For many residents in East Gippsland, finding rental accommodation is a challenge.
To support those people in our community, East Gippsland Shire Council has moved to encourage property owners to put secondary properties into the local rental market.
Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said ratepayers with secondary properties will receive a letter from Council with their rates notices later this month, asking them to consider the rental market.
“An adequate supply of rental accommodation supports local families, and people moving to East Gippsland, often returning ‘home’. In turn, it provides local businesses and their workforce security, meaning a positive flow-on effect to service industries that support local families and our economy,” Cr Reeves said.
“People are being forced to live in campgrounds because of the lack of rental accommodation and we’re hearing from business owners that they can’t attract staff because of the lack of housing. We have also been made aware of people who would move here if they could find a house. This includes police officers, teachers, doctors, nurses, seasonal fire-fighters and carpenters who are all professionals seeking accommodation in our region right now, among others.”
Cr Reeves said Council was using this strategy to assist in resolving the local rental shortage.
“It is an approach taken by other councils with some success. More than 80 homes were made available for rental after the Black Summer Bushfires in the Eurobodalla in response to their Council’s request. If that generosity was shown here, many people finding it difficult to get into the rental market, including working families, would benefit. Being a landlord can also make good business sense,” he said.
“I don’t make the request lightly. I realise this is a big decision, but by placing your property into the rental market you would be helping your community.”
Council has limited powers to help people impacted by a lack of rental accommodation, but is proactive in planning, decision making and advocacy to support growth, including:
· Developing a Housing and Settlement Strategy, incorporating changes to ensure East Gippsland has adequate housing supply in the coming decade.
· Continuing to help people rebuild from the 2019-20 bushfires via a range of support measures.
· Approving 1,285 lots through subdivisions in 2021-22.
· Issuing 598 new planning permits last financial year, up from 432 in 2018-19
· In the past 6-9 months, approving almost $100 million worth of property development, 450 residential lots in subdivisions, and major investments such as an apartment complex, industrial land development and a residential village.
“Council is also advocating strongly to the Victorian Government for immediate action to address the lack of housing in the region in the short to medium term through the provision of temporary housing, pending reconstruction of housing lost during the Black Summer Bushfires,” Cr Reeves said.
“The replacement and provision of expanded social and affordable housing opportunities for longer term residents and generally, an increase in social housing in the region is also a priority.”
Anyone considering putting a property into the rental market should contact a local real estate agent directly.