POST Covid-19 pandemic changes in the housing market have led to a crisis within the rental sector and Islanders have told the Isle of Wight County Press the situation is 'desperate'.

A combination of rising house prices, demand for second homes here, and landlords selling up while the market is buoyant, means it is increasingly difficult for Island families to buy or rent.

Lettings agents are reporting that any property that comes on to the rental market is a rare commodity and will garner 30 applicants within the hour.

Tenants are fearful of not finding accommodation when their notice period is up, and others are not upsizing as their family grows, because they are too worried at giving up their existing home and not finding another.

One couple told the County Press they might have to consider moving off the Island because they simply can't find anywhere to rent.

Their landlord decided to sell and they were given their notice. The property sold for £30,000 above the asking price, such was the demand for it.

The man's father wrote to the CP: "I believe there is a desperate situation building here on the Island. The house owner found out that house prices have risen a lot and put the property on the market, giving them notice to move out.

"Having searched through a number of Island letting agents they have been informed that every rental property has a queue of 20 people waiting, and that people are not buying buy-to-lets but buying second homes at the moment.

"Despite being in work, they cannot find anywhere to live. If they move off the Island, does this mean a lot of services will lose staff because they have nowhere to live?"

Isle of Wight County Press:

A Ventnor family found themselves in a worrying situation when their landlord put their flat up for sale, along with a number of others in the portfolio.

The tenant said: "The housing situation is pretty bad at the moment with so many people looking for a property and the prices being so high.

"We haven’t found anywhere yet as there are hardly any properties available. Our current home is sold subject to completion.

"We are in a two bedroom and really need a three bedroom, but three-bed family homes are certainly lacking.

"I believe the Covid situation has exacerbated this situation as so many landlords are selling up, as so many people are wanting to move here now they are able to work from home.

"People from the mainland are so desperate to live here, they offer way over the asking price.

"The second homes and AirBnBs don’t help either.

"I would say there is definitely a housing crisis which needs to be addressed. There should be an adequate amount of housing available to local residents who have lived and worked here for years."

Ben Hollis, director of Lancasters Estate Agents, said houses were selling within an average of 14 days and the market was buoyant, but this was impacting on the rental market.


He said: "It is a simple supply and demand thing, due to a 'perfect storm' of events.

"Stamp duty is a red herring — no one uproots their family to save a few hundred pounds. There is more to it than that.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"A lot of people found out they could work from home, and people didn't need to live within the M25 for work anymore.

"People who were waiting for semi-retirement before making the move started doing it earlier.

"There's been a big influx of mainland buyers, and people already on the Island are looking for bigger places.

"People want space now, they want to work from home so they are looking for office space, garages to convert, extra bedrooms. Those living in apartments now want gardens.

"Profits for landlords aren't as big these days due to changes in taxation and fears of changes in capital gains tax. Additionally, landlords get good money if they sell now."

Rental properties are now like gold dust.

Ben said on average, 30 people will stake an interest in a rental property as soon as it is marketed, and it is then taken off the market within the hour.

Sue Davidge, lettings manager at Arthur Wheeler, said they were experiencing the same trend.

She said landlords are removing properties from the market by selling them.

She said: "We've got the situation where tenants have been given notice and should be moving out soon, but they've got nowhere to go.

"We have, on average, 20 to 30 calls per property as soon as the advert goes live, as demand is outstripping supply.

"People in one-beds aren't moving up to two-beds because they can't find anything, and the average family home is really hard to come by."

Social media is awash with people asking if anyone knows any properties for rent.

What can be done about the rental problem? Does Cornwall have the answer?