Cornwall family almost 'on the streets' after being evicted from private rental

Local people in Cornwall are being evicted from their private rentals Credit: ITV's Tonight Programme

The number of people with second homes in Cornwall is pushing locals to the brink of homelessness.

People like Samantha Evans are struggling to maintain their privately rented houses and flats due to second home owners pushing up demand, and therefore prices for rentals.

Landlords are taking long term lets off the market to switch to holiday lets, which leaves people who live in Cornwall all year round without places to rent.

Samantha - who lives with her partner, her 17-year-old step son and her cat Chutney in Falmouth - was recently given a section 21 eviction notice by her landlord. It gave them two months to move out of their rented accommodation.

She told ITV's Tonight Programme, "Very quickly it became apparent that those two months were not long enough to secure anywhere. And it also became very apparent that within the years that we'd been out of looking for private rent that the prices had actually gone beyond our capabilities to pay."

To rent a 3-bedroom house in Falmouth in 2010 it cost roughly £800 per month, but some similar 3-bedroom properties today cost over three times that amount - up to £3000 per month.

Samantha and her family have had to move into her partner's sister's house, where there are currently three adults, four children, a cat, a dog and a parrot all living under one roof.

"Without her we would be on the streets," Samantha said.

In April 2022, Cornwall had over 12,000 second homes, but 20,000 people were on the housing register, according to research.

78-year-old Phyllis has lived in St Ives since 1950 and is concerned about her local community. "The situation in Cornwall is dire, it's in crisis because there's no permanent letting.

"All landlords want to do is summer let because they make more money. There is no way you can rent. You either buy or you go somewhere else."

Phyllis is concerned that people who have second homes do not spend enough time in Cornwall to make it worthwhile for important institutions to stay open "We've lost our banks, because nobody lives here to bank. You can't get a dentist, there aren't as many doctors in the surgery because there's nobody here to register with."

Emma Stratton co-owns a hotel 5 miles from Newquay. She struggles to find staff to work at the hotel due to a lack of affordable housing in the area.

To tackle the issue, she co-founded a movement last year to help people find affordable homes.

"Cornwall is still very much struggling for housing right now. And it's not just the hospitality sector. We have queues of ambulances outside the hospitals every day and its because there aren't the houses to put up the doctors, the nurses, the porters, the cleaning staff- it's affecting every sector."

"The power to sort out housing needs to sit with communities. We know what our communities need to flourish and at the moment we're really powerless to do anything about this."

There are other organisations in Cornwall making a difference to the housing situation in the Duchy.

Morag Robertson chairs the St Ives Community Land Trust which helps to redesign and build properties to make them affordable.

The building is funded by locals and other people who want to advocate for more affordable housing for local people to rent in St Ives.

In 2016 the people of St Ives voted to write a clause into the sale of new build properties that means buyers have to live in their properties all year round.

The St Ives Neighbourhood Development plan, although only applicable to new builds, has made a small difference according to locals.