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Town declares housing crisis blaming 'skyrocketing' rents partly on landlord exodus

A town council in the SW has declared a ‘housing crisis’ blaming affluent new arrival renters but also 'landlords pulling out of the market' for rapidly-rising rents.

The initiative is in the fashionable town of Frome and is being led by councillor Polly Lamb (main picture, inset), who is a former lettings agent in the area.

She wants to highlight the problems caused by ‘skyrocketing’ rents which exclude many low-income local, some of whom have resorted to living in converted vans or sofa surfing.

“Frome has become very popular and has a high profile in the national media,” she says in her report submitted to the cabinet meeting.

"Regulations to control the PRS and keep tenants safe are unpopular and many landlords cite this as reasons to pull out, making rental properties even more scarce.

"Many landlords are selling their properties if they deem it too expensive to meet the energy performance standard in time for 2025/2028."

Covid move

“This has encouraged more people to move here, particularly in the Covid period as remote working became more possible.”

She made the comments during a council meeting (main picture, inset) pointing out that Frome has a higher-than-average house prices and lower-than-average salaries, which "means increasing number of people locally rely on the private rented sector for accommodation".

But as her report highlights, a lack of affordable housing and a council waiting list topping 600 means they are competing with home-working professionals who yearn for the town’s bucolic allure.

Greater powers

Frome is the third council in the UK to declare a housing crisis along with South Hams in Devon and Leicester, although it’s also calling for greater powers to regulated second home; more social and council housing to be built, more powers to regulate planning and better use of existing homes locally.

"Rents have skyrocketed and that is pushing out local people who have been here all their lives,” she told the council meeting, adding that the ‘crisis’ status would mean housing provision would now be at the heart of all the council’s decision making.

Read the report in full.

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