A STOURBRIDGE man has been left devastated after losing a court bid to stay in the council home he’s lived in for nearly 50 years.

Steve White has lived in the three-bed semi in Bredon Avenue for 48 years but shortly after the death of his 81-year-old mum to Covid-19 in October 2020 his was told by Dudley Council that he must vacate the property.

His mum, Janet, had been the tenant and there no was no right of succession of the tenancy permitted despite the sad circumstances in which Mr White found himself.

The 53-year-old lift engineer vowed to fight tooth and nail to stay in his home which holds a lifetime of memories, as well as a safe place to park the van he needs for work.

Stourbridge News: Steve White. Pic - SWNSSteve White. Pic - SWNS

He told the News he was hoping to put his case forward as he was hauled before Dudley Magistrates’ Court this afternoon (Friday August 5) for an eviction hearing brought by the council.

But after just a few brief minutes of highlighting how depressed the threats to turf him out of his childhood home following his mum’s sad death had left him - he was hit with a court order to vacate the property.

Judge Phil Mantle granted a possession order following an application by Dudley Council’s in house solicitor Joanne Child who said Mr White had been an “unlawful occupier” of the house since October 2020 as there was no legal right of succession of the tenancy.

She said: “As a single man living in a three-bedroom family house – unfortunately he’s not eligible for the tenancy of the property. This is the type of property required for families in need.”

She said Mr White had “exhausted” the council’s appeals process and that the authority had made 12 offers of alternative accommodation “very close to the property where he’s living that are considered suitable for his needs”.

She said Mr White had failed to “co-operate with Dudley Council” and had refused to view properties offered.

The judge said he didn’t want to give Mr White false hope by granting his plea for an adjournment to seek legal counsel as he felt there was no viable challenge to the current law.

He said: “The law is fairly clear – there can only be one right of succession.” And the court was told this had already previously been granted to Mr White’s mother following the death of his father.

Chocking back his emotions after the case, Mr White said he didn’t know what he was going to do.

Stourbridge News: Steve White pictured outside court this afternoon (Friday August 6)Steve White pictured outside court this afternoon (Friday August 6)

He said: “It’s destroyed me. I can’t cope with it. I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Councillor Richard Body, who was denied a request to speak on behalf of Mr White during the 15-minute hearing, said afterwards he felt the treatment of Mr White had been “biased” and that he had not been treated fairly.

He claimed Mr White never had the opportunity to appeal the decision with any representation through the council’s appeals process. He said: “Because of the circumstances he found himself in he’s been stuffed. David has been slayed by Goliath because of their rules.”

Mr White, who lives alone with his cat, now has 28 days to leave his home and find alternative accommodation.

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, Dudley Council's cabinet member for housing and communities, said afterwards: “We know this is a difficult and unsettling time for Mr White and we remain 100 percent committed to supporting him through this process and offering as much help as we can.  

“We will be contacting Mr White shortly to discuss an offer of alternative accommodation following today’s court hearing.”