Plymouth mum facing eviction as rent prices hit ‘astronomical’ levels

  • Watch Alex Wood's report.

A family from Plymouth is facing eviction from their home after struggling to find somewhere affordable to live.

Karen, who has lived in her privately-rented home with her two daughters for the past seven years, was given a four-month notice period by her landlord in June.

But after looking for somewhere else to live on a similar budget, Karen said it was “impossible”.

She is now being supported by the housing charity Shelter, who have published a new report this week on the lack of social housing in Plymouth.

‘This is through no fault of my own’

Karen described the rents in Plymouth as "astronomical".

Karen told ITV News the rents in Plymouth are “astronomical”.

“I was given four months’ notice to find somewhere else to live,” she said.

“The rents...they’re astronomical at the moment. For me to find something similar to what I’m living in now, it’s going to cost me anything from £200 to £500 a month extra.

“I’m on a low income, so my rent here takes half of my wage. It’s unrealistic.”

The mum-of-two is now seeking an extension to her notice period while she continues to look for alternative accommodation.

She said her case is not considered a priority, however.

“They won’t take you into consideration until you’ve got the bailiffs knocking at your door,” she added.

“That’s daunting because I’ve always paid my rent on time and I’ve paid a lot to keep the property in good condition.

“This is through no fault of my own and the thought of having a bailiff knock at the door and change the locks and turf you out on the street is really stressful.”

According to Shelter, there are currently 7,800 households in Plymouth waiting for social houses - but just 24 were built between 2019 and 2020. 

Jack Spooner, from Shelter.

The Government disputes these figures but Jack Spooner, who works for the charity, said: “The need is increasingly severe and it is starting to reach literally so many people in the city, especially after Covid.

“If the Government really wants to level up communities like Plymouth, they need to invest in social housing.”

A Government spokesman said £12billion is being invested in affordable housing over five years.

“These figures are misleading," the spokesperson said.

"We are delivering more social housing and taking action to reduce waiting lists, which have fallen by almost 600,000 households.

"We’ve delivered 8,636 new affordable homes in Devon since 2010, and we’re investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over the next five years.

"We’re also providing a £65 million top-up to the Homelessness Prevention Grant to support low-earners in rent arrears.

“Our central mission is to level up every part of the United Kingdom including Plymouth, by spreading opportunity, empowering local leaders, improving public services and regenerating our town centres and high streets.”