Property firm sues dead woman over student flat

A student property company has outraged the family of a woman who died of leukaemia by pursuing a rent claim over a flat her daughter never occupied.

"Susan Ellis (deceased)" was the name on a writ for over £2,000 from Leeds firm Parklane. Mrs Ellis, from Whitefield in Manchester, died in January.

She was the guarantor on the flat for her daughter Victoria, who never moved in, having dropped out before her final year at Leeds Metropolitan University to become her mother's carer.

Widower Philip Ellis said the wording was "reprehensible and heartbreaking. We informed them of our situation, took documentary proof of my wife's illness and told them we wanted to cancel the contract. They would not budge. I offered to pay them £750."

The family have already conceded their deposit and first term rent amounting to £2,250, despite returning keys before the academic year began.

They say they were assured by Parklane that a replacement tenant would be sought but claim the property was not properly advertised.

In a statement, Parklane said it had been "in regular contact with the family in an attempt to resolve this matter amicably".

    Last updated: 3:25pm, April 15 2010