Hundreds have signed a petition in support of an artist who first heard she was being evicted from her home during a supermarket chat.
Kim Tillyer has rented her two two-bedroom North York Moors cottage, near Osmotherley, from the Snilesworth Estate for 14 years.
But the mother-of-two only learned of the eviction when she bumped into an acquaintance in the supermarket who mentioned she had heard she was moving.
She contacted the land agent, who manages the cottage on behalf of the Snilesworth Estate trustees, who confirmed she was indeed being evicted and was being served notice to quit.
More than 700 people have already signed an online petition urging the estate to think again.
Ms Tillyer, who has always paid her rent promptly and has spent years creating a beautiful garden, said:
“I was really on the point of collapse when I found out.
“It’s just so upsetting. I was on good terms with the trustees of the house. I went up to the lodge with a jar of jam and literally begged; ‘please don’t make me homeless’.”
The artist moved into the cottage in 2000 with her son and daughter, now aged 19 and 22.
She writes a popular blog detailing life on the moors, ‘Witchmountain’, which has many world-wide followers.
“I’ve made virtual friends from all over the world with my blog. Every plant in the garden has a sentimental story behind it. There’s two chestnut trees I planted with my children when we moved up here. It’s just home.”
Property agents Carter Jonas, who manage the tenancy for the Snilesworth Estate, said neither they or the trustees wished to comment.
The eviction comes just over a year since a number of tenants on the former estate of Sir Lawrie Barratt in Farndale, also on the North York Moors, found they were being evicted by the two sons of the late Barratt Homes magnate. Peter and David Barratt sold their cottages to pay the inheritance tax on their late father’s £48million estate.
Housing charity Shelter says it reflected a national problem with lack of security for many tenants in rented homes.
A top builder has changed the way it pays sub-contracted bricklayers and joiners after complaints from workers.
Workers will no longer have to wait six months to get paid under an unpopular retention scheme plagued by delays and mistakes.
The scheme will be phased out by Christmas for those waiting for their money and will not apply to new starters.
The move from Barratt Homes comes after the latest two complaints about the company not coughing up wages to casual construction workers.
Paul Greener and Phil Crook had not been paid £400 each.
Barratt’s had previously put their hands in their pockets over another three cases after admitting mistakes.
In the latest case Paul, of Donwell Village, Washington, told how he was no longer accepting work for the builder because of problems getting paid.
“Barratt Homes still owe me and a fellow bricklayer for work we did months ago.
“They owe us wages and retention for buildings which must now be complete.
“We don’t work for them any more. We learned the hard way.”
A spokesman for Barratt Homes said:
“As in the previous cases brought to our attention, we have apologised for the delay in settling the claims and will pay them in full.
“There have been problems with retention payments – sums which are withheld for six months in case work carried out is subsequently found to be substandard.
“We have now ended this system for all bricklayers and joiners currently working for us and it will not apply to new starters.
“Outstanding retention payments will be made on, or before, their due dates and all amounts will be paid before Christmas.
“We very much regret that these problems have occurred. We have good relationships with our sub-contract labour, some of whom have worked with us for more than 30 years.”
Brickie Ian Wardlaw, of Stakeford, Northumberland, was missing £624 from his pay packet.
He said he felt he was getting the runaround after repeatedly asking for his money only to hit his head against a brick wall.
Barratt Homes said:
“We are very sorry for the delay in settling this claim for payment, which should not have happened.
“This has been due to a lapse in our internal communications and we sincerely apologise to Mr Wardlaw for not dealing with this more promptly or keeping him informed.”
Next it was the turn of Martin Carver, of Durham, and Sean Casey, of Sunderland, to complain about missing wages.
Again Barratt Homes held their hands up, apologised, and paid up.
“We sincerely apologise for the delay in settling these claims, which are not disputed.
“We have apologised to Mr Carver and Mr Casey and arranged to pay them in full immediately.”
Source – Sunday Sun, 21 Sept 2014