A single mum and her three children are living in a car as Australia’s out-of-control rental crisis keeps getting worse.
Perth mum Kristin has applied for emergency housing, but was told there is a three-year waiting list.
‘I feel like a mother that has failed her kids because I can’t put a roof over their heads,’ she told A Current Affair.
‘It’s not something the government should be allowing – a three-year wait for three children on the streets.’
Kristin is far from alone, with the crisis hitting people from all different age groups and incomes.
Single mother Kristin (pictured) and her three children are living in a car as Australia’s out-of-control rental crisis keeps getting worse
Kristin sleeps in her car with her three kids
Sydney woman Milly Bannister, 26, is also feeling the pinch.
Despite earning a good salary, she now fears how she’ll pay her bills after her rent jumped a massive 35 per cent.
‘That’s $230 a week, almost $12,000 a year,’ she said.
‘For me, that’s $6,000 of after-tax money and I am not getting any wage rise.’
She said she was feeling ‘a lot of stress, disappointment and frustration’.
Ms Bannister lives in an apartment managed by Meriton – one of Australia’s biggest construction companies that manages around 10,000 units across the nation.
Sydney woman Milly Bannister, 26, is feeling the pinch, despite earning a good salary
She said apartment owners were pushing for big rental increases and six-month, not 12-month, leases as the market is hot and foreign students are coming back.
‘Have you seen the Meriton scandal? It’s absolutely cooked,’ Ms Bannister said in a TikTok video.
‘Basically this shady email was leaked from Meriton bosses in head office to let all of their landlords know they need to be pushing rents as hard as possible and signing six month leases so they increase the rent more often.’
With a good job, though, she is in a more fortunate position than many others.
‘It’s hard, but I am going to suck it up and pay, because I don’t want to be out there competing for other rentals,’ she said.
‘This case isn’t extreme or unique though – it’s happening to everyone and it’s legal.’
Leo Patterson Ross, CEO of the Tenants’ Union of NSW compared looking for a place to rent to a ‘competitive bloodsport’.
‘We’re hearing every day from people who are applying for, sometimes, hundreds of properties and missing out.
‘We’re seeing lines of hundreds of people lining up for apartments,’ he said, ‘traipsing across the city, applying for place after place that they are not going to get.’
Rent increases in mainland states in past 12 months
State Monthly rise Yearly rise
WA $180 $2,160
QLD $177 $2,124
VIC $169 $2,028
SA $158 $1,896
NSW $142 $1,704
Vacancy rates across Australia are at an all-time low. In Sydney and Melbourne, just 1 per cent of rental properties are available to rent.
Brisbane’s vacancy rate sits at 0.8 per cent. It’s half that in Hobart, and in Perth and Adelaide it’s worse, with just 0.3 per cent available – meaning just one out of every 300 rental properties can be rented at the moment.
The problem is spreading to the regions too, where rental availability has fallen to 0.8 per cent.
‘It’s actually regional towns where there’s been a large influx (of people), that’s where we’ve seen the biggest increase in people sleeping in really unsafe and unsuitable places,’ said Mr Patterson Ross.
Ingrid, another Australian struggling to find a home, has been couch-surfing and living in her car in south-east Queensland for almost two years while looking for somewhere for her and her dogs to live.
‘I’ve been looking for places I can afford that will accept dogs in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland,’ she said.
‘But when you have a look at how many rentals are available in those three states combined, it’s only under 120 at the moment.
‘I really can’t see an end of this for me. Can it get much worse, like what am I going to do?’
Adelaide pensioner Sandra, 75, was told her rent would go up 10 per cent from $300 to $330 when her lease is up next month.
Adelaide pensioner Sandra (pictured) is wondering how she will pay her next rental bill
That $30 increase is more than she can afford, so she’s been looking for somewhere else to live, but six months on she still hasn’t been able to find any place suitable.
She applied for 10 properties in a regional area that were affordable but was passed over every time and now she’s worried she won’t find a place before her lease is up.
‘I don’t want to be a whinger and I am a very independent woman, but now I need help,’ Sandra said.
‘I’m quite fearful. I don’t want to end up on the street, but that’s where I see myself.’
Rental vacancies are at an all-time lows across Australia
Sydney – 1 per cent of properties available to rent
Melbourne – 1 per cent of properties available to rent
Brisbane – 0.8 per cent of properties available to rent
Hobart – 0.4 per cent of properties available to rent
Perth – 0.3 per cent of properties available to rent
Adelaide – 0.3 per cent of properties available to rent
Regional – 0.8 per cent of properties available to rent