A coastal council in New South Wales is begging 7,500 holiday home owners from Canberra and Sydney to make their properties available to tenants to ease the region’s housing crisis.
More than a third of all houses in Eurobodalla are the second home for people outside the area
The municipal council encourages non-resident taxpayers to add their holiday homes to the long-term rental market
- Realtors say landlords have the benefit of a stable income if they have a permanent tenant
Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Mathew Hatcher has written to a total of around 8,000 non-resident taxpayers who own homes along the south coast, urging them to consider renting them out for one to two years while long-term solutions can be established.
“We know that many Canberrans, and I was one of them, use this area as their vacation destination every summer,” said Councilor Hatcher.
“And there’s no doubt about it, we want you down here, we need your money, we need you to be a tourist for this region.
“We can not wait for years for housing to be built. We need to address the shortage of rental housing in our community right now.”
About 4,000 homes in Eurobodalla Shire, stretching from South Durras in the north to past Tilba TIlba in the south, are owned by residents of Sydney.
A further 3,500 are owned by Canberrans, 280 are owned by Victorians and hundreds more are owned by people living intergovernmental or abroad.
When 500 homes were lost in the Eurobodalla Shire during the Black Summer Bushfires in 2020, the council made a similar prayer to vacation home owners across the country.
“More than 80 homes were put on the market,” Cr Hatcher said.
Families staying at campsites in the winter
The lack of affordable rental housing in the area has disappeared more than 50 people living on a campsite near Moruya because they have no alternative option.
More than a third of all houses in Eurobodalla are the second home for people living permanently outside the area.
Hatcher said he wanted to avoid going down a regulatory route, such as the one pursued in Byron Bay, where local councils reduce the number of days homes can be made available for short-term vacation stays.
“It’s not an ideal thing for a local council to do because of course we want people to invest and we need tourist accommodation,” he said.
“But we’re in a sticky place.”
He said some tourism companies could not find enough staff to operate because there were no homes they could move into.
Permanent tenants ‘safe option’
Moruya real estate agent Samantha Sheather said there were almost no properties on the market right now for renters.
She said it made good business sense for landlords to have permanent tenants instead of using their homes as short-term stays in high season.
“You have the four-week rent submitted to the bond board, you have work and personal reference checks [and] you do not do an inventory check on every cup and saucer in the house, “she said.
But, Ms Sheather said, some holiday renters were hesitant because of new rules protecting long-term renters as a result of the pandemic.
“I’m talking to a lot of potential landlords who are still intimidated [COVID] moratorium on eviction of tenants and worried that they will not be able to finance their own mortgage because they get someone in and will not be able to evict them when they stop paying the rent, ” she said.
Hatcher said he did not blame people for wanting to get a return on their investment, but was hopeful that those who could afford to rent their homes would do so.
“We know not everyone can do this, I do not expect all houses to come back on the market,” he said.
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