A RESIDENT in a village near York says he was “shocked” to have received a notice to vacate the home he rents from the Ministry of Defence, adding that they “could not have picked a worse time.”

The Linton-on-Ouse resident, who does not want to be named, said he was initially given six months notice to move out of the property on Linton Place with his family, but the tenancy notice period has since been extended to 12 months to September next year.

He said numerous other tenants in the village have also received a notice to vacate.

“I was shocked when I received the email,” the resident said. “It’s not something we were expecting.”

He said he initially found out about the MoD’s decision through an email which explained that the house he lives in is leased by the MoD from Annington Homes and, after a review of the requirement to a number of properties in that area, a decision has been made that the MoD “does not need to continue with this lease and therefore the MoD is planning to terminate the lease by the end of March 2021.”

He has since had another email saying “in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances being faced by tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic, the MOD has agreed, exceptionally, to extend your tenancy notice period to 12 months, to end September 2021.”

The resident said: “Fortunately we are looking to buy, but we are going to have to bring our plans forward.

“They could not have picked a worse time. It’s unbelievable they chose to issue eviction notices during a pandemic.

“I could have understood it a year or so ago. Back then you could have viewed houses to buy.

“It’s really difficult to view a property these days with everything that is happening.”

A spokesperson for the MoD told The Press: “Civilian tenants who rent these homes sign-up to two months’ notice. However, in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances being faced by tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have extended the notice to vacate period to 12 months.

“This provides up to a year for the MoD to work with Annington Homes to whom the houses are being returned.

“We would like to enable homes to be transferred to Annington with sitting tenants but this would require their support. We are committed to working with them to try and achieve this objective.”

A spokesperson for Annington Homes added: "While Annington is the freeholder of the properties concerned, the decision to terminate these tenancies is the MoD’s alone, and we were not consulted on it beforehand. We are engaging with the MoD to understand their background to these notices being issued and to support the tenants affected."