Geraldton residents flock to hotels, motels due to rental shortage

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Michelle MacKenzie CEO Shelter WA outside Parliament House in Perth.
Camera IconMichelle MacKenzie CEO Shelter WA outside Parliament House in Perth. Credit: The West Australian, Ross Swanborough

Geraldton accommodation providers have received a spike in inquiries from people looking for somewhere to stay while they find a permanent home.

The city’s rental vacancy rate fell to 1 per cent in January, down from 1.2 per cent in December and 5.2 per cent in January last year.

Abrolhos Reef Lodge manager Abul Shahid said he’d had many calls from people unable to get a rental property and in need of a room.

“Most people come for one day or two days, but some people are asking if they can stay a bit longer,” he said.

“At the moment, I have one guest who came for three days and then after that he extended for another 10 days before he found a house in Northampton.”

The manager of Sails Motel Geraldton Karen Ralph said she had also received several inquiries about longer stays, but most could not afford to live in a motel for weeks on end.

“We have some inquiries from people who think it might be a good option, but it is just not cost-effective ... it is more than your weekly wage, generally,” she said.

Affordable housing body ShelterWA last week released a report showing more than 170 Geraldton people were homeless and 32 per cent of renters were experiencing rental stress.

ShelterWA chief executive Michelle McKenzie said demand for affordable housing could rise when the State Government’s moratorium on tenant evictions ended on March 28, which could also lead to rent increases.

“We have been calling on the Government to commit to working with our sector to deliver 18,000 new social and affordable rental homes over the next four years to address the current gap, along with new initiatives to support renters to stay in their homes and to end homelessness,” she said.

“This includes spot purchasing 2000 homes as a priority. This is critical given the state of the rental market and a predicted wave of rent increases and evictions when the rental moratorium ends.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails