Angie* lives in a country town in NSW. She is on the Disability Support Pension and funds are limited. She's been in her current house for almost 2 years, but received a ‘no grounds’ eviction notice a few weeks ago.
Earlier this year her landlord changed real estate agents and during the transition between agencies there was some confusion over the best way to pay rent. Angie felt this had been sorted out quickly and that it was just ‘the usual takeover problems,’ but a few weeks later she received a ‘no grounds’ eviction notice in the mail. Immediately she rang the real estate agent to ask why. She was told the landlord was "sick of her."
Angie received only 30 days notice because she received notice at the end of her fixed term agreement. The real estate agent initially agreed to give her a few extra weeks, but when Angie held her rent back a few days because of frustration over the eviction she lost the extension. In hindsight she can see that her short 'rent strike' was counterproductive, but explains she'd felt powerless at being evicted for no reason.
Since receiving her eviction notice Angie has applied for numerous rental properties in her local area (she estimates over 40). She's had no success. She's been told her applications are being declined because she doesn’t earn enough money for the properties she is applying for. However there are no cheaper appropriate alternatives in her local area.
She also strongly suspects her current real estate agent is giving her a poor reference, explaining:
I live in a country town and word of mouth is the worst. I might have been behind on the rent a couple of times, but I’m not a bad tenant.
Her landlord has now applied to the Tribunal for a termination order, and a hearing date has been set for this. Angie knows she’ll have to vacate the property very soon and is trying her best to find some kind of alternative housing.
A family member is helping by applying with her as a ‘co-tenant’ for properties. Angie is hoping that the increased income on the rental application will make a difference. She’s waiting to hear back on one now. She has also applied to her local Community Housing Provider for housing assistance. However she’s not holding her breath that either of these avenues will bring a solution in time.
My plan at the moment is that on the weekend I’ll get rid of my lounge and other things – things that I don’t really need. I have no option except to put my other furniture into storage, put my dogs into kennels and for myself I’ll have to couch surf til I get somewhere.
While Angie has not yet had to move the eviction has already had a big impact:
I'm at my wits end as to what to do... It has caused me a lot of anxiety. I’m not sleeping, and I'm even having trouble having conversations with people because I just don’t know how far it's going to go.
* Not her real name. Angie has chosen not to be identified because she is worried about her ability to secure a new tenancy if she publicly shares her story.