she would have to pay back in full the cost of not only putting the equipment in but also for its removal.
Alternatively the agreement stated if the landlords asked her to move out, they would have to pay back the £15,000.
But, she said, that funding has not been requested.
Mr and Mrs Woodhouse said they had to put a date on the section 21 (repossession) notice they gave to Leanna, adding they were hopeful that she would have found a property by then.
But, they added, they would not throw her out of the current property if she had not found one by September.
Mrs Woodhouse told The Standard: “Leanna initially took on the property on a six-month rent and then that was renewed each time it reached its conclusion.
“It was never intended to be a long-term thing.”
The pair said circumstances surrounding the bungalow had changed and they needed to take the property back so their sons could live in it.
On the installation of the equipment, they added: “As far as we know, the equipment belongs to Leanna and could be moved to her next property.”
Leanna has contacted Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (bdht) but has been told it could take some time for permanent suitable accommodation to be found for her and she may have to move into temporary accommodation in the meantime. The family is also concerned if a new property was found, thousands more pounds would have to be spent on adapting it.
Mike Brown, Chief Executive of bdht said: “We are working closely with Leanna to meet her housing needs and can confirm that she is currently in the second highest banding as an applicant in priority need facing homelessness.
“The highest band is for those in priority need who are currently without a home.
“We hope to soon be in a position to offer Leanna temporary accommodation that will meet her essential needs whilst we wait for a permanent property to become available.”