A coastal New South Wales council is begging 7,500 holiday home owners from Canberra and Sydney to make their properties available to renters to ease the region’s housing crisis.
More than a third of all houses in the Eurobodalla are the second homes of people from outside the area
The local council is urging non-resident ratepayers to add their holiday homes to the long-term rental market
- Real estate agents 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 about 8,000 non-resident ratepayers 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 a lot of Canberrans, and I was one of them, use this area as their holiday destination every summer,” Councillor Hatcher said.
“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’t wait years for homes to be built. We need to address the lack of rental properties in our community right now.”
About 4,000 homes in the Eurobodalla Shire, which stretches from South Durras in the north to past Tilba TIlba in the south, are owned by Sydney residents.
A further 3,500 are owned by Canberrans, 280 are owned by Victorians and several hundred more are owned by people who live interstate or overseas.
When 500 houses were lost in the Eurobodalla Shire during the Black Summer Bushfires in 2020, the council made a similar plea to holiday-home owners across the country.
“More than 80 homes were placed into the market,” Cr Hatcher said.
Families facing winter in tents, caravans
The shortage of affordable rental accommodation in the area has left more than 50 people living at a campground near Moruya because they have no alternative option.
More than a third of all houses in the Eurobodalla are the second homes of people who permanently reside outside the area.
Mr Hatcher said he wanted to avoid going down a regulatory route, like that being pursued in Byron Bay, where local councils reduce the number of days homes can be made available for short-term holiday stays.
“It’s not an ideal thing for a local council to do because we obviously want people investing, and we need tourist accommodation,” he said.
“But we’re in a sticky spot.”
He said some tourism businesses could not find enough staff to operate because there were no homes for them to move in to.
Permanent renters ‘safer option’
Moruya real estate agent Samantha Sheather said there were hardly any properties on the market right now for renters.
She said it made good business sense for landlords to have permanent tenants, rather than use their homes as short-term stay accommodation during the peak holiday period.
“You’ve got the four-week rent which is lodged with the bond board, you’ve got the work and personal reference checks [and] you’re not doing an inventory check on every cup and saucer in the house,” she said.
But, Ms Sheather said, some holiday rental owners were hesitant because of new rules protecting long-term tenants as a result of the pandemic.
“I’m talking to a lot of potential landlords that are still scared off by the [COVID] moratorium on tenant evictions and worried they won’t be able to finance their own mortgage because they’ll get someone in and won’t be able to kick them out when they stop paying the rent,” she said.
Mr Hatcher said he did not blame people for wanting to get a return on their investment, but was hopeful those who could afford to rent out their homes would do so.
“We know not everyone can do this, I do not expect every house to come back on the market,’ he said.
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