Cornwall mum of four forced to live in cramped flat as rent prices soar

  • Watch Grace Pascoe's report

A woman from Cornwall has shared the heartbreak she is facing trying to find a suitable, affordable home for her family.

Sharon Harris from Penzance lives in a two-bedroom flat with her four children including baby twins.

She has been looking for a bigger property since she found out she was expecting more than a year ago. 

A chain of events meant it was harder than she thought to find somewhere suitable. She told ITV News West Country: "We started looking for bigger properties but we were in lockdown and there wasn't much around, then in August I got served notice. We're struggling, there's sometimes six of us living here.

"We just want a family home we're really desperate, twins sharing a cot, both nearly grown out, we've had to get rid of our dining room table and chairs. It's really tough, its week after week, there's a little bit of hope and it's not." 

Her baby twins are sharing a cot they are quickly outgrowing.

The rental market in Cornwall has become so heated in the past few months letting agents say they find it difficult to cope with the response to new listings.

Deborah Plowright works at CAM Residential Lettings in Hayle, she said: "If we advertise we get over 100 enquiries and obviously that's one property, we can help one family or one person, 99 we have to let down. It's relentless." 

Estate agents say they are receiving hundreds of applications for each listing.

Ms Plowright says the demand for housing in Cornwall is by far outstripping the supply, adding: "There's a lot of people with holiday homes, then lockdown so more people wanting to move to Cornwall from bigger cities, they can afford to pay more, they've driven the prices up.

"There's no affordable properties, a new three-bed house is over £300,000. They've got no chance of affording that." 

Families like Sharon's and local estate agents like Deborah say they hope something is done soon to stop local people being outbid for homes in their own towns.

The Government has said it is putting measures in place to stop people like Sharon from being edged out of the property market.

It says schemes like its new offer of backing 95% mortgages should help people onto the housing ladder.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to kick off 'generation buy' and not 'generation rent'.

The Prime Minister has made clear his intention to get more people on the property ladder. Credit: PA

In the council elections the Conservatives have pledged "homes for local people" and to build new "small pockets" of affordable homes where they are needed.

The Liberal Democrats say they want to ensure the 200 empty homes in the county are used, and also want to build 750 affordable homes in the space of a year.

Labour have said they believe all people in Cornwall should have a decent and affordable homes, and that planning is central to making it happen.

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