We were left homeless and forced to sofa surf after we came home to someone else living in our house | The Sun

A FAMILY has been made homeless after returning to their house from a three-year trip abroad – only to discover their tenants hadn't moved out.

Carna and Ganes Brooks, who have two children aged one and nine, say they're facing a "nightmare" and have been sleeping on friends' sofas for a month.

They returned to their property in Dartford, Kent from Dubai in July, only to find the house still occupied. The couple had contacted the tenants back in February to ask them to leave, Kent Live reports.

However, as private landlords, they're unlikely to be back under their own roof until November as they head to the courts to evict the occupants.

Carna, who is receiving treatment for cancer, said the family returned home in scorching temperatures on July 19 – having agreed that the tenants would be out on July 13.

But they were forced to call police after when they realised they couldn't get in.

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"We called the police for sensible advice on the matter as we stood hopeless looking at each other," she said.

"The police were friendly and compassionate but couldn’t offer much help, as by law we were trespassing if we attempted to enter our property.

"Thankfully a friend in the area offered to take us in at that moment to get us out of the sun and offered us a place to stay for a few nights."

She said the family had agreed to waive rent to help the tenants get a deposit for a new property together in the weeks before their return.

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However, their only option is now to "wait for a court date and eviction".

For a fortnight, the family slept on one sofa, with Ganes, 42, forced to rest sitting upright.

They had been living in Dubai since 2019, and offered their fully-furnished home to a woman they knew in advance.

"We felt it was the right thing to do to let them rent our home significantly below market value to help them financially and to take care of our belongings," Carna said.

"We had a signed tenancy contract in place.

"We are not receiving rent from the tenants as agreed, and therefore are unable to rent another property for ourselves as we are covering a mortgage of a home someone else is living in."

The Brooks can't get a court hearing for an eviction notice until October, and a tenant must be given a month's notice to leave after that time.

Carna has been unable to find work or get her daughter into school without a permanent address.

The tenant told KentLive: "This is hilarious. We have been paying rent for three years. We have been paying their mortgage for three years.

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"Yes, it is their home. It is also our home for the last three years. We are paying them. I don't need to give you my side of the story.

"This is none of your business please. Why would we be looking for somewhere else? I don't need to explain myself to your or anyone."

How the law works for private landlords

Renters were allocated new rights in the Queen's Speech.

Under previous laws, landlords could send their tenants packing with eight weeks' notice without any explanation.

But Boris Johnson vowed in 2019 to abolish the section 21 orders that leave vulnerable renters in the lurch.

Evictions were banned during lockdown but resumed again as Britain tore up pandemic rules.

The Renters Reform Bill also promises to halve the number of renters living in squalid homes by 2030.

Speaking at the time of the law change, minister Michael Gove said: "For too long, many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ eviction orders hanging over them."

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