Queensland family of five forced to live in car during rental housing crisis
Posted On March 31, 2022
A Queensland family of five forced to live in their car has described their desperate search for a place to live amid the state’s escalating rental property crisis.
Ipswich mum Shikera Maher said she had applied for over 300 rental properties since her lease ended in July last year, only to be turned down each time.
Since then, Ms Maher said the family has travelled from park to park while living in their car.
The family uses friends’ homes to shower and spends hundreds of dollars on fuel each week to keep the vehicle cool with air-conditioning overnight.
“The two 15-year-olds and 13-year-old, the 18-year-old sleeps in the passenger side and I sleep in the driver’s side,” Ms Maher said.
“I just want my kids to have stability back.”
Ms Maher said she has not been blacklisted by tenant authorities and can afford to pay rent, but low availability has pushed her family out of the rental market.
“There are a few houses where we have even offered more rent,” she said.
“I’ve even written to Annastacia [Palaszczuk, Queensland Premier] and said, like, do something.”
Ms Maher’s daughter, Tannayah, is waiting for relief from her family’s situation.
“I would die for a home,” she said.
In Ipswich, the rental vacancy rate is currently 0.9 per cent.
But low rental availability remains an issue throughout the state, particularly in the flood-affected south-east.
In Brisbane, the rental vacancy rate from the last quarter is 1.8 per cent.
Further north in the Moreton Bay region, 0.7 per cent of rentals are available.
In Caboolture and the Gold Coast, rental availability is at 0.6 per cent.
Ipswich property manager Jaimee Julian described the rental crisis as “out of control.”
“People are willing to pay more,” she said.
“Insurance companies are willing to pay the six-month rent for the tenants.”
Following this week’s Federal Budget reveal, Scott Morrison said the best solution for renters was to “help them buy a house”.
The Budget revealed the Home Guarantee Scheme will be extended for first home buyers, with 50,000 more people eligible for reduced home deposits of up to 5 per cent.
Under the scheme, eligible single parents will be able to purchase their first home with a 2 per cent deposit.
“That will hopefully ease the pressure a little bit by allowing some of those renters to make the transition to homeownership,” Antonia Mercorella from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) said.
This morning, Ms Maher’s application for social housing was approved.
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While on the waitlist, the search for a rental property continues.
Ms Maher said she never expected she would become homeless, warning other families of her painful reality.
“Don’t ever say that (it won’t happen) because the housing in Queensland at the moment is shocking.”