A teenage orphan was told he had just two months to move out of his family home after his mother died suddenly.

Christopher James, 16, found his mother Angela dead in bed at the council house they shared in Nuthurst Close, Brighton, four weeks ago.

But while he was grieving, officers from Brighton and Hove City Council insisted the teenager would have to leave because the house had become under-occupied.

They said Christopher would have to move into a hostel if he had not found a new home in two months.

One of the teenager’s uncles offered to move in with Christopher while he sold his one-bedroom flat for a two-bedroom where they could both live.

But officials said the tenancy could not be handed over and said Christopher, whose father died seven years ago, would still have to leave.

But after Christopher’s uncle contacted The Argus, it appears the council backtracked.

An official called the teenager’s uncle yesterday (December 3) to say they could both stay in the house for six months while a new flat was found.

'Couldn't believe it'

David Mason, Christopher’s uncle, said: “That was the reason we phoned The Argus – to get this sorted. We couldn’t believe it when the council said Chris would have to stay in a hostel.

"Two months was nowhere near long enough to sell a flat and buy a two-bedroom one. Now he can stay there until we buy a new flat for him to live in. We just don’t understand why we weren’t offered this in the first place.

“This has caused a lot of needless distress.”

A council spokesman said: “We have made it absolutely clear that Christopher and his uncle can stay at Nuthurst Close until longer-term arrangements are in place.

“The national law on housing succession means that Christopher’s uncle is not able to assume the tenancy of the property Christopher is currently living in. But we will do everything we can to ensure that Christopher and his uncle are able to continue living together.”

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