A mother of five who was forced to endure what has been described as ‘six months of family hell’ is being treated for anxiety and depression after being made unexpectedly homeless because her landlord sold her rental property, as a growing number of private landlords exit the market to avoid recent buy-to-let tax hikes.
Rachel Hughes says she and her five children had to live apart while she and her young daughters ended up living in bed and breakfasts with homeless men, after her privately rented four-bedroom house in Deganwy was sold.
The 38-year-old, who has now moved into a house in Llanfairfechan, said: “I was devastated and frightened for myself and the children, as we were effectively being made homeless.
“Conwy Housing Solutions had no available houses for us, and we ended up in a bed and breakfast in Pensarn to stop us from being on the streets.
“We were there for three months, and it was horrendous because as a family we were split apart. My two teenage boys aged 14 and 13, refused to come with me as they go to school at Ysgol Aberconwy, and didn’t want to be parted from their friends so they stayed with my mother .
“Between the four of us we shared two rooms, and had to share a bathroom with the other homeless people at the B&B, my three-year-old twin girls were faced with men in their boxer shorts walking around-it wasn’t right.”
Unfortunately it would appear that Hughes could be among a growing number of victims of the government’s decision to introduce major tax hikes on second homes and investment properties, making the buy-to-let market less appealing and less profitable for landlords.
A letting agent in Conwy, who did not wish to be named, told the press: “Private landlords are very resistant to tenants who are on housing benefit.
“For a mum of five kids it’s going to be very difficult for her to find a four bedroomed property as there’s not many of them around.
“Also, for a four bedroomed house, landlord’s will expect around £1,000 a month for them, which won’t be covered by housing benefit.”
He continued: “Whenever we advertise a new rental property, there’s always a scramble for them. Since George Osbourne - the former chancellor, introduced a new tax on landlords, profit is down so many landlords are selling up meaning there is a massive shortage out there.”