Theirs is an everyday story of modern family life.The Percy family, you see, are the 'precariat'. Renters, in other words, on the private housing market.
The Percys’ £750 a month rent takes half of Rob’s earnings as a site manager at a local school. Emma knows someone in a rare council home in the area, paying just £450 a month. “That would make a very big difference to us,” she says, “but the council told us not to bother trying, as we’d never get one.”Boo! Hiss! Eeeeeeevil Tory cuts!
When their first child was born, 14 years ago, Rob and Emma, who are now both 34, lived above a pub where Rob worked, but children weren’t allowed in staff quarters.Wait, what..? Why'd they have one, then?
Their next home lasted just one six-month let, after which the owner took back the flat to sell it. They lived with Emma’s parents for two years, until their next child was born.Hang on. Why do they keep having children?
Folkestone council offered emergency accommodation in a former Salvation Army hostel but, Emma recalls, “the toilet in the flat above leaked down on to us and even so it cost £800 a month”. Their next landlord raised the rent by £50 every six months, so they moved on: rents rise but pay doesn’t. In one home they had no working boiler for five months. They have been in their present home for 18 months and hope they can hold on here.Hasn't stopped them having a third child, though. You might wonder why...