“Especially for myself with two children, having a rolling month contract means that they can give me two months and that’s it then your whole life is turned upside down.”
Lisa* lived in her private rented home with her husband, Martin* and their two children. She felt content and settled in a home in North Wales which was close to her workplace as well as to her children’s school and friends. She also felt that she had a good relationship with her landlord as they had had no major issues during the tenancy.
However without any warning, Lisa received an eviction notice. They were asked to vacate the property in 31 days.
They felt shocked and upset that their family would have to move, and with such little warning. Lisa and Martin both work full time and didn’t know how they would find the time to find a new home and organise a move while working and looking after their children. The situation was compounded as the eviction date was the 31st of December – the last thing they wanted was the stresses of moving around the Christmas break.
After receiving advice and advocacy from Shelter Cymru the eviction date was pushed back, giving them invaluable time to organise and raise funds for the move. But the experience still had a traumatic effect on the family.
Their daughter was particularly affected by the move as their new home moved her away from her friends. This meant she felt increasingly isolated as her friends continued to socialise outside of school regularly, but without her.
Lisa and Martin also struggled financially with the move, even though they both earn full-time salaries. The costs of the move included agent fees of £250, a month’s rent as deposit and a month’s rent in advance, eventually reaching £1,500.
“If I had £1,500 a month I don’t think I’d be renting!”
Lisa described the weeks leading to the move as ‘hand to mouth’ as they tried to save every penny to afford all the costs.
Both Lisa and Martin consider that security and stability are key to raising children, and as no other tenure is available to them they feel things need to change to make private renting better for families. Lisa in particular feels the current six month minimum is inadequate and feels very insecure that after the initial period, they could be given notice at any point as the contract moves onto a rolling monthly contract.
Unfortunately Lisa and Martin have recently been given notice to leave once again as the landlord wants to sell the property. They have no say in the matter and dread having to face the challenges – both financially and emotionally – of moving within the private rented sector once again as they continue to seek a stable home for their family.
“It really is a stressful time, physically and emotionally and it does have an impact on children who are being constantly uprooted and being moved from pillar to post where there’s no stability. Everybody needs a bit of stability.”
* All names changed to protect anonymity