THE city’s only all-female social housing block has been sold to Oxford University.

The university had said it now plans to turn Farndon Court on Woodstock Road into student accommodation, adding that the rooms will ‘ease the burden on Oxford’s rental market’.

However current residents of the block say they feel ‘powerless about the situation'. They will be left homeless just days before Christmas after housing association Catalyst handed them their two months’ notice in October.

Worranan Thompson, who has lived at Farndon Court since 2009, said: “I haven’t found anywhere to live yet.

“What can we do?... money talks!

“We are powerless.”

The 97-room block was taken on by Catalyst from the YWCA in 2001 with a condition that it would remain as women-only accommodation for 10 years.

However, it has now been sold without any such condition.

In late September, Catalyst explained in a letter to the 69 residents that the decision had been made to sell the building to a company that could ‘afford to make it modern’ and that the women would need to leave and find somewhere else to live.

A spokesperson for Oxford University said: “We have decided to buy Farndon Court in order to provide accommodation for 100 postgraduate students, which in turn will ease the burden on Oxford’s rental market.

“The university continues to explore what more we can do to use our property portfolio for the benefit of the community.”

They said that they could not reveal any more details.

As it is, rent at the flats cost around £120 a week including bills.

Oxford City Council board member for housing Mike Rowley said: “We’re pressing Catalyst on individual plans and support for rehousing all the tenants.

“Many of the current residents are postgraduate students in any case, and the bedsits are let at approximately market rent, not social rent. The block was under-occupied with 27 empty rooms even before the decision to sell.

“However, there is a severe shortage of affordable, good-quality accommodation in Oxford, few tenants have lived at Farndon Court for many years and were planning to stay for many years more. This is mainly because the women-only letting policy is right for them.

“It’s disappointing that the property is to be sold, but Catalyst had already taken this decision before they told the tenants or, indeed, the council.”

Wayne Davies from Catalyst said: “We are committed to supporting everyone currently living at Farndon Court who needs help to find a new place to live. We have individually met with almost all of the residents to offer advice and support to find a new home, and we are working closely with Oxford City Council and other local partners to help everyone as much as we can.”