Rental market 'nightmare' as end of moratorium inches closer

Hopeless situation: Nurelle Lucas is currently trying to move before her lease ends, but rental demand is so high she is struggling to find a new place. Photo: Claire Sadler.
Hopeless situation: Nurelle Lucas is currently trying to move before her lease ends, but rental demand is so high she is struggling to find a new place. Photo: Claire Sadler.

When Nurelle Lucas signed a rental lease six months ago she had no idea she could be facing homelessness at the end of March.

The "depressing" reality set in when she got a letter in early January informing her the lease wouldn't be renewed.

As Nurelle set out in the rental market to find a new home, the single mum quickly began to question her chances of getting a place in less than two months.

Dozens of couples were crowding into inspections, asking prices exceeded her budget of $350 per week and up to 50 applications were knocked back.

"It's just been a stressful, horrible, disappointing nightmare," Nurelle said.

"There is a whole line of people to view one house and the rents have clearly gone up.

"Every time you go to view a house, you hope you're going to get it but then you get a rejection letter or don't even get notified.

"Sometimes I even book the viewing and then suddenly get notified it's already been taken when it's only just become available."

Nurelle is not the only one struggling to find a rental as the end of WA's moratorium on tenancy agreements inches closer.

Rental vacancies in the Peel region have dwindled, with availabilities dropping from 394 to 93 in the last 12 months.

It's just been a stressful, horrible, disappointing nightmare

Nurelle Lucas

With so few rentals to choose from, Nurelle like many others, has had to start looking at houses she would previously never rent.

"I have no standards right now. If it's available I'll put in an application because I'm that desperate," she said.

"I have two kids at home so I'm looking for a three bedroom house but I'm going to have to downsize considerably.

"I was trying to look at houses close to the kid's school but I'm having to branch out to Golden Bay and Falcon way."

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Despite looking at rentals that don't meet her needs, Nurelle said she could be faced with homelessness when the moratorium ends on March 28.

"I would have to make alternate arrangements such as couch surfing otherwise stay in my car, which is very small," she said.

"I'd have to put some stuff into storage, which is another expense I would have to maintain.

"I'm hoping it doesn't come to that - still in the back of my mind there is that niggling sensation that reality is going to check in soon."