Annette Roberts is desperate to find accommodation for her two children, Savannah, 7, and Bradley, 6.
Annette Roberts is desperate to find accommodation for her two children, Savannah, 7, and Bradley, 6. Cathy Adams

Rental market reaches crisis point

ANNETTE ROBERTS, of Goonellabah, has been looking for a place to rent for four months and so far she has found nothing.

She is not alone – the Northern Rivers is experiencing a severe rental shortage.

“One place I went to there were 15 other people there. I didn’t even bother putting in an application,” the mother of two said.

“There are just so many people going for them.”

Ms Roberts said the search to find a place for her family was disheartening, and sometimes real estate agents didn’t even bother to tell her an application had been unsuccessful.

Ms Roberts currently lives in a flat owned by Women Up North Housing, a service which provides supported accommodation for up to one year for women and children affected by domestic violence.

She has five weeks until her year with the organisation is up.

General manager Deni Connorsaid the organisation’s clients had a particularly hard time finding accommodation.

“Sometimes the perpetrators (of domestic violence) have smashed up a rental property,” Ms Connor said.

“The woman is usually holding the lease.”

Ms Connor said that when rental properties were damaged, or tenants failed to keep up with the rent, their names might end up on a national tenant database.

Once a name had been listed it became extremely difficult to find a rental property, she said.

However, in the case of Ms Roberts, there is no problem with her rental record.

The service is able to put up a $1000 bond for landlords willing to give its clients a chance.

“These women are getting stronger and empowered, but it is still held against them,” Ms Connor said.

The rental shortage is widespread across the Northern Rivers, she said.

Nimbin Real Estate property manager Nathalie Dease said the rental property shortage in Nimbin was chronic.

She said between three and four rental properties became available each year, while there was a waiting list of about 50 people.

Rents had also climbed from an average of $200 a week to $300 a week over the past year, she said.

Landlords with available properties can contact Women Up North Housing on 6621 7730.



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