£250k inheritance spent, couple could be homeless

A FAMILY with a range of learning difficulties and mental health problems could be made homeless at the end of this month following an inheritance pay-out which has left them ineligible for social housing.

The Caradeuc family at their St Martin’s home. Keith, Tania Kathryn and Amber, 7.                               (Picture by Adrian Miller, 22203890)
The Caradeuc family at their St Martin’s home. Keith, Tania Kathryn and Amber, 7. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 22203890)

The Caradeuc family were living in social housing at St Jacques, St Peter Port, when Keith Caradeuc, 53, inherited a considerable sum of money and a property from his father who died in 2015.

When his father’s house at L’Islet was sold in June 2017, Mr Caradeuc and his brother shared approximately £420,000 from the sale.

Part of the money was used to pay for a year’s rent on a cottage in St Martin’s for the Caradeucs and their two young children.

In March, Tania Caradeuc, 42, said the pair were shocked to realise that they had spent the remainder of around £250,000, including the original inheritance money and the property sale, in nine months.

The couple bought three new cars – one of which has since been sold – as well as several motorbikes.

Mrs Caradeuc also underwent a number of weight loss surgery operations.

After applying for social housing, which involved providing bank statements and doctor’s notes, the family found out last week they had been rejected from the States social housing process.

Out of frustration with the outcome, Mrs Caradeuc contacted the Guernsey Press to make her predicament known.

‘I’m just very upset about it, with us being a local family. In hindsight the money should have lasted longer.

‘I was excited when I found out about the money because I came from a not very well-off family and I’ve never seen money like that in my life, it was very overwhelming for both of us.

‘But it’s ruined everything, in a way it was the worst thing that could have happened.

‘We felt like we had to move from St Jacques when we got the money, and the new house was close to where my daughter goes to school.

‘But we had a nice house in St Jacques, we had friends and we were happy.

'At first we were excited to move but we didn’t expect it to run out so quickly,’ she said.

Following the discovery of a non-cancerous cyst on his brain in 2008, Mr Caradeuc had to leave his job of 18 years as a delivery driver for Randalls and later the Co-Op Homemaker.

Mrs Caradeuc said she found work difficult with two children with learning difficulties although recently left a job at Sports Direct.

One daughter and herself have been diagnosed with a rare chromosome deficiency condition, micro deletion syndrome, and another daughter has health issues. The family receive disability and carers allowance as a result.

Her surgery mostly took place in 2015 and included a gastric sleeve, ‘tummy tuck’ and loose skin removal. She also had further surgery on her arms in late 2017. All took place in Southampton at a total cost of around £29,000.

‘It was Keith’s idea,’ she said. ‘I lost 10 stone, it was for medical reasons, my doctor said I have added years to my life, I wanted to make sure I was around for my children.

‘Some people have acted negatively about that, they have said it was the easy way out, but it hasn’t been easy,’ she added.

The couple said since the death of Mr Caradeuc’s parents they have had little contact with their respective families and say nobody has given them any advice about how best to manage their finances.

In March this year, nine months after the sale of the house, Mr Caradeuc discovered his bank account was empty.

‘I said “what do you mean all the money’s gone, it can’t be?”,’ said Mrs Caradeuc.

The agency which manages the families rental property on behalf of a landlord, Guernsey Rentals, assisted the family in applying for social housing in June.

The letter sent to Mrs Caradeuc from the States last week outlines the reasons being the ‘depletion of capital’ noted on bank statements.

It was also considered by the States that ‘there are no new medical conditions of any members of your household on your application ...which would warrant making an exception onto the waiting list’.

‘Keith is still in recovery, he gets very emotional and has problems with his memory, he can’t find a job as a delivery driver anywhere because of his brain surgery.

‘I have been in bits, I worry about what we are going to do every day,’ said Mrs Caradeuc.

A spokesman from Employment & Social Security said it treated everyone who applied for social housing fairly.

‘We are unable to discuss individual cases through the media. However, in general terms when social housing tenants come into substantial sums of money, typically through an inheritance, they are required to vacate their States house.

‘We communicate clearly with tenants who leave in such circumstances and inform them of the length of time that they are expected to accommodate themselves away from social housing. It is important that the system treats everyone fairly, given the demand for social housing.

‘People unable to support themselves, in terms of day-to-day living and rent, are encouraged to apply for income support.’

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