Dying man’s eviction is cancelled after CNJ steps in
Court had approved eviction of 76-year-old receiving round-the-clock palliative care
01 November, 2018 — By Tom Foot
A DYING man due to be evicted this week by a private landlord has been allowed to stay – after an intervention by the New Journal.
Peter Klinger, 76, who is being cared for in his home round-the-clock by an NHS palliative team, had planned to live in his car until he died after a court approved an eviction order on Monday. Mr Klinger maintained his housing benefit was not enough to meet a rent rise for the three-bedroom house he shared with his wife until her death in April.
His solicitor said on Monday she expected bailiffs backed by police to execute the warrant at the property in Brocas Close, Belsize Park, this week. But yesterday (Wednesday) the landlord offered not to evict him and to let him stay on at the same rent for another year.
Mr Klinger, who speaks with a deep wheeze and is too weak to stand unaided, said: “This is really all down to the Camden New Journal. I am so grateful.”
On Monday, he had said: “If the bailiffs come I will go out to the car, I really will. If I die there, so be it, I die there. I just want to be left in peace. It was meant to be that I would die before my wife. That’s what I was told would happen. I have been so weak I can’t get up. I don’t know how long I have left, but I haven’t been out since May last year, except for my wife’s funeral [in April].” Mr Klinger said there was no way he could organise moving his family heirlooms and furniture from a three-bedroom family house into a one-bedroom flat, the best he could be offered by the council if he became homeless.
Central London County Court agreed to the eviction order on the basis that alternative council accommodation was available to him, his lawyer said.
She added that the health of a resident did not matter when it came to the eviction courts. “Unfortunately, the way it works is that they look at whether he has another place to live,” she said. “In this case, the answer is yes. In the eyes of the law, the landlord has done nothing wrong. The court cannot make a decision on sympathy.”
Mr Klinger had been advised that his best chance was to go to the New Journal. Deputy council leader Pat Callaghan described the case as a “very worrying situation” yesterday. The landlord has not responded to several requests for comment this week.
Mr Klinger has Fabry disease, a rare heart condition that significantly shortens life in most patients, with men with the condition dying on average at the age of 58. He requires fortnightly enzyme infusions, carried out in his house by the NHS. He has a “fridge downstairs full of medicine”, he says. Mr Klinger, who grew up in Manchester, was sent to boarding school, where he said he learned fundamental principles and discipline.
His father, a Jewish refugee from Vienna, went into the textile industry and ended up running a successful factory and owning silk mills. He married Barbara, a furrier, in 1976 at the Dorchester. A framed photo of the day still sits on his front-room table. She died in April this year from ovarian cancer, aged 74. C
llr Callaghan said: “The NHS is responsible for Mr Klinger’s care, but the council has been trying to assist Mr Klinger for some time regarding his housing situation. Mr Klinger wished to remain in his home, rather than accept alternate housing options, but with him now facing eviction by his private landlord we are continuing to offer Mr Klinger alternative housing.”