‘It takes an emotional toll - every day we are say no to so many people’.
A leading letting agent says the rise in the cost of living combined with the lack of affordable properties to rent in the city has led many with nowhere to go when searching for somewhere to live.
And Ben Giles, founder of Balloon Lets, says his company is seeing the problem on ground level, receiving between 100 and 200 emails and phone calls for every listing, along with open enquiries on potential properties.
He’s also seen situations where people have had to move out of their home due to rise in energy bills. Recently, a ‘good tenant’ had to leave a £895-a-month property in St Pauls, and is now searching for a home to share with her brother, Mr Giles said.
BristolWorld spoke to Mr Giles as research by our data team revealed the average monthly charge for council tax, water and energy was set to rise from £325 a month in October last year, to £520 next month.
Mr Giles said for those lucky enough to find an available one-bedroom flat for under £1,000, when adding council tax, bills, phone contracts and food the cost of living against an annual wage below £30,000 was near impossible.
“We neeed to be building more social and affordable housing in Bristol - that needs to be the priority for the council and Government,” said Mr Giles.
“There is simplay not enough affordable housing in our city, and I’m afraid people are getting a shock when they accept a job in Bristol and come here to find they can’t find or afford a home due to all the costs involved.”
He added: “Every day we speak to more people looking for homes. It is difficult saying no all the time, we want to help people.”
In a bid to assist people looking for rental properties, Mr Giles has written a help guide which provides tips for people to ‘getting to the front of the queue’ when on the look-out in the city.
They include setting notifications on property portals such as Rightmove, being ‘relentless’ in getting thorugh to an agent, being decisive on providing an offer and not being afraid to ask for local knowledge.
Back in February, city mayor Marvin Rees said the council was targetting to build at least 1,000 affordable new homes a year from 2024. Writing in his blog, he said: “This plan will help us deliver the council housing we so badly need to tackle the crisis of affordability and supply that Bristol faces.”
Today, as part of a campaign calling on new Prime Minsiter Liz Truss to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, we want her:
- To stop the cost of energy from going above double the levels seen last winter, for both households and businesses;
- To help those on prepayment meters so they are no longer facing higher energy prices; and
- To tell energy companies that they cannot cut off the supply to any homes this winter if people fall behind on their bills