A YOUNG mum fears her family could be made homeless when she is evicted in three months because she cannot afford the high cost of obtaining a new home and is not eligible for council help until she is just four weeks away from being kicked out.

Sandra Kane, from Royal Wootton Bassett, sought help after being told she and her husband David along with their toddlers Phoebe, one and Alfie, one, would have to leave the house in Shakespeare Road by May 31.

But she was upset to discover that the family cannot even be considered for the housing list until the eviction is imminent.

She told the Swindon Advertiser her landlords had given notice they were putting the house on the market. “It has always been looked after, we’re not in arrears and there is no ill feeling. They want to sell their house. I completely understand that and it is their right to do it," she said.

However when she went looking for a similar property for around the same rent she was stunned to be told she would have to stump up £1,900 in fees and deposit on top of the first £600 monthly rent.

Sandra, 27, who has been treated for anxiety and panic attacks since the birth of her daughter, wants to stay in the Swindon area because she relies on her family network for support while David works long hours as a Wifi engineer.

She went to the Wiltshire Council housing options team in Chippenham where she was advised she should apply to go on the housing list.

But last week her husband was told they would not be eligible to register because they were currently adequately housed and they would only be eligible for help four weeks before the eviction day.

It meant that even if they were accepted on the register they could end up with just a couple of weeks to try to find a home.

“We were going to save for a deposit, but we can’t save enough in such a short period of time,” she said. “We are still looking and the council has said we might be eligible for their help to rent scheme, which would help us with the deposit, but not until we are within four weeks of eviction.”

“I can’t even look for a private rented house and hope the council helps me pay my deposit and fees until I’m within those four weeks,” she said. “There are two-bed houses for rent in the area, but I can’t do anything about it.”

She fears the family could be split up she and the children could end up in a bed and breakfast or a hostel. None of their family in Swindon were able to house them temporarily because of their own tenancy agreements.

“I’m not asking to queue jump. I just want a fair chance to find a house.”

Her panic attacks, which were under control, have returned. “I don’t sleep at night because I’m constantly worrying about where my children are going to live,” she said.

The episodes leave her breathless, sweaty and feeling as though she is having a heart attack and she has recently been prescribed diazepam to help her cope.

A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council was sympathetic, but explained: “Rents and other costs such as deposits have increased rapidly in the private sector recently, driven by the national shortage of housing. We can give advice to anyone up to eight weeks before they must leave their private rented property, but the Housing Act 1996 and Homelessness Act 2002 state that a household cannot be accepted as homeless unless they are threatened with homelessness within 28 days.

“We have to work within this legislation. We fully understand the pressure that families face in this situation and we do our very best not to put people who are homeless into B&Bs or guesthouses, but we are facing the same shortages of suitable properties as everyone else. The number of private landlords across the country who want to work with councils is not increasing.”

Wiltshire Council was unavailable for comment.