‘Rent increases are a disaster for local familes’, says Hastings councillor
A Hastings councillor has said rent increases in town are a ‘disaster for local families’ following the news that rent rises in the borough are currently among the highest in the UK.
According to Zoopla, rents outside London are rising at their highest rate for over a decade, with Hastings seeing one of the steepest increases.
Cllr Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing and homelessness at Hastings Borough Council, is now appealing for landlords to assist with the growing rental market emergency in the town.
The council said more than half of the town’s population is in rented accommodation, and the increase this year follows rises of up to 40 per cent in the last few years.
Cllr Batsford said: “These rent increases are proving to be a disaster for our local families and residents who are seeing their lives devastated by the burden of huge monthly rent bills.
“These are now well over half of their wage packet and that’s before all the other bills and costs.
“This situation is driving family after family into debt, break-ups and ultimately making people homeless and needing to seek help from the council.
“Every single case includes individuals and children in desperately unhappy and unhealthy situations not being able to go to school, or family life breaking down due to the stress of money and not having a safe roof over their heads.
“This rental market is out of control and broken, pricing family after working family out of the opportunity of the most basic need – a safe, secure home.
“There just are not the rented homes out there on the market to rent at real affordable prices, forcing working families to stretch their finances. We as a town need to come together and support and help our fellow families.
“Today we are putting out a massive call to all our local landlords to offer their properties to the council instead of to a private estate agent though our social lettings scheme.
“This will ensure that local families currently in temporary accommodation have a safe and secure home and can get back to work and the children back to school and some sort of normality.”
The council said landlords who rent their properties through the authority will get guaranteed rent for three years, even if the property is empty.
The council will also be responsible for the upkeep and repair of the property and return it as it was after three years, it said.
Cllr Batsford added: “The council will and is campaigning hard for more powers to bring undeveloped land forward to build those needed local affordable homes across the whole of Hastings and to draw the attention and need for a rent cap system that they enjoy across Europe.
“So together we can do something positive against this seemingly endless avalanche of rising rents and costs swallowing up our local families.
“Anyone who has a property that might be suitable should contact [email protected]”