AUDIENCES may snigger at the far-fetched scenes of wizard Harry Potter having to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, but for one teenager it is an image very close to home.

Eighteen-year-old Anthony Whyley has no choice but to confine himself to the cramped, stuffy utility space while the rest of his six-member family cope in the one-bedroom property owned by Broadacres Housing Association.

The ground-floor flat in Knotto Bottom Way, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, has been overcrowded since Jackie Whyley and her three sons moved in with tenant Peter Clark almost a year ago. The couple had a baby boy of their own last week.

While Anthony sleeps beneath the stairs, her sons Carl, 16, and Matthew, 13, stay in the living room on armchairs - a situation Mr Clark said is damaging their health, school studies and social lives.

Despite repeatedly asking to be moved to a larger property, Mr Clark said they have struggled to cope in the house with no privacy.

"Now the baby is at home the situation is just ridiculous.

"We are all tripping over each other and Jackie is depressed," he said.

"We just want a fresh start but how are we supposed to cope in this house? When the baby wakes in the middle of the night it means all six of us are awake.

"I work for a living, I pay my rent and council tax and yet Broadacres are doing nothing to rehouse my family."

After being made aware of the living arrangements, The Northern Echo spoke to Gill Haigh, of Broadacres, who said the family are at the top of the waiting list for a new home.

One week further on and the situation has not changed.

Ms Haigh, director of housing services, said there had been some confusion while Ms Whyley was still the joint tenant of a three-bedroom property she used to share with her ex-husband.

"Some of the responsibility was on them to confirm they were not pursuing tenancy on the other house that she used to live in," she said.

"Obviously the present arrangement has not been ideal, but as soon as a suitable house becomes vacant they will be able to move," she said.