THE young parents of a baby with a heart condition will soon be forced from their home by rising city rents, a shortage of rental properties and a lack of social housing.

A buoyant housing market, pressure on landlords from new legislation and an increasing number of people at risk of homelessnes has put Newport renters, the local authority's housing team and landlords in an impossible position.

Chorley Bale and Charlotte Hyde live in second floor flat in Liberty Grove, Newport, with their seven-month-old son Osian.

Ms Hyde, 20, is currently on maternity leave, while 21-year-old Mr Bale works full time as a restaurant manager.

What should have been a joyous first Christmas with their new-born son turned sour when a two-month eviction notice was posted through their door on December 14.

They have been on the council’s social housing list for a year, and have also spent that time searching for privately rented accommodation.

Because of Osian’s heart condition they are looking for a ground floor flat or a house. But at this point, explained the couple, they will happily take anything they can get.


(This year was Osian's first Christmas, but the family will have to leave their home iFebruaryry)

They now face a desperate waiting game as they scour the rental market for properties in their price range and bid on scarce social housing. With rents rising across the city, the family has found themselves priced out of the rental market.

“It’s really embarrassing to tell people about our situation,” said Ms Hyde

“People just don’t realise how rising rents have affected families, especially young families.

“The rent started at £550 when we moved in 18 months ago, then it went down to £499, which we were really happy with.

READ MORE: Father fears his family will be made homeless due to paperwork problems

“Osian was born with a mild heart condition. We can’t be so high up in a building with no lifts. When our contract ended asked pay month-to-month rent here and look for somewhere instead of signing a new contract. Four months later they said we needed to pay £50 a month more.

“We refused, and our eviction notice came on December 14, just before Christmas.They’re advertising this property now at £599.”

The couple say properties suitable for Osian’s condition are priced anywhere from £550 to £800 depending on the area, but are snapped up quickly.

Their upper limit is around £510, and with childcare costs so expensive, Ms Hyde will only return to part time work once her maternity leave is up.

The growing rental crisis is not an issue confined to Newport, or even to just this young family.

Newport council, estate agents and homeless charity shelter are concerned about rising rents and a lack of affordable housing.

A spokesman for Shelter said: “The housing crisis is affecting working families who can’t find anywhere to live. We’re aware that rents and house prices are going up in Newport and in Cardiff and there are many factors contributing to this. The demand for the private market is going up whilst there’s a significant lack of housing stock.

"As a result of this we have seen significant rises in rent and this is affecting more and more people who are find it increasingly difficult to privately rent a home”

Ms Hyde adimtted her new family are finding it impossible to find any realistic options in the Newport rental market.

“We don’t know what to do. There are so many families in this situation, it’s hidden in plain sight. When we go to the information section of the housing offices it’s full of families who are looking for homes or who are facing eviction.”

The pair have nothing but praise for the council’s housing team, who they say have bent over backwards to help them.

But after a year on the housing list, the family say they are resigned to moving into emergency accommodation after February 14.

Mr Bale said: “It’s so stressful. It’s all we think about – what are we going to do? The time of year it happened doesn’t help. This was Osian’s first Christmas and we had this hanging over us.

READ MORE: A valuable stained glass window at St Illtyd's Church in Mamhilad was targeted by 'senseless' vandals over Christmas

“We’re not scroungers, and we’re not on benefits. We’re in work and almost certainly going to be in emergency accommodation. It’s just a waiting game. We don’t know where – it will be whatever’s available.

“A lot of our friends went away to university, but we’re in work. So it’s hard to compare our lives to their situation. It’s a different world.”

Ms Hyde added: “Rental the prices are just beyond us now, and that’s changed over the last year or two.

“Newport is changing quickly, and it feels like we’re being punished for it.”

There are currently 8,887 people on the social housing waiting list in Newport.

A spokesman for Newport City Council confirmed the authority an increase in people presenting as homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“There is a distinct increase in rents across Newport and also a reduction in the rental market which is adding to the pressures being faced by residents who need accommodation,” they said.

“We work closely with a range of partners and there are a number of services in the city to assist people that are critical in tackling and alleviating homelessness. While the council works closely with landlords in finding solutions to housing issues, The number of affordable private rented homes is, in effect reducing, with the demand for social rented housing across the and there are now more than 8,000 people on the waiting list for social housing.

READ MORE: Tributes pour in for son of legendary Newport boxer David 'The Bomber' Pearce who has died

“This will include those already in social housing who want to move to other areas or larger/smaller properties as well as individuals wishing to move due to other reasons.”

As part of the local development plan, the council has identified affordable housing targets for developers as part of new housing sites.

But some developers have successfully challenged those targets on viability grounds which means there are not as many affordable homes being built on those sites as we would like.

There is a recognition of the increase in demand for social housing and Welsh Government is currently reviewing the supply of affordable housing in Wales. Their report is due in the spring.

  • *Have you been affected by this issue? Email

Why are rents rising across the city?

There are lots of factors that can push rents up in a city.

At the heart of rising rents is pressure on smaller landlords from new legislation, which have taken away incentives and added extra burdens.

A more buoyant selling market in the city has given long-term landlords a way out.

But added to the mix is a lack of rental properties.

We spoke to two city estate agents to find out more.

Neil Williams, director of Martin & Co estate agents in Newport, puts the rise mainly down to new UK legislation that has forced landlords to push their rents up, or even sell their properties.

That means less rental properties and more competition for those that remain.

“Rents have increased by £70 in lots of cases we’re seeing over the last year,” said Mr Williams.

“Landlords are now being taxed on the gross rent than the profit. It can make a massive difference, the difference between making a small profit and a loss.

“That legislation has resulted in a lot of land lords selling, which means less rental properties and more demand for those that do come on the market.

“We’re talking about land lords with one or two properties here. We're talking about people who brought a second property using Buy to Let as a long term investment and are just making a small enough profit to cover costs.

“Now they’re actually starting to lose money on them, because they’re getting taxed more. Tax relief and wear and tear allowances have been taken away too. All these changes have coming over the 12 to 24 months.

READ MORE: First steps taken in plans for new railway station in Newport

“In Wales, the Rent Smart Wales scheme means landlords now have to sit an online exam and pay a fee. For older landlords it’s just another burden placed on them.

“There’s less people buying up Buy to Let properties at the moment because again the government have made it harder to get that kind of mortgage."

Mr Williams said he didn't think the removal of the Severn Bridge tolls and the 'Bristol effect' was having a direct impact on Newport's rental market, but he agreed a more buoyant market could have indirect consequences.

“Rising rents is not really affected by Bristol. The sales market has been, but not the rental market. But the Bristol element has made the market more buoyant. Properties are increasing in value.

“Landlords are being hit with more legislation and are thinking it could be a good time to sell.

“We’re putting a couple of rental properties a month up for sale now. We wouldn’t have had that two years ago.”

Bronwyn O’Flaherty, director of Redlands Estate Agents in Newport, agreed that the main issue is a lack of rental properties, but added that agency fees are also placing an unfair burden on would-be renters.

According to Ms O'Flaherty city landlords have sold their rental properties more and more over the last couple of years.

“Lots of landlords sold their HMO properties because the city lost all of the students, for example." she explained.

"We’re now having to fill those properties very differently.

“Owner occupiers are buying up a lot of the rental properties. That’s pushing up the demands on the rental market massively. Landlords can put the property on the rental market at a higher rate.

“Agency fees are having a huge impact on tenants too. Some of the fees charged to rent are just extortionate at the moment.”