Exorbitant rents not welcome

MONEY-GRUBBING mining town landlords charging exorbitant rents aren’t welcome to feed on flood misery in Emerald, warned Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire.

Cr Maguire vented his anger after discovering rent on a standard four-bedroom home had been raised to $900 a week late last month.

“I nearly fell of my… well I was standing at the time, but this person assured me they had been offered the house for $900 and I just shook my head,” he said.

“I know that gets paid in Moranbah and I’ve heard stories about Blackwater, but in this case I suspect it’s people profiteering off other people’s distress.”

A home in Emerald was a new listing yesterday at $750 a week, followed by another at Blue Gums estate for $700, and a handful, including duplexes, wanting more in than $500 a week.

Indicative of a housing shortage across the Bowen Basin, Dysart had two homes listed for $2000 a week, Moranbah’s dearest rental was $1700, and Blackwater had two properties for rent – one for $700, the other $500.

“There is clearly a shortage of housing in the area but this is not the way we in Emerald do business,” Cr Maguire said.

“I don’t think it’s right that when demand for rental property has been driven through the roof by a natural disaster, that people should be taking advantage of that.”

CD Adams principal Clinton Adams said a meeting of all real estate agents and a flood recovery subgroup next Tuesday would clarify the supply and demand situation.

“We have had meaningful talks with our landlords and 99% of them have been very caring and understanding towards people who are in dire straights for accommodation,” he said.

“It’s just unfortunate demand is so high we physically can’t help people.

“There’s a lot of people who are desperate… we just hope these insurance companies act quickly and get people back into their homes.”

Mr Adams said his agency had more than 40 rental applications on the books, a situation he believed was common to other Emerald agents.

Cr Maguire said the disgraceful actions of some landlords was a body-blow for individuals and families trying to recover from the floods.

“It really is hitting people when they are down and that is not the way we do things in the Central Highlands,” he said.

“Out true community spirit was demonstrated during the floods and in the weeks afterwards when we all pitched in and looked after each other.”

Mr Adams said 19 two-bedroom units coming onto the market in Gray St would take some pressure off the rental situation.

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