Terminally ill man among 10 tenants to receive eviction notices to quit their Broadstairs flats

Paul Mathews said he expected to die in his home of 15 years

A terminally ill man is among ten tenants at two properties in Broadstairs to have been served with eviction notices following the sale of the buildings to a new landlord.

Paul Mathews, 70, and his 19-year-old cat Alfie, have until March 15 to leave their Chandos Square home of 15 years so new owners Tomes Homes can renovate the buildings.

Former psychiatric nurse Paul, who suffers with conditions including emphysema, said the notice last month came “out of the blue.”

He said: “I was not expecting it. I have lived here for 15 years and am terminally ill. I was expecting to spend my last days here then all of a sudden I got the eviction notice.

“My neighbour also got a letter and he has been here 17 years. It was just a standard letter which the new landlord filled in  and saying if needed to seek advice as quickly as possible.”

In all 10 tenants at numbers 2 and 3 Chandos Square have been given notice to quit. Three further flats have already been vacated.

Paul added: “The young couple above me phoned Thanet council and they have been told not to vacate the flat as it would be making themselves homeless.”

Paul, who does not have any living relatives to help him, says he has found somewhere to go although it will be stressful for him and his elderly cat.

He added: “I spoke to the old landlord and he said he didn’t know this was planned. Originally we were told we were getting new kitchens and bathrooms and then I was told there were no plans for works on my flat and a couple of weeks later I got the eviction letter, there were just different messages from different people.

“It has left a nasty taste in my mouth and I just want to get out now but I was not expecting to ever have to live somewhere else.”

Green Party district councillor Mike Garner says he hopes Tomes Homes may reconsider their position so that resident who want to, can stay in their homes.

He said: “I was shocked to hear that 10 residents in Chandos Square, some who have lived there for a number of years, have been issued with eviction notices to leave their homes by their new landlords, Tomes Homes.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and look to get our communities and businesses back on track, these eviction notices couldn’t come at a worse time. We know that the rental market is becoming more difficult as we see a significant increase in the holiday let business and some of these residents are going to struggle to find new accommodation so quickly.

“I hope that Tomes Homes will reconsider their position and enable those residents who want to stay in their homes to do so.”

‘Transforming neglected accommodation’

Tomes Homes says it is “a family run, values driven business, putting our tenants’ happiness and satisfaction at the heart of everything we do.”

Founder and CEO Jackie Wigram-Tomes  said: “We are working hard to enact positive change in the areas that we operate and take considerable pride in transforming “neglected” accommodation into quality homes in which our tenants take delight in living.

“We are proud to have developed a very strong working relationship with Thanet District Council which recognises the positive change we bring to the area and where we also help provide accommodation to those in need on the housing waiting list in homes that are a far higher standard than anything else available to them.

“I think it would be fair to say individuals seldom like change. Transforming neglected accommodation into desirable places to live clearly involves considerable investment, in which change is inevitably involved.

“Having conversations with our tenants about our plans, the impact upon them, and the most pain free way forward for them is an important part of what we do. We always try to make contact to have these conversations, so we can work together on a plan and provide specific support relevant to their needs.

“However, not all of our tenants wish to engage in these dialogues with us, and despite our best efforts, we regretfully find that sometimes we cannot open a line of communication to be able to have these discussions.

‘Extra consideration and support’

“Regarding the terminally ill tenant at Chandos Square – in all of our conversations with the tenants who have been open to engaging with us, we are yet to have had this clearly very important piece of information shared with us. Of course, this situation requires extra consideration and support, and we are only too happy to give this, but unfortunately it is not possible for us to do so if the information has not been shared with us.

“Many tenants do indeed decide to return to the same accommodation once full refurbishments are complete and we are delighted when they do and I think it would also be helpful to state we have yet to come across any tenant wishing to revert to their previously neglected accommodation. In itself, a significant vote of confidence for what we do.”

Rental property shortage

Jackie said in general tenants are often offered little in the way of security of tenure and government intervention is need to change this, adding: “ We would love to grant longer tenancy agreements, but unfortunately at this time these are usually in breach of our mortgage terms and conditions.

“Areas such as Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate have become extremely desirable places in which to live. There is a complete shortage of rental accommodation available, and desirable places to rent across this area are almost non-existent.

“Many long-standing tenants are now benefitting from rent levels which are far removed from the current market and it will perhaps not be surprising to understand it is not financially possible for us to do all we do, and provide the good quality of service and accommodation, with market rents still standing from a decade ago or more sometimes.”

