Homeless family-of-four move into caravan outside council officers after being evicted from house

 A HOMELESS family-of-four have moved into a caravan outside their local council's offices after being evicted from their house.

Paul Lee, aged 41, bought a caravan and moved him and his three teenage children and a pet chihuahua into the carpark of East Devon District Council.

Paul and his family moved into a caravan outside the council's offices after they were evicted
Paul and his family moved into a caravan outside the council's offices after they were evicted

The 41-year-old labourer got a friend to help tow the mobile home into the carpark of Blackdown House in Honiton on Sunday and the family moved in the next day.

His other two children are living temporarily at his father’s house in Lyme Regis.

Paul said he was renting a house in Musbury near Axminster, before the landlord wanted to sell the house.

The landlord went to court and was successful, and the family were given their first eviction notice last year.

He said: “Due to Covid-19 they government prevented us being evicted, but then, as of Monday, July 19, we finally had to leave, and that’s when we moved to East Devon’s carpark.”

Paul, who single-handedly looks after his five children after separating from his ex-wife, turned to the council for help when he knew he was going to be left homeless.

He added: “I pleaded with East Devon Council for help, but they told me I had intentionally been made homeless.

"Even though the landlord wanted us out to sell his seven-bedroom farmhouse, East Devon say I owed rent, even though I was paying cash each month.

“So, the landlord has told East Devon I wasn’t paying my rent, therefore, they won’t help me.”


Due to their anger, Paul and children, Alfie, 16, Archie, 15, Thomas, 13, Tilly, 12, Oscar, 11, came up with a plan to show councillors and staff how upset they were with the situation.

Paul said: “On the Sunday before we were evicted, I got a friend from Taunton to tow the caravan down to Honiton.

“The kids have gone through enough, so we got out of the house before the bailiff’s could come and force us to leave.”

Paul’s new home in the carpark consists of one toilet, one shower, a sink, and one bed.

It does not have running water or electricity and they have to use torches for lighting.

Speaking about his new living situation, he said: “Since Monday, life has been hideous.

"The heat has been amplified, it’s like living in a greenhouse despite all the window being open.”

Tilly, a pupil at Woodroffe Secondary School, who has ambitions to one day be a teacher, added: “It’s very hot, it’s hard to live in here with my brothers.

“You have to walk to find water and electricity, and I have to use our car to charge up my phone.

“My headteacher found out and asked about food vouchers and such and was worried about our accommodation.”

Paul added: “It’s not fair to my kids the way East Devon District Council are treating us.

“Since we have been in the carpark living, they haven’t let us use their toilets, electric, and only two members of staff came out to see us.

“They weren’t very nice, and said if I don’t move this caravan by Thursday morning they will forcibly remove us.

“I just want a home for my kids, it’s not rocket science, we’ve been told homes are available for us, we just want a roof over our head.”


Paul has made a sign on the side of his caravan which states: “East Devon Council will not help rehouse a man with five kids. My name is Paul John Lee (Baz). [His number] So, this is where we are going to be living.”

All Paul now hopes for is to be given a house.

He added: “I’ve been trying the best for my kids, I work 16 hours a week, I’d love to be able to work more hours, but it’s a challenging time for everyone and circumstances are not on our side.”

Alfie added: “You can’t even go to the toilet here, you can’t have a shower.

“I go to work at a garage, and I’ve been washing cars as a side business. When I get back from work, changing an engine, and I can’t have a shower until I go to my nan’s in Lyme Regis.

Paul added: “I’m aware that every single council has got to keep ten properties available for emergency situations for people, and this is definitely what I would consider an emergency.

“I intend to stay put, despite East Devon’s threats of moving us on, until we get help.”

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