A single mother living in Perth says she will likely begin the new year living in her friend’s spare room because the rent on her own home has just doubled in price, making it unaffordable for her.
Jakki Brooking, 28, said the price of her three-bedroom rental would soon jump from $300 to $630 per week after it was sold to new owners.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Single mum faces homelessness after her rental home doubled in price.
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Brooking said she had to tell her 11-year-old son that she was struggling to make ends meet, and they would need to bunker down with her friend for some time.
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The Perth rental was part of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, a federal government program designed to make housing more affordable for low-income households.
Under the scheme, landlords are offered tax and cash incentives if they advertise their property at least 20 per cent below-market rate.
Brooking said the house’s new owners will list the property on the open market rather than be part of the scheme.
The average price of renting a house or three-bedroom unit in Perth is $600, up 66 per cent from 2018.
Brooking is a part-time nurse at a Perth hospital, working nine days a fortnight.
She said paying $630 per week on rent would use more than half her income, leaving not much else to spend on other daily living expenses, including her son’s medical appointments for his ADHD.
“It’s outrageous, really … People are going without things to afford rent,” Brooking said.
In the lead up to her lease ending on January 1, 2024, she applied for other rentals but has not been accepted for a new home.
Jakki Brooking said her Perth rental increased from $300 to $630 per week. Credit: Jakki Brooking/TikTok
When she contacted the real estate agent for support, she was told if she did not agree to the new price or leave the property before the end of the lease, she could be taken to court.
Feeling desperate for advice and emotional, she posted a video on TikTok sharing her experience and found, unsurprisingly, she was not the only one struggling.
“I don’t know what to do at this point. This is literally so embarrassing,” Brooking said in one of the videos.
“I don’t have anywhere to live … I am being rejected for every single house I have applied for so far,” she said.
Australia is facing a massive housing shortage, with the government agency, Housing Australia, estimating there will be an under-supply of more than 100,000 homes over the next five years.
Private analytics company PropTrack found Perth’s rental vacancy rate was among the lowest nationally, at 0.7 per cent at the end of September 2023.
It also found the number of inquiries per rental listing was greatest in Perth, with an average of 50.3 inquiries per listing.
Coupled with a cost of living crisis as a result of inflation and rising interest rates, charity Food Bank reported more than 388,000 WA households struggled to put food on the table in 2023.
“There are so many other people who are in the same situation, living in cars, living in tents, couch-surfing,” Brooking said.
Jakki Brooking was almost homeless because of a rental shortage in Perth. Credit: 7NEWS
The income threshold to qualify for the National Rental Affordability Scheme for a single parent and one child is $81,498 or $101,873 if the household is an existing tenant on the scheme.
Brooking said the housing and cost-of-living crisis meant more people were vulnerable to homeless.
“The government needs to step up and do something faster,” she said.
Brooking said she was looking for rentals up to $580 per week and to help her afford them, she’s asked her dad for financial support.
She said if she wasn’t fortunate enough to have the option of staying with a friend, she would have had to send her son to stay with his grandmother until she found a rental.
While the family will have a roof over their head, living together in a single room will be challenging.
“It’s not as comfortable as having your own house,” Brooking said.