Rental crisis: ‘We just want a home before our baby arrives’

Dekan Haugen and Hayley Sligar are expecting their second baby in September, and are desperately trying to get a roof over their heads before that day arrives.

The young couple, who already have a daughter, Savannah, 1, moved from Texas, a small town on the Queensland/New South Wales border, to Brisbane for work, and have applied for “50-plus” properties across Brisbane.

“We are currently staying with Dekan’s grandfather at Deception Bay,” Hayley said.

“He (grandfather) gave us his room and he is now sleeping in the garage.

“His other two sons are also living here so there are six of us in a three-bedroom house.

“I feel terrible that we have taken over his house.”

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Hayley Sligar with daughter Savannah Haugen, 1, at the Deception Bay house where they are living with relatives after having 50-plus applications knocked back. Dekkan was at work. Photo Steve Pohlner

Hayley recently handed back the keys to their Texas rental, but spent over three months trying to find a place to live in Brisbane before the move.

They moved after Dekan secured work as a treelopper, with employment opportunities scarce in the outback town.

She said there was “heaps and heaps of people” at every inspection, and she felt their young age was a barrier.

“We are making enough money and have good references but there is just so much competition it is crazy,” she said.

“There are just so many tenants to choose from.”

The couple were forced to reach out on social media for help finding a home.

“I know this is a long shot but I am looking for somewhere to rent, my partner and I have had to suddenly relocate for work opportunities and we have applied for nearly every rental in the area and it’s not looking great,” the post said.

Hayley said they were willing to move anywhere in Brisbane.

“We just want somewhere before our second baby arrives,” she said.

“It is so tough at the moment.”

Vacancy rates have tanked right across Queensland, including Brisbane. Picture David Clark

Queensland’s vacancy rates are at record lows, with countless desperate people seeking help to find a rental on social media.

They include young families, single parents, flood victims and domestic violence survivors.

The vacancy rate in Brisbane was just 1.1 per cent in the March quarter.

It was even lower in the Greater Brisbane area (0.7%) and Moreton Bay region (0.5%), and is just 0.4 per cent on the GoldCoast and 0.5 per cent on the Sunshine Coast.

There is next to nothing available in the Southern Downs or on the Tablelands, where the vacancy rate is just 0.1 per cent,while it is 0.2 per cent in Goondiwindi, Gympie and South Burnett.

It was marginally better in Bundaberg (0.4%), Mackay (0.6%), Rockhampton (0.4%), Toowoomba (0.3%), Cairns (0.5%) and Townsville(0.6%).

Renters line up to inspect a property in Kedron, Thursday, May 26, 2022 – Picture: Richard Walker

Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said one of the biggest concerns was rapidly rising rents, and tenants being asked to leave without grounds.

“Some are seeing the same property then relisted for substantially more rent,” Ms Carr said, adding that the next round of tenancy law reforms should consider greater controls around rent increases.

“If it goes up by more than 20 per cent above CPI, the landlord or the agent should provide proof of improvements to the property, to prove it is not just opportunistic,” she said.

“There are people living in cars, tents, caravans in yards, because the market is so tight and rents are soaring.”

REAL ESTATE: Renters line up to inspect a unit for rent in Kedron. Image: Debra Bela.

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Rental crisis: ‘We just want a home before our baby arrives’

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