A griving son is being threatened with eviction from his family home before his father has even been cremated.
Jamie Creighton has lived in the same local authority-owned house since 1989 with his mother and father.
However, after caring for his father until he died last month, Brighton and Hove City Council has threatened him with an eviction notice claiming the two-bedroom property in Normanhurst, Grove Hill, Brighton, cannot be passed over to him.
The local authority says the two-bedroom property is under-occupied, adding that it has more than 12,000 people on its housing waiting list.
But Mr Creighton, who was a full-time carer for his ill father, claims it will mean he is homeless and jobless in the run-up to Christmas.
The 45-year-old said: “I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating – I’m in constant shock and it’s really affecting me “All I ask is for the council to have a little compassion. He’s not even cremated yet.
“I’ve got my father’s death, I was his full time carer so I have a job to find and now I have to find somewhere to live without having any time to get a deposit together.
“They are making one person homeless to house two people.”
The issue revolves around the Government’s 1985 Housing Act, which states possession of council houses can only be transferred between family members once.
The local authority claims the legal possession of the home passed from a joint-tenancy between Mr Creighton’s parents to solely his father when his mother died.
This means, after his father James, 81, died on November 11, Mr Creighton cannot take it over.
There have been a number of similar cases in recent years in the city.
It was so contentious that more than 30 of Brighton and Hove’s elected housing representatives wrote to the Queen in 2010 asking for the sub-clause in housing succession law to be reviewed.
A council spokesman said it was not able to comment on individual cases.
In a statement, the spokesman added: “Our rules around succession rights are laid down under national legislation and have to be applied fairly to everyone and this becomes even more important in a city where demand massively outstrips supply.
“We are clear about our policy and this is that there is one succession right to a council tenancy.
“In the case of joint tenants, where one tenant dies then the surviving tenant succeeds as a sole tenant and this then uses the succession right.
“The council is sympathetic to people left in occupation that are unable to succeed, and always offers appropriate advice and assistance to help them find a suitable home.
“We do understand that the period following bereavement can be emotionally difficult for relatives, and try to be as sensitive as possible.”
Talking point: To what extent should councils have more flexibility when it comes to allowing people to stay in their family home?
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- 13 things to do in Brighton, Hove and Sussex - Thursday April 2
- Sussex weather and tides: What we should expect on Thursday April 2
- Wetherspoon plan first hotel in Sussex at its boozer in Brighton's West Street
- The last known pictures of murder victim Janet Muller are released by police
- Man sent to jail over teen prostitution bid using Facebook