Channel Islands' rental housing market in deepening crisis as demand far outstrips supply

  • An estate agent tells ITV Channel reporter Emma Volney that some people are "living in garden sheds" due to the constrained rental property market. Broadcast on Wednesday 12 June

High demand and low supply means the competition to rent a home across the Channel Islands is worsening as properties are snapped up within 24 hours of being listed.

Concerns are growing with one Guernsey estate agent saying that people are now "living in garden sheds" due to the lack of other options.

Cathy Gallienne explains: "There are situations where people are living in garden sheds and key workers in temporary accommodation, to local people needing to move because their landlord has decided to sell or the apartment is too small because they're starting a family. There are a lot of stories and everyone has a genuine reason for moving."

One prospective tenant in Guernsey claims several landlords rejected her because she was expecting a baby.

Madvi Harchad adds: "I was three, four months pregnant and we needed a bigger place for our baby, it was stressful."

Madvi says she was discriminated against by landlords because she was pregnant. Credit: Madvi Harchad

Deputy John Gollop believes Guernsey States needs to take action to support both prospective tenants and landlords.

He says: "I would like to see some of the incentives that used to apply to landlords reintroduced, the tax package they had a few years ago was perhaps more convenient than today."

Deputy Gollop has previously called for politicians to prioritise fixing the island's property crisis and wants new ideas to improve social housing and help young couples.

First addressing Madvi's experience, I understand it is illegal for Guernsey landlords to discriminate against someone with children but barely anyone has been taken to court for it.

Looking at the wider property market the real issue is supply - homes in Guernsey receive an average of 50 to 100 applications when they're first listed and they're usually snapped up within 24 hours to 48 hours.

They are building more key worker accommodation but I am constantly hearing complaints from people who say it is just too expensive.

The average rent for a single person in Guernsey is now around £1,500, much higher than in parts of the UK where you can rent a whole house for that.

In Jersey, they are building lots of one-bedroom flats but hardly anything for families.

Even though Jersey and Guernsey have very similar problems, there is barely any collaborative work happening between politicians in both islands to try and solve this crisis.

Jersey's Housing Minister to my knowledge has never even met with his Guernsey counterpart to discuss this.

There is a lot of talk by politicians but what is needed now is action and until they come up with something, the reality is that more and more people will leave the Channel Islands because there just isn't enough housing that's affordable and suitable enough for them to live in.

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