Llandudno family face homelessness if they can’t move elsewhere by end of September

A MAN from Llandudno and his family of four are at risk of facing homelessness after being given until the end of next month to leave their rented home.

Lee Bennett is a 36-year-old painter and decorator who lives in the centre of Llandudno with partner Emma, 37, who works for the NHS, son Theo, 14, and daughter April, five.

Lee’s family were told on July 22 that the owner of their rented home, which they have lived in for 11 years, now wishes to sell the property.

They have been given until September 25 to move and are struggling to find an alternative, while wanting to stay in Llandudno.

While stressing that he is not making a “cry for help”, Lee highlighted the lack of “resources and pathways to helping us and many others in this predicament”.

He and his family also hold no ill will towards their landlord or estate agent, but are desperate to move to another home within Llandudno.

Both Lee and Emma are also part-time Open University students, combining their jobs with their studies.

Lee said: “We don’t have an issue with the landlord or the estate agents at all; we totally understand that they are just doing their job, but it has left us in a position we didn’t intend on being in.

“Currently, there are hardly any properties available on the market for rent in Llandudno – a three-bedroom apartment and a five-bedroom house, both nearing £2,000 a month.

“We have been into estate agents, looked on numerous websites, and been in contact with landlords but have had no joy as of yet.

“We have gone down the route of applying to housing solutions with the homeless form, but due to current high demand of that service, we are unable to get a time frame for any help.

“There have been properties locally with three bedrooms which, in the property description, state they are not suitable for families, but are suitable for students (which we both are, as well as working), pets and smokers.

“Even if we manage to get to view one, filling out the necessary paperwork and waiting for checks isn’t the quickest of processes.

“This is in no way a cry for help, and we know there may be other people in this situation, but when rent is currently at that price, the cost of living is rising and due to go up further, and the date getting closer to having to move out, you can understand the frustration.”

Lee also bemoaned the number of empty holiday homes he sees in Llandudno, a town he is particularly keen to stay in given neither he nor his partner drive.

Their children are also both settled at their respective schools, with Theo about to start his GCSEs at his, and April receiving “excellent support” for the brain condition she was born with at hers.

He added: “I know it (Llandudno) is a holiday destination, but the amount of holiday homes we now see empty most of the time… again, you can see the frustration.

“As far as moving a little further away, we currently do not drive, and at an average of £30/£35 an hour, in this current situation you can understand why, and the rent further out being the same, if not a little more in some cases.

“Our son is due to start his GCSEs next term, and our daughter was born with a brain condition, who, although healthy, receives excellent support at school and we do not want to hinder her development.

“Moving away would cost us more money on top to travel back to town every day.

“We know we are not alone in this situation, and again, this is not a cry for help, but just wish there were more resources and pathways to helping us and many others in this predicament.”

READ MORE:

Conwy: Homelessness crisis worsens as cost of temporary accommodation doubles

’Empty homes officer’ to help solve housing crisis being employed by Conwy council

In February, it was reported that Conwy’s bill for placing homeless people in temporary accommodation has doubled in the last year.

The county was also found to have the fourth-highest number of people living in temporary accommodation in Wales, and 1,643 waiting on the housing register.

A freedom of information request also revealed that Conwy spent £2.5million last year alone providing temporary accommodation to the homeless.

This figure more than doubled the previous year’s £1.2m.

At the time, Conwy County Borough Council also said it had 547 people, or 285 households, in all forms of temporary accommodation, including 144 households in emergency accommodation.

Mandy Hawkins, a councillor for the Gogarth Mostyn ward in which Lee and his family currently live, expressed her sympathies.

Cllr Hawkins said: “I sympathise with the situation which Mr Bennett and his family are in.

“We are in one of the biggest housing crises to hit us for decades; the Conservative-run Government in Westminster has not invested in building social and affordable homes since the 1980s.

“So, those looking to rent in Conwy County and elsewhere are heavily reliant on private sector rentals, which are being pushed up due to the market being so competitive.

“The only way to solve this issue is by building more affordable and social homes and tackle issues such as Airbnbs and empty homes.

“Our residents cannot and, more importantly, must not, be priced out of their communities.”

Robin Millar, the MP for Aberconwy, accepted that the housing crisis in the region will “take time to resolve”.

Mr Millar said: “Housing is something I often hear about from residents – even though it is a devolved responsibility.

“Aberconwy is a fantastic part of the world and there is a long-standing pressure on land availability.

“Add to that shorter-term market pressures and it becomes very difficult for families to plan long-term, save, and settle here.

“I’m keen that the council ensures the right homes are provided in the right place – but that is going to take time to resolve.”

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno