A DISTRAUGHT woman could be forced out of her house of nearly 30 years before Christmas after council chiefs told her to leave.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she is being forced out of her her two-bedroom council house in the Leeman Road area of York after splitting with her partner.

The 51-year-old claims that City of York Council will no longer let her stay in the property - which she first moved into in 1989 - as her split has ended their joint tenancy.

The council's decision has been branded "appalling" and "shocking" by York Central MP Rachael Maskell, who has taken up the woman's fight.

But City of York Council said the woman has been offered a "suitable" alternative, and larger properties are needed for families.

Since being told the news last month, the woman says she has suffered stress and depression, and has lost two stone in weight.

She said she has received a visit from two people from the council to check her wellbeing but has not received any help from the authority to deal with her issues.

The woman, who is self-employed and sews for a living, said: “The council never made us aware that if we split up and one of us moved out, the other would not be able to keep the house.

“I don’t want to start all over again.

“I’m going to lose everything I’ve put into that house. I’ve spent a lot of money on the property over the years.”

She added: “I can’t function properly. I work from home as well. I’m losing money because I can’t focus on my work and do day-to-day tasks.

“It’s caused me to be depressed.

“I’ve been sick and I’m not sleeping at night.”

The woman's ex-partner moved out of the house after being offered a property in Tadcaster. The woman claims she was told to leave the house within a few days - with an original deadline of November 11 put back to December 9.

She said she was given three possible council-owned properties to move into, but has since been told there is only one option.

If she refuses to take it, the woman, who has a 27-year-old daughter who no longer lives with her, said she faces being evicted and possibly left homeless.

Ms Maskell slammed the council's handling of the situation.

The MP said: “The way the council have treated her is appalling. It is quite shocking.

“York as a human rights city is undermining this woman’s human rights by evicting her from her home but also they have no framework of addressing someone’s well-being as a result of their policy.

“I believe the council are not fulfilling their responsibilities and what they’ve said is ‘well this is the policy’. They could vary that policy.”

Ms Maskell has been in touch with members of the council, including chief executive Mary Weastell, about the woman’s situation, and has also contacted a government minister for housing.

Denis Southall, head of housing at City of York Council, said it wasn't appropriate to comment on individual cases, however either individual in a joint tenancy can end the tenancy.

He said that although legally the council doesn’t have to grant a new tenancy to the remaining person, it was the policy to do so and offer a home of the "appropriate size for the individual".

“While we appreciate that moving in these circumstances can be difficult for the ‘remaining’ tenant, the policy ensures that they have a suitable home," he said.

"It also makes best use of our much-needed larger council homes for families who are currently overcrowded or who have been accepted as homeless and are waiting for permanent accommodation. We currently have 1,500 families and individuals on our housing register, with very few vacancies at any one time.

“As the notice period on a joint tenancy is only four weeks we have to work quickly with people to get them another home in this situation.

“In cases where health professionals or our tenants advise us that they have mental health problems we offer advice, support and help with accessing services so that they can get the help they need. The individual can choose to engage with the help and support offered or not.”