I started renting about four years ago, when I separated and moved out of my old home with my two children. Since then, my wage hasn't changed, but the rent has already nearly doubled. Now, I've been forced to make a decision about moving out in just one week.
When I moved out of the house, I had only my two kids and the clothes we had on. We put our old family home on the market, finally managing to sell it after two years... and for much less than we had actually got it. I'm a nurse, and I didn't have any cash to consider buying my own place, so I started renting.
I found a small, three-bedroom apartment in Mosta within my budget, which was (and still is) €400 per month. It was tough to pay rent from one income and with two teenagers who are still at school, but at least I was coping.
When I started renting, the landlady wanted a yearly contract, but I wanted a longer one because I was afraid that she would raise the rent. The agent reassured me that wouldn't be the case, so I accepted.
Photo: Tony Hisgett
After just one year, the rent went up to €550. The following year, it hit €600. Now, the landlady is asking for €700.
My wage is still the same as it was the first time I started renting, so my budget is still €400 a month. For obvious reasons, I couldn't accept, because it's just impossible for me to pay the rent. But that's not the only hard part. I was given just one week to make a huge, life-chasing decision, and one month to evacuate the place.
As things stand, I need to be out of there by the 25th of August.
I'm a good person; I tend to empathise with everyone, but this time, I simply couldn't. Whether she intended to or not, this woman put me through hell. I was desperate and didn't know what to do or who to turn to.
One of my last resorts was sending an email to the Prime Minister asking for help, hoping there was a chance I could rent a government apartment or get some sort of subsidy. But since I'm a nurse and I don't live off minimum wage, I don't qualify for any help of that sort.
Yesterday saw a glimmer of hope in a very troubling time. A friend of mine contacted me to let me know he has an empty apartment which he's willing to rent out to me for €450 a month, at least until I can find something to stay.
If it wasn't for him and his generosity myself and my kids would be homeless by the end of the month. If it weren't for him, my family would be on the streets.
What I don't understand is how this is even allowed to happen. I'm not a lazy person, I work my ass off for more than 60 hours a week. The hope is to save enough to afford a deposit on my own place, but I have to do all this while still paying this rent.
But if the prices keep going up as they are, not only am I not able to save for my own place, I won't be able to rent a home. In just four short years I went from finding a comfortable place I could afford, to being forced out as prices nearly doubled.