‘I got kicked out of my Bristol home - but I’m back outside living in a tent’

‘Luckily enough I’ve got brilliant neighbours’

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A forklift operator from Stockwood in Bristol has set up camp outside the three-bedroom home he got evicted from. Gary Lambert, 63, was forced to leave his home of 45 years in a ‘no fault eviction’.

He says he was offered emergency accommodation in Brislington - but has decided to set live in a one-man tent outside his old home, where he has been for nearly three weeks.

He cooks his meals on a gas stove and gets cups of tea taken to him by neighbours.

Gary said: “We bought the home using right-to-buy and then my father sold it to the landlord who promised us we could stay for the rest of your life if you pay rent, don’t worry about it. We didn’t sign a contract, just a verbal agreement and obviously that isn’t strong enough in the law.

“It has been terrible.”

The “no-fault eviction” was carried out on June 7. He declined to move to a hostel provided by the council as he claimed it was a “terrible” drug and violence-ridden shelter which sent him to the brink of depression and a nervous breakdown. And he said that despite the challenges of living in a tent - he was pleased to be back among old neighbours and friends.

He added: “I’m not able to sleep well in the tent, I keep waking up. The air mattress I’ve got keeps going down in the night as well. But luckily enough I’ve got brilliant neighbours. They bring me cups of tea, toast and if I need a bit of washing done they’ll do it for me.

“They come out to chat to me and bring me meals, good proper meals like cottage pie and pork chops with mashed potato and carrots. My brother lives next door and he brings out tea and sandwiches, and one of my neighbours gave me a tent to store things in as well.

Gary Lambert, who is camping outside of his former home after being evicted in Stockwood, Gary Lambert, who is camping outside of his former home after being evicted in Stockwood,
Gary Lambert, who is camping outside of his former home after being evicted in Stockwood,

“I’ve got a portable gas stove and I cook bacon on there and things like that. I am going to stay here as long as I can.”

Gary has applied for several flats via HomeChoice, the council’s rehousing app, but says he has not heard anything about them or had anyone from the council come and talk to him since he left the shelter. He is unable to work because of his health conditions and a letter written by his GP says he needs to be re-housed soon to stop his health issues getting worse.

Gary said: “I don’t think I could hack it in winter because of my health problems but I don’t want to move out of Stockwood. It’s my home. I haven’t seen the landlord since I was evicted.

“No one from the council has come to see me here. If they did I’d tell them I’ve worked all my life and always paid my taxes. The one time I need their help they won’t help me. I would like a one-bedroom flat. It would suit me down to the ground.”

Bristol City Council was approached for comment.