Grieving man on the verge of losing his home after father and brother died just months apart

Darren Evans, 51, from Caerau, Cardiff, said he became suicidal after local council told him he was being moved to a smaller property, taking away his support network

Cardiff's Darren Evans faces eviction from his childhood home
Darren Evans faces eviction from his childhood home in Cardiff

A vulnerable man grieving the sudden death of his father and brother finds himself on the brink of losing his home.

Darren Evans shared the parish house in Caerau, Cardiff, with his two deceased family members, both named David.

Shortly after her death, the city council informed him that the three-bedroom semi-detached house in Heol-Yr-Odyn was too big for him alone.

The 51-year-old, who has severe learning disabilities and cannot read or write, lost his 53-year-old brother to sepsis last July before his father died in November aged 77, he reports Wales Online.

David senior had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and according to granddaughter Amy Lesauteur “it was like he gave up” and didn’t want to take oxygen anymore after his son died.

Darren has serious learning difficulties and will lose his support network if he moves


Mark Lewis/Media Wales)

Crippled by anxiety and depression, Darren fears his sanity will collapse completely.

Relatives take turns staying with him to ensure he gets the support he needs.

But Amy, 29, said that will no longer be possible if he is moved to a one-bedroom property as the council is proposing.

She said his neighbors also help with the cooking and have become like family over the years, adding, “He needs that kind of support.”

Darren has lived in the house all his life


Mark Lewis/Media Wales)

Darren said: “I feel suicidal and depressed all the time. I won’t be able to continue if I have to move.”

His parents moved into the house 55 years ago and registered the tenancy in his mother Barbara’s name.

Shortly before her death in 1994, the tenancy was taken over by the older David.

The rules only allow one succession per tenancy and although the Welsh Government passed legislation in 2016 potentially allowing two, the change will not come into effect until December.

Darren’s father David senior died in November


Mark Lewis/Media Wales)

Cardiff Council said even if the law were already in place it could still seek eviction if a house was too big for a tenant’s needs.

Amy said her uncle Darren received a letter from the council in January notifying him of the decision.

She added that the housing manager then came to the property and told him, “You don’t keep the house, it’s as simple as that.”

Amy said Darren was offered a one-bedroom flat in “one of the worst properties in Ely”, which she claims has a “big drug problem”.

Darren’s brother David died suddenly of sepsis


Mark Lewis/Media Wales)

She claims he was told to come for a viewing or he wouldn’t be offered anything else, which he did, but “nobody showed up” after waiting an hour and a half.

“We have not heard from the housing authority since, there has been no explanation,” Amy added.

“We haven’t been given a date on when he has to go, no guidance on how to do it.”

The councilor told local news outlets that the property was not ready and there must have been a misunderstanding as a viewing would not have been offered.

Amy has set up a petition against the eviction and has received 158 signatures so far.

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A council spokesman said: “Tenancy succession law is clear and currently only allows for succession, which has already occurred in this case.

“There is a very high demand for family sized accommodation across the city and as Mr Evans requires a one bedroom property the three bedroom house he currently resides in is too large for his needs.

“An offer has been made for a one bedroom property in Ely, an area close to Mr Evans’ support network, but as the property is currently undergoing refurbishment it will not be available for viewing until August.

“We will consider any further evidence Mr Evans wishes to present that would support the need for larger shelters.

“The rules on succession will change under the Renting Homes Act, which is due to be implemented in December, and Mr Evans would have inheritance rights.

“However, due to significant demand for larger family homes, the changes would still allow the council to work with tenants living in properties that are too large for their needs to move into suitable, smaller accommodation.

“This applies to cases from December 2022.”

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