A FIREFIGHTER and a nurse from Swanage are being forced to move out of the area because they can't find another rental home after being evicted.

Chantel Marriott, Joss Gibson, their three children and two dogs have been evicted from their home in Swanage and are facing homelessness if they don't find somewhere to live this month.

They believe the number of holiday homes and short term lets, coupled with increasing rent costs, is pricing locals out of the area.

The couple have been looking for a new home every day but only two properties have come available in the area since they were given notice, both three bedroom houses, priced at 1500 pounds a month.

Bournemouth Echo:

Chantel said: "We've lived in Swanage for 28 years and my partner's lived here all his life.

"We've just lost everything. And we've worked our asses off to be in this situation that we are in now where we are just about breaking even each month.

"The kids are losing their home. They're losing their life as they know it and we are going to struggle now to put food on the table if Joss loses his income.

"It's having a massive impact, even just packing boxes now. It's heart breaking."

The family received the no-fault eviction to allow the landlord to move their own family, who are also struggling to rent, into the property.

Chantel said: "When we took that property we were told it would be for life, there was no reason that they would need to sell it or move anybody else in."

"We thought we were in a good position at the moment. We were already paying quite an expensive rent, but we knew we had that security, so it didn't make any difference to us. And now it's like our world has just come crashing down."

The couple have been offered a property in Langton which will force Joss to give up his job as a firefighter due to being outside of the area, this also means the couple's mortgage offer will be revoked.

Chantel said: "We were just in a position where we could start looking at mortgages. We could start taking the kids on holiday and now we can’t do any of that now.

"The uncertainty is horrendous, because even if we take the property in Langton it's temporary, we don't know how long that's going to be for.

"And if the rental prices keep increasing, we've got no hope of ever moving back to Swanage."

Chantel believes there are enough holiday homes in the area and the council needs to start providing for the locals too.

She said: "I think it's absolutely disgusting. It physically makes me feel sick that our local families and especially the young local families that work in the town, can't find anywhere to live. Swanage is going to end up being a holiday village before we know it.

"It's going to be full of retired people and it's going to be full of holiday makers, but there's not going to be anybody to run the shops that they want to go to, because they won't be able to afford to live here.

"When you drive around in the winter, it's like a ghost town. There's no lights on in the houses. There's nobody walking the streets. There's nobody in the local parks. It's literally a ghost town."

Chantel wants the council to prioritise ensuring local people have a place to live.

She said: "People don't stress about finding somewhere to stay for the summer because there's enough holiday homes. I think this time we put a stop to them.

"There's plenty here. Now we don't need anymore. The council needs to stop using social housing providers and they need to actually build some affordable housing, some rental properties in the town for local people."

In the year to March 2021, 301 new affordable homes were built by Housing Associations or acquired by Dorset council. 

In the last year, to March 2022, the number of new houses and flats was raised to 529. 

The council says this has helped it to respond to pressures relating to homelessness, as well as providing new homes to people waiting on the housing register.

Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “I am delighted to see excellent progress in providing new homes across the Dorset Council area.

“Everyone knows rents and costs are rising and being able to provide the right kind of affordable housing really does make a difference to people’s lives.

“Well done to the Housing Associations and our council teams for getting so many homes built during challenging economic times.”