Residents at MoD estate given extension after ‘mass eviction’

Some residents at a military estate in Plympton have been granted a six-month extension on top of the six-month notice they were handed to vacate their homes.

Earlier this month, residents at the Hillcrest Close estate in Chaddlewood revealed their worries and frustrations after being told they had just six months left in their properties.

One resident called it a ‘mass eviction’ estimating that around 80 people who are living on the street have received an eviction notice.

Company Annington Homes is the freeholder of the properties, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a leasehold on the homes and letting agent Orchard & Shipman collect the rent on behalf of the MOD.

The MoD has a responsibility to house military families as part of their terms and conditions of employment and is not a civilian residential landlord.

They elect to rent properties to civilians on a short term basis rather than keeping properties vacant, particularly if there are uncertainties over future demand levels.

But residents were horrified to receive an email which states a decision has been made by the MOD to discontinue and is planning to terminate their lease by the end of March 2021.

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After PlymouthLive contacted the MoD, a spokesperson revealed that “in cases of hardship” or where “extra time is required” some residents would have their tenancy extended by another six months.

This means that some residents will be able to remain in their homes until September 2021.

One affected family feel that the extension is a “step in the right direction” but feel the decision should have been made sooner.

The resident said: “We have been informed by the MoD that we can apply through Orchard and Shipman for a further six month extension until September 2021.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s a shame it has took media and political pressure to get to this point.”

Another resident revealed some tenants have already had their extension granted, whilst others have been refused.

She said: “Some have had automatic extensions without having to provide hardship details and others have been turned down with no explanation.

“We have also contacted Annington to confirm if the extension is per their understanding as it must mean that the MoD are extending the lease, even temporarily, and to establish ourselves if they will look to rent to us long term.”

An MoD spokesperson said: “We are aware of the issues facing tenants and where, in cases of hardship, extra time is required, we are willing to extend tenancies by up to a further six months through to September 2021 on a case by case basis.

“Tenants who have been served notice are being informed.”

The original email, sent by Orchard & Shipman, was sent to a number of residents.

It read: “As you may be aware the property that you occupy is leased by the MOD from Annington Homes Ltd.

“A review of the requirement to a number of properties in your area has been undertaken and consequently a decision has been made that the MoD does not need to continue with this lease and therefore the MoD is planning to terminate the lease by the end of March 2021.

“The reason for writing to you today is to inform you that your property is one that has been selected for release back to Annington.

“This means that you will be receiving a formal Notice to Quit from the landlord via post of the next few days.

“They will be serving 6 months notices in line with current legislation, so they will expire in March 2021.

“We have only just been made aware ourselves, and completely understand that this news will come as a shock to you.

“Please do send any questions that you may have and I will respond as soon as I can.”

You can read more here.

Plymouth Live