Combating Taree’s rental crisis with transitional housing

Combating Taree’s rental crisis with transitional housing


The rental crisis across Australia is reaching extreme levels, with some of the biggest shortages occurring in regional areas forcing vulnerable people into incredibly challenging situations.

Owner and managing director of LJ Hooker Taree, Amanda Tate has witnessed first-hand just how bad the rental crisis is in her community with many tenants unable to find any accommodation at all and forced to live on the street.

In an upcoming episode of the Courageous Conversations podcast with Leanne Pilkington, Amanda talks about the creative steps she’s taken to help her community and put a roof over the head of those people that desperately need it.

She said the rental crisis in Taree has been coming on for a number of years, which was exacerbated by the bushfires that destroyed over 100 homes and the influx of people during Covid.

“We’re in a desperate situation now, where we’ve got motels full, pubs full, caravan parks full and people backpacking with family and people living on the streets,” Ms Tate said.

“So we’ve taken a different approach.

“Years ago we decided it wasn’t worth fighting with tenants who weren’t making their homes sustainable, by doing things like not paying their rent or not looking after their property.

“So we started to educate them which led to transitional housing.

“We organised a hotel and were housing people whose name was on TICA [tenancy database], so that had a bad reference, but their lives had changed.”

Ms Tate said she started to educate renters who had often been caught in tough situations like marriage breakdowns or domestic violence and organised accommodation for them, to help them get their lives back on track.

She currently houses around 100 tenants in transitional housing in Taree across a number of different landlords.

“We gave them furnished accommodation and let them build up their reference,” she said.

“We’d have a caretaker on site and actually teach them about paying rent and there was a lot of social work that comes into it.

“We found that we were having a good success rate and we formed a relationship with Compass Housing, The Samaritans and the women’s hostel.”

Ms Tate said she is also working with a number of private landlords to help house these vulnerable renters and has also purchased some accommodation herself that she uses to house renters that can’t find accommodation.

She currently has a waiting list and is still struggling to meet the needs of the community in the current crisis.

“It’s sometimes hard picking the genuinely needy people from those that need a second chance,” she said.

“We always like to look at the good and sometimes that does pear shaped, but we learn from that and put systems in place to cope with that.

“Sometimes that’s a little harder on the staff.”

Ms Tate has been helping needy families in the local community for six to eight years and has seen many happy stories during that time.

“When we see them happy and they move on into a house and long term rental, then they come in and say hello and they are so grateful, that’s when it’s all worthwhile and you know you’ve done the right thing,” she said.

“As real estate agents we don’t realise that we have a massive responsibility to house people.

“While landlords make the ultimate decisions we are the ones recommending and taking their information and we’re the one pointing them in the right direction.

“There a lot more to it than just leasing homes or selling homes.

“After 26 years in the industry I feel that responsibility comes back to me as a business owner to ensure that we do our bit in town to make sure people are comfortable and a place to call home.”

Ms Tate said she would like to see a situation where government support for tenants is paid directly to the property managers to avoid situations where tenants can’t pay their rent and are put in an even more difficult situation.

“I feel the government could do a lot to improve and spend those funds in better ways that are beneficial that will keep people in homes.”

To get a copy of the upcoming magazine featuring our special feature on the current rental crisis visit eliteagent.com/subscribe.



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