Mother and toddler facing eviction from Bristol home due to 'increasingly unaffordable' rents

  • Watch Will Charley's report

A mother and toddler face being left with nowhere to live due to the soaring cost of rent in Bristol.

Laura Collins and her toddler have been issued with an eviction notice that requires them to leave their Bristol home tomorrow (11 January).

The pair have been asked to leave after receiving a section 21 so-called 'no fault' eviction notice.

But single parent Laura has said she cannot find any two bed homes in Bristol that she can afford, leaving the family's future uncertain.

"The private market at the moment is ridiculous, it's super expensive, I can't afford it by myself as a single mum," said the 27-year-old.

"I have to get Universal Credit because I'm paying over £1000 rent here, and then bills on top and then obviously, personal stuff on top of that. So, a loan with Universal Credit, is just not enough to cover everything."

Laura and Wren face being made to leave their home despite not being able to find a privately rented property that is affordable

Laura suspects she has been given an eviction notice as the owners of the property would like to increase the rent and rightly believe she will be unable to afford it.

Despite returning from maternity leave early, founding her own pet-sitting company and, at one stage, working two jobs, she said she has been unable to find anywhere for her and 14-month-old Wren to call home.

"It makes me feel quite upset because obviously, I'm trying my hardest to work and be a parent and trying to find a house," she said.

"This is his [Wren's] first home and I know he's not going to remember it. We've made lots of memories in the past year and a half - but he's innocent in all of this and it's a shame that he has to be put through it with me," she added.

Laura has said she feels Wren is an 'innocent' victim of spiralling rental costs in Bristol

Laura and Wren are not alone in struggling to find a property in Bristol within their budget.

The council has said almost a third (30%) of all housing in the city is privately rented. It estimates that the average cost of renting in Bristol has also risen by 50% in the last decade.

Plans to introduce rent controls across Bristol approved

It's led to Cllr Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, calling for the council to be given the power to introduce a rent cap.

In a motion approved today (10 January), Bristol City Council resolved to publish the findings of the Living Rent Commission to the full council.

Cllr Tom Renhard has said the council needs to 'take action' due to 'increasingly unaffordable' rental prices in Bristol

This included the resolution that if the Commission recommended 'rent controls', then the Council would lobby the Government for permission to introduce these across the city.

Cllr Renhard said: "We know it's become increasingly unaffordable to rent in Bristol. It's becoming really challenging, it's affecting everyone.

"It is affecting hospitality workers, it is affecting nurses, it is affecting teachers, it is affecting people that work in social care.

"So, the problem for us is that things are so bad now in Bristol that we need to take action, because some of the longer term measures like getting houses built, takes time to really catch up."

According to the motion, 40% of council homes have been transferred to the private rented sector through right-to buy, a scheme that councillors are looking to oppose.

The rent for these homes has then become increasingly expensive, leading to what the council has called, 'an increased power imbalance between tenants and landlords'.

The motion also committed the council to enforce the ban on letting agent fees, condemn 'bidding wars' on private rented properties and oppose any expansion of right-to-buy, among other measures.

It was approved by Bristol City Council 35 votes to two, while nine other councillors abstained.