Retiree, 71, facing homelessness after landlord doubled rent from dilapidated apartment she lived in for 13 years: ‘I thought it was my castle’
- Five pensioners forced out of rental properties due to price increases
- The weekly price of rental flats in Geelong doubled
A retiree is forced to leave the unit she’s called home for more than a decade after the landlord doubled her rent.
Joan, 71, is one of five retirees living in the same apartment block in Melbourne’s south-west Geelong to see rents rise 100 percent overnight.
If the retirees want to stay in their accommodations, they will have to pay an additional $177 per week, increasing their weekly rent to $350.
Joan is at her wits end and says she just can’t afford to cover the increase, which means she could end up homeless.
“I wish it hadn’t come to this, I don’t want to leave,” she said.
Mebourne pensioner Joan (pictured) has been forced out of the flat she has rented for more than a decade after the landlord doubled her rent overnight while other pensioners on the same block were forced out
Joan has lived in the house for 13 years and described the property as her ‘castle’.
The two bedroom unit is currently plagued with several issues that have not been resolved by the landlord.
The carpet is in dire need of repair, there’s a leak in the garage, and there’s a door that opens to a heavy fall onto concrete.
Robert, who is another tenant on the same block, said the increase is excessive and is no longer affordable.
The cost-of-living crisis was somewhat addressed with a multibillion-dollar package announced in the federal budget earlier this week.
The $14.6 billion package will be used for rent and bill relief for the country’s most vulnerable.
It will grant youp up to an additional $31 per fortnight for tenants already receiving rent assistance, which equates to an additional $2.21 per day.
JobSeeker payments will also increase by $40 every two weeks starting in September, with up to $500 going to eligible households to help meet rising electricity costs.
However, the pensioners who are now looking for a new home will not be of any use.
“I’m going to live with my son temporarily until I can live elsewhere… I went to government housing this morning and they said there’s a waiting list because they give to the homeless first,” Joan said.
The retiree said she is considering joining the long queue for social housing, but faces a several-year wait.
There are over 57,000 people on the waiting list in both NSW and Victoria and over 27,000 in the queue in Queensland.
Retirees in a block of flats in Geelong, Melbourne (pictured) have seen an increase of $177 a week, pushing their weekly rent to $350
CoreLogic’s head of research for Australia, Eliza Owen, said the federal government’s rent relief plan could actually exacerbate the rent crisis, as JobSeeker was also increased by $40 every two weeks from September – on top of biennial indexation for inflation.
“With housing supply initiatives not scheduled until 2024 and no cap on rent increases for private landlords, there is a greater risk that these income increases will only further depress rental values,” she said.
Ms Owen said the $31 fortnightly increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance for 1.35 million households from September is not enough to help rent affordability, with data from SQM Research showing a rental vacancy rate of 1.1 per cent on the markets of the capital.
Sydney’s median weekly apartment rent rose 30.1 per cent to $654.45 in the year to April, following the return of international students and the Treasury Department’s expectation that a record 400,000 migrants will arrive in Australia in 2022-23 .