Our picturesque seaside resort is being turned into a ghost town by greedy second home owners – we can't afford our rent | The Sun

RESIDENTS of a beloved seaside resort say it is being turned into a ghost town by second home owners.

Locals of Hastings, East Sussex claim that the demand for property in the "rough diamond" town has placed unsustainable upward pressure on rents.

General inflation and a cost of living crisis, combined with spiralling property prices are tipping lower earners towards poverty.

According to estate agents Zoopla, Hastings saw the second-highest increase in rental costs in the UK between 2021 and 2022.

The local council say that there was a surge in home purchases during the pandemic, mostly people from London buying seafront properties to use as second homes or Airbnbs.

Tracy Dighton, who runs the local Citizens Advice bureau, told the Financial Times that help from Universal Credit in the town is "set so low" that it makes no difference.


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She said: "It feels like the whole place is held together with bits of string and love."

Tanya Mitchell, 48, who lives with her two children and partner in the town, said that a spike in rent had pushed her family to the brink.

The mum-of-two explained that her rent had typically risen by around £20 a year, but went up by £40 last year to £835 a month.

She fumed: "We have been good tenants for 15 years. There should be a cap on what landlords can realistically charge."

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Meanwhile, podiatrist and former soldier Dennis Bond, 73, claimed that he has been paying about £600 a month more than his income on general costs, despite having an army, state and private pension.

He added: "You try and do your best, but you just get knocked in the teeth."

Paul Barnett, the leader of Hastings Borough Council, said that housing was his biggest concern in the current climate.

He said: "People during the pandemic flocked to Hastings attracted by the unspoilt authenticity of the place — it’s like a rough diamond."

While the extra investment was welcome, he explained that, in a similar period, the council has seen a "three to four times" in the number of local people requiring emergency accommodation.

Councillor Barnett also welcomed the allocation of government funding for a new health and leisure centre in the town as part of the Levelling Up programme, but said that measures to ease the cost of living burden were "too little, too late."

How to get help with rent and bills

Help is available for those struggling with rents and bills.

You should check if you are eligible for housing benefit if you feel your income is not enough to pay rent.

If you already receive benefits, check that you are receiving all the related benefits your are entitled to, including income support or pension credit.

You may also be eligible for a discount on your council tax.

Energy bill support is available and details of all the programmes can be found on the government's website.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice bureau for more information on all the options available to you.

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