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Displaced families struggle for housing

BACK IN BUSINESS: The Route 66 Motel is currently operating at about 40 per cent capacity, relieving some of the pressures on Emerald’s rental property shortage. nk-301210-037
BACK IN BUSINESS: The Route 66 Motel is currently operating at about 40 per cent capacity, relieving some of the pressures on Emerald’s rental property shortage. nk-301210-037

DISPLACED families are being given priority for rental properties as Emerald’s rebuild gets into full swing, causing rental shortages throughout the town.

Local real estate agents confirmed yesterday no rental properties were available as families from the more than 1000 inundated homes began rebuilding their houses.

“We’re working frantically to get homes up to scratch to help meet demand,” Century 21 owner manager Di Hancock-Mills said.

“Displaced families are taking priority for our rental properties, and we are talking to the Department of Communities to organise housing for displaced families after the floods.

“As we find the rental properties... we give them to the families.”

Century 21 is among the real estate agencies that have begun housing the flood-affected families in homes for sale as the rental shortage takes a firm hold throughout Emerald.

Emerald Real Estate owner Jason Campbell said his agency had 60 people on the waitlist for homes to become available.

“January is typically busy with a lot of work transfers to the area, but now, there is a mix of workers and displaced families from the floods which is making the shortage worse,” Mr Campbell said.

“I don’t foresee the demand in rentals decreasing for another 12 months at least.”

The grim outlook for rental properties is to be expected as the devastating floods sent water over the floorboards of 1060 homes, increasing pressure on the normally tight rental market.

“There has always been a rental shortage in Emerald, but that’s been compounded by the circumstances in the town following the floods,” Elders Real Estate manager Wendy Thornberry said.

“We are advising people not to increase rent for profiteering because it is immoral.”

Motel accommodation has also been impacted, with the Midlander Motor Inn owner David Hart advising people to book weeks in advance.

“Accommodation is going to get harder than what it already is,” Mr Hart said.

Route 66 owner Paul Pittman has returned his 63-room establishment to 40 per cent operating capacity out of necessity.

“We got 150mm through the bottom rooms but we’ve gotten in quickly, sanitised the rooms, have 10 dehumidifiers and 30 fans running day and night to make sure they dry out and are clean and safe.”


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