Holiday home owners drive rental crisis

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The town of Denmark.
Camera IconThe town of Denmark. Credit: Stephen Scourfield The West Australian

High demand for holiday homes and lack of affordable rental accommodation in Denmark is leaving some residents without permanent homes.

Hazel Moon who has worked for Denmark Community Collective for the past 20 years has formed Denmark Homeless Project to help residents who are sleeping rough.

Ms Moon said there was a shortage of affordable rentals in Denmark due to the high percentage of holiday homes in town.

“A lot of rich folks are moving down and buying up houses, especially the cheaper ones for holiday houses,” she said.

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“Forty-three per cent of house owners in Denmark are not permanent residents.

“Some rent out their house, but the majority of these absentee owners don’t.”

According to realestate.com.au there are only 18 available rental properties in Denmark with an average rental price at $330 a week.

This is in marked contrast to Albany which has 113 available rental properties with an average rental price at $350 a week.

Ms Moon said the State housing department has not kept up with the demand of affordable rental housing in the area.

“I’ve got a single mum who has had to move 25 times in 15 years so they are in survival mode constantly,” she said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any will to build any affordable long-term accommodation — the priority is more on a crisis response.

“Even if they come up with crisis accommodation, you still need an affordable rental place for them to go afterwards.

“If not, there would be a bottleneck of people who are constantly looking for one.”

To help with the situation, Ms Moon is collecting a list of house owners who are willing to share their house or permit a caravan on their block.

“There’s actually a misconception that these people who are homeless are mainly out-of-towners,” she said.

“The majority of them are actually long-term residents.

“So any help that we can get will go a long way.”

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