You might be wondering (though of course you might not) what the panic-tweets were in aid of for the last few days.
Well, my landlord decided he wants to refurbish/sell our house, which leaves us facing eviction in two months time.
Now, this shouldn't really be a problem. Dave works, earns a fairly average national wage but we live in Sussex. Through an accident of birth, we find ourselves living in "London-By-the-Sea" where you are just about breaking even on a combined household income of 70k.
It's no good right-wingers spluttering into their Bordeaux, the average family home costs 250k here. That's a mortgage on salary variables of at LEAST 70k. Supposing of course you have a 40k DEPOSIT!! For a "nice" family home you need about 300k. If you're happy to live somewhere where your children might get stabbed on the way to school (yep, they really DO exist in Sussex) then you might be able to find four walls and a roof for 180k, but that still requires a combined income of 50K!! (YES, 50k) and a 30k deposit to buy a crap-hole with damp and drug dealers en-suite.
So, the problem is there's no-where to rent. Honestly, nowhere. You can do a Rightmove search and you might find 5 or 6 houses that look OK. Try calling the agent. The first three laughed at me and refused to take new registrations. "Call us every morning to see what's new" was their advice. "If we take a new property on, it'll be gone within the hour". The fact that we have 2 children apparently makes it even more hysterical. Yes, my husband works, no we have no pets, no we don't smoke, no we're not "DSS" (yet!) but children??? Yeurggggh, they're so MESSY and NOISY - sorry, professional couples with no offspring will always take precedent.
Perhaps we could buy somewhere? No chance. There are 4 - yep FOUR - shared ownership properties advertised in the three counties that surround us.
Perhaps we could move to somewhere cheaper? Well my Dad is 89 and frail and my Mum is struggling to look after him. The one thing that gives him joy is my children. What kind of bitch would move away?
Perhaps we could scale down? Find a smaller place? Well, if we're really lucky we might find a two bed flat for the four of us for £750 a month!! I'm afraid bankruptcy will still stalk us at that price.
So how flipping bonkers is it that a fairly average family have to consider hitting the panic button of emergency council housing lists or bankruptcy? We just can't afford to live anywhere. If we could, there is nowhere to live.
- Move away and break my parent's hearts
- Become homeless
- Rent a crap hole too small for us
- I get a job and practically kill myself
- Find rich benefactors willing to "lend" us a home for 6 months until we sort out the mess.
Millions of families are facing the same nightmare. If they aren't facing it now, it seems from my experience that they're just one eviction notice away from disaster. You can work, you can do your best, you can juggle and duck and dive, but there's just nowhere to live. If there is, in many parts of the country, you can't afford it anyway.
This IS a diary, so I have to be honest don't I? Hopefully, we'll find the perfect home in the next few weeks, but if we don't we'll be homeless and at the mercy of the state. How? How can that be? What went wrong? Are wages too low? Rents too high? Houses too expensive? Housing too scarce? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
It's a right royal mess really isn't it?