Tomes Homes says it is not involved in the holiday let market and current tenants will have first refusal on the refurbished flats and help to find temporary accommodation.

However, Jackie admitted “it’s not always financially possible for the tenant to meet the new market rents which we need to make this all possible.”

She also said the company may reflect on how Section 21 eviction notices are given, saying: “We tend to serve a section 21 as a formality as part of the process, whilst also opening the door to discussions at the same time.  We are always looking to improve so we will use this as an opportunity to reflect again on how we do things and I think we could probably leave the notice formality until after we’ve had an initial discussion with the tenants, assuming they do respond to our attempts to make contact.”

Get help

If you are at risk of homelessness find advice on Thanet council’s website here and here


  1. Ever since Thatcher introduced the “Right to Buy”, and successive governments have passed landlord orientated legislation, the plight of tenants has become worse and worse.
    Tomes Home’s words count for nothing. The flats are peoples homes, places where they’ve loved and lost; experienced hope and tragedy. Their lives are steeped in the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens of these places.
    It is utterly shameful that in England, in the 21st Century, people can be thrown out on to the street for no reason whatsoever.
    My parents lived in rented accommodation for over 20 years. Their landlord never found it necessary to evict them in order to in a new boiler in, or rewire the house.
    Rachman eat your heart out.

  2. TDC should ‘confiscate’ the building until the new owner has been able to re-home all its occupants satisfactorily.

      • Thats the problem E! I prepared a paper many years ago for the Labour party, suggesting that people on Housing Benefit should have their homes compulsory purchased, because we the Tax Payer, are helping to pay off someone’s Buy to Let mortgage! Housing Benefit at that time was costing the Tax Payer some £8billion a year, which could be better used buying up rented homes, and have them run by Housing Associations. They could be called Social Housing Associations!

        • Just remembered decades ago Housing Associations did used to buy up houses, and rent them out, so there is a precedent, in fact I knew two people who rented houses run by Housing Associations!

          • I would really like to know why housing associations sell off ex council property, often to out of the area buyers looking to huy to let, when a lot of the properties are still in rentable condition and could house people on the council list

          • Resident – the housing association use the momey raised along with central government grants as the deposits to borrow further funds on commercial terms which are used to buy the % of social housing mandated in many developments.
            So the sale of one home may end up becoming 4 homes. However the downside is that ex council properties that were sold for very little or even just transferred to housing associations could be let on low rents comparable to traditional council rents of old. But the newer homes have mortgages attached to them that need paying , hence many housing associations charging “affordable rents” which often equates to 80% of market rent.

        • Look into the amount of taxpayer money that goes to tenants of housing associations and compare it the amount going to private landlords, then add on the amounts of grants paid to social housing providers , take into account the taxes that private landlords pay that social housing doesn’t, ask TDC who pays the pensions of the staff in the housing department created when the stock returned to in-house management it won’t be funded by the tenants , it’ll be the council tax payer.

          You never see a fully researched breakdown of the overall cost of housing to the taxpayer , you can guarantee it’s been done by the likes of Shelter ( a misnomer if ever there was one they’ve never housed anyone) or the labour party. Just that the result is not the one that’s wanted. BTL represents good value to the taxpayer, one of lifes uncomfortable truths for many.

  3. As Tomes say , it’s all about ££££££££. New rental will be over priced. Locals can’t afford, couldn’t care about tenants it’s just money and profit

    • Almost a comical reply given that IOT news seems to have jumped into bed with the “bigtech brigade” and now bombs every page refresh with totally irrelevant pop ups.

      • LC you are right! These damned Pop Ups are getting on my nerves, who do they think looks at them? Kathy, can you stop this irritation, I would think most people like me click on the X.

  4. Does TDC approve of this developer throwing long established good tenants out as they seem to be saying they are on good terms with TDC.
    This kind of practise is on the rise. Coming in and chucking everyone out then doing some alterations and reletting at astronomical increases. The AirBnB trade hasn’t helped as more and more affordable rented properties are disappearing to be replaced with high rents and holiday lets. Where are people supposed to live. We need some new regulations put in place to stop all this profiteering at tenants expense. Tenants deserve to be able to live in peace at an affordable rent for longer than 6 month contracts.

    • I doubt TDC are very helpful!
      This is a prime example of why TDC should be building council house and not selling everything off to their developer mates.

      • TDC’s hands are tied.
        Funding from government has dried up. Local councils have very little money spare to buy sites and develop them.
        And where’s the incentive if once council houses have been built tenants exercise their “right to buy”?

