A New South Wales Coastal Council is asking 7,500 holiday home owners from Canberra and Sydney to make their properties available to renters to help alleviate the area’s housing shortage.
More than a third of all houses in Eurobodalla are second homes for people from outside
The local council is urging non-resident installment payers to offer their holiday homes on the long-term rental market
- Real estate agents say landlords have the benefit of stable income when they have a permanent tenant
Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Mathew Hatcher has written to a total of some 8,000 non-resident installment payers who own homes along the south coast, urging them to consider renting for one to two years while long-term solutions can be found.
“We know that many Canberrans, and I was one of them, come to this area as a holiday destination every summer,” Councilor Hatcher said.
“And there is no doubt, we want you down here, we need your money, we need you as a tourist for this region.
“We cannot wait years for houses to be built. We must now address the rental housing shortage in our community.”
Some 4,000 homes are owned by Sydney residents in the Eurobodalla Shire, which stretches from South Durras in the north to beyond Tilba Tilba in the south.
A further 3,500 are owned by Canberrans, 280 are owned by Victorians and several hundred more are owned by people living interstate or abroad.
When 500 homes were destroyed in the Eurobodalla Shire during the Black Summer Bushfires in 2020, the council made a similar appeal to holiday home owners across the country.
“More than 80 homes have been placed on the market,” Cr Hatcher said.
Families facing the winter in tents, caravans
The lack of affordable rental accommodation in the area has resulted in more than 50 people living in a campsite near Moruya because they have no alternative.
More than a third of all homes in the Eurobodalla are second homes for people who live permanently outside the area.
Mr Hatcher said he wanted to avoid taking a regulatory route of the kind being pursued in Byron Bay, where local councils are reducing the number of day care centers that can be made available for short-term holiday stays.
“It’s not ideal for a local council because obviously we want people to invest and we need tourist accommodation,” he said.
“But we’re at a sticky point.”
He said some tourism companies cannot find enough staff to work because there are no houses to move into.
Long-term tenants “safer option”
Moruya real estate agent Samantha Sheather said there is very little rental property on the market right now.
She said it makes economic sense for landlords to have permanent tenants, rather than using their homes as short-term accommodation during the peak holiday season.
“You’ve got the four-week rent that’s on deposit with the bailiffs, you’ve got the employment and ID checks [and] They don’t inventory every cup and saucer in the house,” she said.
But, Ms Sheather said, some vacation rental owners have been hesitant because of new regulations to protect long-term renters as a result of the pandemic.
“I speak to many potential landlords who are still put off [COVID] moratorium on tenant evictions and worry that they won’t be able to fund their own mortgage because they can’t bring someone in and kick them out if they stop paying the rent,” she said.
Mr Hatcher said he didn’t blame people for wanting a return on their investment but hoped those who could afford to rent out their homes would do so.
“We know not everyone can do that, I don’t expect every house to come back on the market,” he said.
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