Dad Of 11 With Crocodile And Snake Says He Can't Find A Home To Rent Because Of Tattoos
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Gareth Holliday has been unable to find a home for himself, his pet crocodile Missy and pet snake after trying more than 20 different estate agents.
Gareth, 44, has been looking for houses and flats for months and is pleading with the agents not to judge a book by its cover.
He said he has been trying his hardest to get a place before Christmas as his eight-year marriage ended earlier this year and he wants to have a place where he can see his children.
Mr Holliday, who has been couch surfing for months, said his appearance and his pets are preventing him from finding a place to rent, despite being a 'chilled out, easy-going guy'.
He owns a 4ft African dwarf caiman crocodile called Missy, who he has a licence for, as well as an 11ft snake, but he said both are 'self-contained' and should not be a deterrent to landlords.
Adur and Worthing Councils said 'physical appearance' was not in their criteria for applications for housing.
They have been in contact with Mr Holliday and previously put him up in the Wardley Hotel in Hove.
Mr Holliday, a recovering drug addict who has been clean for three years, said he left the hotel on the advice of his doctor as it was not suitable for him due to 'other people there causing him distress through their habits'.
He also said he was only provided with a microwave for cooking, which was not ideal for his type one diabetes.
The former crime scene cleaner, who is currently unemployed, said: “I love my tattoos, I wouldn’t have had it done if I didn’t.
"But I do feel I’m being discriminated because of them. They don’t know me. I have been through a lot of crap but since being with my new partner, Claire, for the last two months, it has changed my way of living, it’s just the housing that is driving me mad.
“I want somewhere I can call home, not have to worry about where I’m going to sleep next.
"I have a nice collection of friends where I’m lucky enough to be able to ask ‘can I sleep at yours tonight?’ but all I want is to be at mine.
“I have done the crazy wild stuff, all I want to do is chill and enjoy life now.”
Mr Holliday recently put in a homelessness application due to the breakdown of his marriage but the council rejected it as he was not under the threat of 'domestic violence or abuse'.
While Mr Holliday could stay at the marital home in Worthing legally, he says it is not an option for him and his pets are still at that house.
He said: “I would like something where my little ones would be able to stay for a weekend. I don’t want anything spectacular, even a one bedroom and I would sleep in the front room. Two bedrooms would be perfect really to be able to see my babies.
“I have done everything they have asked me to do, it’s never ending, it’s constant.
"I have tried 20, maybe 30 different estate agents and get told nothing is available, or if I go and view, I’m on a waiting list or they have to go speak to the landlord."
A spokeswoman for Adur and Worthing Councils said: “All applications for housing to the council are assessed against government criteria. Physical appearance is not one of these.
"We cannot comment on private sector housing offered outside of the councils' accommodation.
“Mr Holliday can contact the council at any time if he wishes to access the housing support we are able to offer and provide.”