Dunkeld residents Chris Claydon and her partner Scott Trotter have been served a Section 33 Notice to Quit from their landlords the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) for the residence they have lived in for the last 18 years.
The property in Dunkeld, was inspected by Strutt and Parker on the 15th of January 2020 and a further inspection was carried out by the NTS’ own building surveyor Tara Crooke and NTS Operations Manager Cara Stewart at the end of 2021. During this inspection Ms Claydon and her partner pointed out a few hairline cracks no more than one millimetre in width.
They were reassured by Mrs Crooke that the cracks were nothing to worry about and that they could be monitored with tape if the couple wanted. At the time there was no mention of concern over the cracks.
No monitoring took place and 4 months later, Michael Sedgwick from NTS, instructed their Regional Business Administrator Sharon Uytendhal to organise a visit to the property from an independent structural engineer.
On Saturday 30th March the independent Structural Engineer, whose name and company were not provided by the NTS, visited the property alongside Mrs Uytendhal. The engineer made a visual inspection of the property lasting around 20 to 25 minutes. He was unwilling to comment on his findings during the inspection.
Following the inspection, the couple were served with a Section 33 Notice to Quit with the notice citing the visual inspection carried out on the 30th of March as the reason behind it.
The couple have requested that the National Trust for Scotland share the Structural Engineer’s report which they have refused to do, and to find a compromise with NTS to either move into alternative accommodation provided by the NTS or temporary accommodation sourced by the couple, while any further investigation and work are carried out on the property.
Telling us in the interview, how the responses from NTS have made her feel, Ms Claydon said “I feel devastated”
Adding “I really love my home and I really love Dunkeld”.
“I really love the community here and I feel very firmly rooted here and I love the buildings and I love the history and I love the heritage behind them.”
Ms Claydon went on to share how the whole experience has been affecting her and her partner saying: “It’s horrendous, we’re not sleeping, we’re not able to work. We run our business from home, we’re not able to work because we’re doing everything that we can to make them change their minds. We’ve just not had a moment to do anything, just devastated, exhausted, emotional, upset, all of those things.”
Further adding: “We’re set to lose our home and our community and our business in one fell swoop.”
North Tayside MSP and Deputy First Minister John Swinney, speaking on the case of Ms Claydon and Mr Trotter said: “I am aware of my constituents’ situation, and, on their behalf, I have been in contact with the National Trust for Scotland.
“I have encouraged NTS to work to find a satisfactory resolution to this matter and it is my hope that they will engage substantively with my constituents.
“I will continue to be available to assist my constituents regarding this issue and will closely monitor any developments going forward.”
Representatives from the NTS were invited to attend the Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council Meeting on the 13th of June 2022. On the Agenda for this meeting the issues of Ms Claydon and her partner’s eviction, was raised with Mrs Claydon speaking at the meeting.
Upon seeing that the eviction was on the agenda the NTS representatives declined to attend. Speaking during the recent Community Council Meeting Chair Lachlan McEwan said: “I got in contact with the National Trust, Cara Stewart, and basically said that a lot of people wanted me as the chairman of the community council to do something about this and to write to the trustees of the National Trust, and she suggested that I have a meeting with Stuart Maxwell and herself.
Mr MacEwan went on to say: “Now subsequently, we have invited them to this meeting, and they were going to be coming to the meeting but when they saw that we had the National Trust for Scotland tenant evictions [on the agenda] they declined and said they could not comment on individual cases.
“The concern the community has at the moment, is yes, the plight that Chris and Scott have, but not only that, it is the concern of all the other residents that are in the area that have got the same lease or a similar lease.”
Heartland FM have approached the National Trust for Scotland for a comment about the eviction notice and the situation. A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “It is unfortunate that we have had to seek vacant possession of this property. However, there are essential structural works which have to be carried out to the property.
“At this time, we do not have any suitable alternative accommodation which we can offer to our tenants. We do hope that our tenants are able to secure accommodation soon and have extended their period of notice to allow them more time to find something suitable.”
Speaking in the interview with Heartland FM, Ms Claydon expressed that despite everything, if the option to remain or return to the property after any work that needed carrying out was complete saying: “absolutely, this is my life here, and I’d like nothing more than to be able to stay in my own home.”
The couple will continue to fight to try and avoid losing the home and community that they have called home for the last 30 years. Ms Claydon expressed her thanks to everyone in the community who have shared their sympathies and offered help saying: “everybody has been really kind.”