  5. I so hope this gentleman and any other tenants who wish to stay put will be able to do so without a significant rent hike, but I fear that is not how it will be. This article illustrates what the housing crisis is all about and why building thousands of new boxes will not alleviate the main issues. There are plenty of places for people to live in but greed makes them unaffordable to so many. I don’t have a halo but I rent out a house at below market rates and I get by well enough. My tenants are damn well staying put for as long as they like unless they do something truly outrageous. It is their home, not mine, I just profit by it and am most fortunate to be able to do so. When there are people living on the streets accommodation property should not be treated like other assets. Shame on Tomes Homes.

      • There are lots of similar landlords out there, it just suits the anti landlord narrative to keep the negative stories in the news.
        I similarly have several tenants that have been with me well over 10 years, i try to keep the rents sensible . One has been with me 15 years the rents has gone up £100 a month in that time, it’s well below what even the council would pay for someone on benefits. Had the rent just tracked inflation it would be £180 a month higher than it now is.
        But over the years i’ve had to pay TDC under the selective licensing scam, there are new electrical test standards to abide by, i provide proper fire alarm systems which need servicing twice a year, the electricity for the common areas is classed as a commercial tariff and so much more expensive. Building maintenance is not cheap. All have had new boilers inmlast 4 years. When those long standing tenants lleave the flats will need a refurb , there won’t be much change out of 10k , which menas the return on those tenants is pretty low.
        I’d hazard a guess that its what has occured in the article, the landlord has kept rents low for too long , the building needs extensive work and there’ll no money in the old landlords pot, so they decide its time to sell up and retire.
        New landlord steps in , buys what will still be an expensive building and then spends considerable sums refurbishing it , there’s only one way this can be financed and its the tenants.
        There’s a proposal in parliament to legislate for improved EPC levels in the private rented sector, if this goes ahead at the proposed level of a C, there will be large numbers of landlords that sell up and many more who having done the necessary work have to increase the rents ( of course this will be offset by the savings on energy the tenants no longer use). When this policy is applied to the social sector it’ll be largely funded by the taxpayer.

  6. You have Thatcher the children’s milk and council house snatcher for this that women was evil.
    She sold off public owned businesses and property to buy the votes. Not content to sell them off she sold them off at far less than the market value and robbed councils of their assets and houses that cost a loss to the taxpayers of untold billions of pounds. Evil beyond measure.

    • And Gordon Brown and labour in general tinker with the welfare state to buy votes , both sides have opinions on how best to improve the naation and its people, the left believe in taxation and redistribution as the way forward , the right believe that people respond better to being able to keep more of what they earn and spend it more wisley.
      The electorate votes in the one that they feel offers them the best option at the time, both sides are just working with momey to buy votes just in different ways.

        • I don’t expect any tax payer objects to some of the tax going on social housing, its the percentage that matters and how its then allocated that causes differences of opinion.

  7. We can look back at the evil Thatcher did but the present lot are as bad. Depriving people of their homes for profit..let us not be fooled..the Chandos Square evictions are all about privateers lining their pockets. Landlords like Carina are rare..they have responsibility to their tenants and not just see them as cashcows. What a shameful and disgusting world when people can be shunted around at the whom of landlords and politicians.

  8. So why can’t Tomes refurbish the three vacant flats, move three existing tenant families into these three flats, refurbish the next three flats for these tenants to then move back into etc, etc? The reasons for eviction are not good enough!

    • Because they have a better understanding of what it takes to refurbish a building comprehensively and efficiently than you do. The whole building can be gutted in one go, trades can work in all flats as needed, no disruption to existing tenant’s from noise, dust, comings and goings through common areas, a building that once finished looks finished and nnot half done.

    • Yep just think if that were the case there’d be no drug dealers, theives, muggers, etc etc etc. And if we had such a situation there’d be little need for the vast proportion of our spending on the criminal justice system and we could spend it on housing instead. But that land of milk and honey is just a dream.

  9. Known Paul for 26 years+ & his wife before she died was at their wedding in fact
    They say some can move back in they choose yeah right @ double +++ the rent more like on the seafront that’s why they have bought them & how are they going to pay that?
    Broadstairs is now just a money grabbing pit full of holiday/2nd homes holiday lets & Londoners who think they are rich – These will be targeted at the commuting community with a direct link to St Pancras in 1h 20m – he will be moved out put away somewhere & forgotten about dying lonely and away from the faces he knows – Who cares? no one its all about money and if they can have a newer/bigger car than the Jones’s

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