Housing crisis hasn't eased in the South West

A new year, but issues remain

As we enter 2021, housing and employment is still an issue in the South West with both being intertwined with each other.

The Mail has been reporting on the issues since June last year and while a range of different agencies have tried to help the situation, not much has changed.

In November 2020 the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association announced a collaboration with the local governments, chambers of commerce and the wine industry to provide an incentive for home owners to rent a spare room to a potential workers needing accommodation.

The program allows homeowners and occupiers to earn anywhere from $100-$300 per week from letting out their spare room, and in doing so will support local businesses to secure staff and contribute to the economic recovery of the region.

MRBTA joint chief executive Sharna Kearney said since starting the incentive, about 50 rooms had been advertised on platforms such as Gumtree, Flatmate Finder and Facebook.

She said there had also been some applications for temporary accommodation submitted to local government.

"However, the uptake has been small considering the scale of the requirements," she said.

"Many local tourism and hospitality businesses are operating through the busy summer period without the full complement of staff they need.

"Businesses are having to adapt to this challenge, which in some cases has meant the need to reduce their offering in order to deliver their desired level of service to visitors, and as a result, forgo potential revenue."

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Real Estate Institute of WA deputy president Joe White said the incentive was a good idea but needed a better platform to promote it.

"If they engage with REIWA we could help them handle it properly," he said.

"It is a business opportunity for someone to do reference checks."

Mr White said there was no denying that there was a rental crisis in the South West, however he didn't think anything would change until the state government's moratorium on rental agreements finishes in March.

The moratorium has stopped rent increases and tenants being evicted from the home unless the owner is selling the house or needs to move back in.

"It will be tricky now until March and then there will be chaos until about June," Mr White said.

This story A new year, but issues remain first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.