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Are you stuck in a rent trap?

New figures show people are paying out the equivalent of a housing deposit on their rent. Credit: ITV News

The average renter in the South West has paid over £38,000 to their landlord since 2010 - according to new figures released by the housing charity Shelter.

They says this leaves people caught in a "rent trap" - paying high housing costs and unable to keep up with rocketing house prices.

According to the figures, five years rent costing the same as an average 19% deposit for a first time buyer.

£38137
5 year rent for average two bedroom home in the South West
£195672
Average price of first time buyer home in the region

Highest rents in the region:

Living in an average rented home in Bath and North East Somerset would have meant paying out more than £49,000 over five years. In Bristol it’s £47,855, and £44,330 in parts of Dorset.

What could your rent have bought you?

Shelter have released an online calculator which helps people work out how much rent they've paid over a given time, and how far that money could have gone towards a first-time home.

Are you trying to save to buy your first home? Credit: ITV News

The charity is now calling for the government to invest in homes that people on ordinary wages can afford.

When just five years of rent could get you the deposit on a house, it’s no wonder the South West’s renters feel like they’re getting a raw deal, paying through the nose for something they can never call their own.

– Campbell Robb, Shelter Chief Executive

Government figures released last month showed that ‘generation rent’ is continuing to grow. 46% of 25-34 year olds now privately rent, compared to 24% 10 years ago.

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West housing crisis: 85,000 new homes needed

Credit: ITV West Country

People in the West are being asked for their ideas on how to meet the area's housing and transport needs for the next 20 years.

Councils for Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire estimate that

85,000
new homes will be needed

in the next

20
years, which is
30,000
more than planned

Options being considered include building more tower blocks and building on greenfield and brownfield sites.

The public consultation starts today, and will run until January 29th.

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Bristol housing crisis: At least 5 people competing for each rental home

Campaigners protest against Bristol letting agent in April. Credit: ITV West Country

With rents going up and calls for more affordable housing, Bristol's housing crisis continues - as an estate agent tells ITV News West Country that there are at least five people competing for every rental home.

The average cost of renting a 3-bed house in the centre is now £1,400 a month, which is almost double the cost in Gloucester - and with demand often outstripping supply many people are unable to find a place to live.

Are you struggling to find an affordable rent in the city? Has Bristol become too expensive to live in? Write to westcountry@itv.com with your story.

In April campaigners protested against lettings agent CJ Hole, after the Southville branch wrote to Bristol landlords encouraging them to raise rents.

The branch has since had its windows smashed in in what appears to be a vandal attack.

Controversial Bristol lettings agent has windows smashed

Police are investigating after an estate agent criticised for encouraging Bristol landlords to increase rents had its windows smashed in.

Campaigners protested outside the Southville branch of CJ Hole in April after it wrote to landlords with the suggestion, and more than 12,000 people signed a petition calling on the firm to stop "exploiting Bristol's housing crisis" and sign an 'Ethical Lettings Charter'.

The vandal attack against the branch is believed to have happened on Tuesday night.

Hope for Falmouth war veteran denied housing

A war veteran from Falmouth and his family, who were denied social housing, are having their case reviewed - following pressure from forces charities.

Father-of-four Jamie Streets had to leave the army and couldn't work due to a brain tumour. His family were turned down as they were classed as having made themselves homeless.

Kathy Wardle has been to meet them.

We asked the Prime Minister what the government is doing to help Mr Streets. Here is his response:

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