Fight for a home

Written by David Everett

It’s ironic that my first column for Alive Magazine was about finding my place in our new rental house, and discovering just what having a shed meant to me as a person.

Not as a male, but to me individually. Bugger the traditionalism of a shed being the man’s space, I really couldn’t care less about that, but what having a space like this for the first time meant to me and how it really helped me cement this house we had moved to as feeling like a home.

Now this is where the irony of my first Alive column comes in!

This month is the ‘home’ edition and I am sadly writing about how we have lost that home.

This house, our home with my shed was intended as a long term arrangement, not just by us but by the owners as well.

After about 11 months of renting the home, I received a phone call from the agent letting us know that the owners had decided to sell and gave us two months to find a new place.

Technically the agent was calling the owners about it, but they erroneously dialled my number and started talking to me about it before I interrupted them to say; “you know you are speaking with the tenant and not the owner right?”. Cue awkward silence and dropping of the bombshell that we
would not have our home anymore.

What changed in the owner’s situation we don’t know and while we were and still are devastated, we couldn’t fault them as we do believe they intended it to be long term for us.

Something happened and here we are in possibly the worst time for trying to secure a new rental house. Turns out we really aren’t alone in this situation. Chatting to others and reading the news it seems that the Fraser Coast is at it’s lowest occupancy rate ever and there are many others having their homes sold while the market is going so strong.

We knew it wasn’t a great time to be looking for a new home but it didn’t hit hard until we went to the first viewing. It was impossible to miss the house as their was already a crowd of other hopefuls waiting in the front yard, plus others still sitting in their cars waiting to join them. Initially we weren’t too worried as we are excellent tenants; 13 years of renting with never a missed rental payment, only moving out when the previous homes and this place were going up for sale, and taking great care of the house (even doing maintenance and simple repair jobs ourselves).

Many rejected applications later we are discovering that this excellent history isn’t getting us over the line. It’s hard to compete when others are offering $50 or more per week than the asking price. That’s not an urban legend told by despondent and desperate tenancy hopefuls, it’s happened
right in front of us as well as to a few friends in a similar situation.

So here we are, looking down the barrel at I don’t know what.

The six of us bunking in with friends, renting a vacant holiday house until we get a place or our returned bond runs out. So for a change my column isn’t ending on a hopeful or happy note, it’s ending stressed and sad as it is for many others at this moment. We’ve given up on finding a home, now we just want a place to live.