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Rental reality is grim for rural families

This family of six need a home - and soon

by Susanna Freymark, 01/28/2021, 3 min read

THE Hayman family must leave their Colches St home in Casino because the landlord is moving his brother in.

They have rented the property for three years.

With four children living at home and two elderly dogs, finding a new rental is proving difficult.

They have moved eight times since 2006 when Kelly and Sean Hayman got together.

They have lived in Wardell, in Evans Head twice, Swan Bay and in four houses in Casino.

“We have a great rental history and can pay up to $450 a week,” Kelly Hayman said.

Their ideal rental would be in Evans Head because they are keen on fishing. The whole family fishes and they like nothing better than to head out in their tinnie and fish some more.

“We’ve put our names down to look at a lot of properties.”

People don’t want to rent to a family with kids and pets, Kelly said.

One house they looked at near Evans Head was beyond repair with part of the ceiling falling through.

A search on real estate websites revealed mainly units for rent in Evans Head ranging in price from $290–$350 but they are too small for the Hayman family.

A suitable house in Woodburn St in Evans Head was listed at $900 a week.

Kelly and Sean looked at a “beautiful house on acreage” in Bungawalbin but the rent was $630 a week.

Listings for Casino had houses available for rent from $370–$450 but these only had three bedrooms.

In Kyogle, a three-bedroom rental on Knights Rd was $350 and in Mummulgum a three-bedroom house on the Bruxner Highway was $300 a week.

The houses are difficult to get with a lot of people vying for them. Finding a five-bedroom house is even harder, Kelly said.

By contrast a one-bed plus study in Mullumbimby was available for $500 a week.

The situation is made worse by the number of people moving from the expensive coast and from the cities.

A relative of the Haymans’ next-door neighbour bought a house in Casino sight unseen.

If you have a five-bedroom house to rent, contact Kelly Hayman on 0488 220 871.

RENTING A HOUSE

Casino

Mark Formaggin from PRD Casino said the number of people displaced by the property boom is unprecedented.

“There are a lot of homes that have come out of the rental pool because they have been sold.”

There is no new housing and the rental pool has shrunk, he said.

With large numbers of people wanting to live in the Northern Rivers, Casino is one of the more affordable areas and there is a lot of pressure for renters.

Covid was only a minor impact, the real issue was the shortage of low-cost housing, Mr Formaggin said.

Rentals in Casino have risen by an extra $80-$100 a week.

“It’s only going to get harder for people,” he said.

Evans Head

Dianne O’Farrell from LJ Hooker in Evans Head said there has always been a problem with affordable rentals in the town.

“It’s critical everywhere at the moment,” she said.

When the Pacific Highway workers left the area, everyone thought that it would get easier, but the homes were occupied by owners.

“With covid, people aren’t going away,” Ms O’Farrell said.

“We have a lot to do with other agents and everyone has nothing to offer.”

Northern Rivers Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service were contacted for comment.

This house in Woodburn St in Evans Head is available to rent for $900 a week.