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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Bega: Non-resident ratepayers may hold the key to easing the housing crisis.

Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick has written to non-resident ratepayers who may hold the key to easing the housing crisis.

In the letter, Cr Fitzpatrick makes a plea to owners with secondary or investment properties in the Bega Valley to consider entering the long-term rental market.

“We offer one of the best places in Australia for people to visit during their holidays—but on the flipside, we have a lot of vacant properties throughout the year and a growing homelessness problem.

“Many of the people unable to find a place to call home have a steady job and income, but increasingly this is not enough to secure a rental property.

“Put simply, there are not enough houses to rent for the people who live and work here and who contribute to our society and economy.

“We have families sleeping in cars, at temporary accommodation and on friends’ couches, and for most of the year we have an abundance of vacant properties across the shire.

“This impacts just about everyone in the Bega Valley because business owners and community service operators are unable to fill vacancies, which affects everything from your morning coffee to the provision of vital health services.

“Following the success of Eurobodalla Shire Council’s campaign, we decided to approach owners who live outside our shire but own property here to help us ease the problem in the short-term.

“We are also working on a range of longer-term solutions as part of our Affordable Housing Strategy, but these take time and won’t help families needing help right now.

“Writing to property owners for short-term assistance reaffirms our position that a state-wide housing crisis cannot be addressed in isolation—it needs collaboration from all tiers of government as well as the business and private sectors.

“Having lost 467 homes during the Black Summer bushfires and with many potential homes purchased as secondary accommodation during the COVID-19 lockdowns, we are facing a significant crisis for the people who live and work in the shire.

“If you receive a letter from us asking for your help, please consider how placing your vacant property on the long-term rental market will assist families who need your help right now.”

If you are interested in placing your property on the rental market, please contact a local real estate agent to discuss your requirements.

Property owners interested in working with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) to accommodate social housing tenants should contact DCJ.

Council also recommends individuals seek their own taxation/financial advice before a property is made available for rent.


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