Young Cornish couple ‘pushed out of their hometown by students’

A young couple have vented their frustrations after claiming to have been forced to move out of their hometown because they are not students.

Rebecca Kitts and her boyfriend, Adam Sefton, who are both 20, have been struggling to rent in Falmouth now for the past couple of years and say rising rental costs and landlords favouring students over working professionals are to blame.

The pair, who currently live in a tiny property and pay above the county-average in rent and bills, have been looking for somewhere larger to live in Falmouth for over a year now, but just can’t afford it.

When they do find available properties in their price range, they say that estate agents or landlords often inform them the property is ‘students only’.

“My boyfriend and I started looking for a place to rent in Falmouth and at first glance there appeared to be a lot of choice,” says Rebecca, a trainee health and safety officer.

“Unfortunately when we enquired further there seemed to be a very large proportion that were restricted to students only and the landlords were not willing to consider us despite us both having full time jobs and being more capable of paying the same rent as a student.”

Rebecca Kitts and Adam Sefton, of Falmouth, are 20-years-old and struggling to rent property in Falmouth

“Whilst we appreciate that we would have to pay council tax on top of this, as students don’t, we were more than happy to pay this. We found that the only properties available to us to rent were either very dodgy, run down or way out of our price range.

“We are now living in a small attic flat and paying more than an average student would pay and have seen a large development of student accommodation being built in the area and a further development is under construction.

“These are modern, spacious and relatively luxurious but unfortunately not available for young local people.”

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The couple, who earn above minimum wage, say the property situation in the Cornish town – which is home to the only university in the county – is getting ridiculous.

Rebecca continued: “I have lived here my whole life and rent is just not cheap. We are now being made to leave and having to move to Penryn because it is cheaper, which we don’t want to do.

“Because we are not students we obviously have to pay all our bills and if you think about the price of council tax on top of that it all adds up.

“It’s frustrating when you start looking on agency websites and all you see is shared houses for students. We once enquired about one thinking we could live there and they told us we didn’t qualify as working professionals.

“I looked again the other day out of curiosity and it was six shared houses available and I couldn’t just find a simple flat for a local working couple.

Large crowds in Falmouth town centre in early August
(Image: Greg Martin)

“I’ve not really had a real reason why they wont allow us to live there not being students, instead I just get a reply saying they wont have us.”

As a result of her frustration, Rebecca has now set up a petition. She says she wants the local government to recognise that young people are being pushed away from their hometowns because they can’t afford the cost of living any longer.

“We are not exactly on minimum wage but we cant afford some of these small properties in Falmouth for more than £750 a month – we wouldn’t be able to live.

“We are trying to save for a mortgage at the same time as renting which is really difficult when you are paying that to rent and your other bills alongside that.”

“I have lived here my whole life and I wouldn’t say my boyfriend is from somewhere else because he has lived here a substantial amount of time.

“Some people might be lucky enough to have parents that might buy them a house or help them with renting a more expensive property but me and my boyfriend are doing it on our own.

“We don’t expect our parents to help us but having nowhere affordable and nothing to help locals means were going to be here for a very long time.”

Rebecca has enquired into a number of newer developments and house shares but has been told they are only for students
(Image: change.org)

“I live in Falmouth, work in Falmouth, Adam is a bartender in Falmouth and I don’t want to have to move to somewhere like Camborne or Redruth just because it is cheaper.”

Rebecca has started a change.org petition calling for more affordable rental properties for young people.

The petition reads: “We feel that this is a very unfair situation and that developers of these properties should be forced to allocate at least 25% of these developments to local working people, possibly up to a certain age, this would give young local couples or singles the opportunity to obtain a decent standard of accommodation at a reasonable price and in addition would help integrate the transient student population with the locals.”

Click here for more information and to sign it.

Cornwall Live