'I've no idea where we'll live by Christmas' - Cardiff family evicted and struggling to find home

Mum Amie Kofoed was told to leave her rented home and was stunned to find she was one of 90 applicants for a suitable property. Credit: Sharp End

A mother from Cardiff said her family may be forced to live in temporary accommodation after being evicted from their rental home.

Amie Kofoed, her husband and their children have been in the home for four years - they love both the home and the area.

Amie and her family were given a Section 21 notice to leave their rented Pontprennau home by October 2.

She told ITV’s Sharp End: “I need to be choosing a nursery place for my youngest and I have a son in Year 6 so I need to choose his high school.

“But I have no idea where me and my family are going to be living come December.

"All you want for your children is to make sure they're safe, loved and have a roof over their heads and I feel like I'm failing, because I can't do that."

Cardiff Council said the family may be separated because there is such a small amount of temporary accommodation available.

Mum Amie has packed up most of her families belongings - but they have nowhere to go. Credit: Sharp End

Monthly asking prices have risen by nearly 30% - which for Amie and her family means finding another £300-£400 a month for a similar four-bedroom home.

“For homes near Pontrennau, they’re wanting £1,500 for same size now. It’s totally out of our budget.

“I looked at Caerphilly thinking prices may be cheaper but they’ve cottoned on that lots of people are leaving Cardiff so it’s the same situation there.”

She told Sharp End: "We're now forced into a situation I don't want to be in.

"We technically shouldn't be in this house. It's not because we don't want to leave - it's because we have nowhere to go. We're now having to rely on Cardiff Council to house us but it's not what we want. I like private rent because there's so much choice.

"I'd normally be in full swing planning Christmas but I don't know where we're going to be and it's soul destroying.

"It's made me ill from stress, I've lost nine pounds, I don't sleep."

Competition is fierce in the current rental market. Credit: PA

The rental market in Wales is facing a "supply crisis" with dozens of tenants vying for the same property.

Amie said she was stunned to find that when she applied for a suitable property in a nearby area - she was one of 90 applicants.

Amie’s landlord is looking to sell the home - a situation many landlords are finding themselves in.

One estate agent says landlords in Wales feel like they’re under a sustained attack and are opting to “bow out”.

Nathan Walker, CPS Homes Sales Director, said: "Existing landlords have had to contend with restrictions on mortgage interest relief in recent years, whilst first-time or growing landlords are now forced to pay a levy on new purchases.

“They face further uncertainty in the shape of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 due to come in this December – six years after first being passed – which is described by Welsh Government as “the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades”.

“It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, leaving many wondering what obstacle will be put in front of them next.

"The Government’s mission is to allow renters to get on the homeowner ladder, but the way they’re going about it is counterproductive. Turning landlords away from the rental market is causing a supply crisis at a time when demand continues to soar, resulting in rents going up, making it even harder for tenants to save for a deposit.”

What changes will come in with the Renting Homes (Wales) Act?

The legislation was due to come into force in July, but it was postponed to December 1 2022. Here's some of the main changes the legislation will bring:

  • All landlords being required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant (called the ‘contract-holder’ in the legislation). This sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

  • 'No-fault' notice periods increasing from two months to six months. It will no longer be possible to issue a notice in the first six months, meaning all contract-holders will have a minimum 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy.

  • A strengthened duty on landlords, to ensure the property they rent is fit for human habitation including the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and regular electrical safety testing.

  • Addressing the practice of 'retaliatory eviction' (whereby a landlord serves notice on a tenant because they ask for repairs, or complain about poor conditions).

  • The introduction of a consistent approach across sectors to eviction where antisocial behaviour and domestic violence, occurs.

Cardiff Council says it has seen very significant increases in the number of Section 21 notices being served by private landlords on tenants.

A spokesperson said: “Since January this year, 411 households have approached us for homelessness prevention assistance for this reason - a 153% increase compared to the same period in 2021/22 and 209% higher than in 2018/19.

"The increase in Section 21 notices is a national issue contributing to growing housing pressures and impacting on the demand for temporary accommodation and the availability of affordable accommodation in the private rented sector.

"We understand the difficulties tenants may experience when staying in accommodation after a notice has been served, however, in some circumstances this is unavoidable due to demand on housing services.

"Tenants remain the legal occupants of their home at the end of a notice, and up until a court order is received requiring them to leave. During this time, the Council works with households by providing mediation with landlords or by seeking alternative private sector accommodation, which unfortunately is not always possible to secure.

"The private rented sector has an important role to play in helping to tackle the very high housing demand we are experiencing in the city and the Council is keen to continue to work with landlords via a number of leasing schemes it operates, providing incentives and support to both the landlords and tenants to ensure the sector can continue to provide much-needed, good quality accommodation at this time of extremely high need.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Everybody has a right to a decent, affordable home and, when it comes into force this December, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will completely transform the rented sector in Wales.

“It will bring much greater transparency and consistency to renting a home and protects the interests of both landlords and tenants.

“We are also committed to delivering 20,000 new low carbon homes for rent in the social sector during this government term, and have also made £30m of capital funding over the next five years for Leasing Scheme Wales.

“This will ensure local authorities can lease private rental sector properties from landlords, which will be rented at affordable levels to those who would otherwise be threatened with homelessness."

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