RENTAL BATTLE: Families rejected from 100+ homes
SQUASHED into a tiny two-bedroom apartment in Brassall, a family of four barely has space to sleep.
The Ipswich family, including mum, dad, a nine-month-old boy and grandma, has been searching for a larger home for six months to no avail.
"It's super hard at the moment," mum Heather McCowan told the Queensland Times.
"We have applied for over 100 (homes) in the past week and have been declined for everything."
Heather said she had seen rental prices climb for ordinary properties since her family began searching.
"I saw a four-bedroom house up for rent for $700 a week," she said.
She said the house hadn't been anything special.
She said during her efforts to find a home, she had been encouraged by realtors to offer more money to secure a rental.
The practice is illegal in Queensland. The Queensland Times has decided not to name the agent allegedly involved.
"We got told to bid on rent and whoever bids the highest would get (the property)," she said.
"I got an email from them saying 'if you would like to place a bid on the rent, that would be great'."
Heather's family is just one of many on the hunt for a rental.
"It's very competitive. There were over 20 people at one house inspection," she said.
"It's very, very hard to get approved these days and we have no space at all in our unit."
Until recently, Jessica Smith and her family were in a similar situation but they found that offering more than the advertised rent price secured their home.
After learning her rental was being sold just before Christmas, Jessica and her family began searching.
"(It was) two months of viewing and applying for every house in the area. Every day I was viewing three or more houses," Jessica said.
They spent two months searching the Ipswich rental market before deciding to offer $10 more than the asking price.
"I had to but now I'm struggling," Jessica said.
"It's enough to leave me struggling to pay rent, bills, fuel and to feed my children.
"I'm behind on rent and have already used my two weeks in advance."
Real estate agent Stephanie Hufton said competition was stiff for rentals in Ipswich, but no worse than usual.
"We have plenty of rentals at the moment but we're not keeping up with the demand," she said.
"Good tenants are still getting approved and you can still find a property."
She said more people than usual were turning up to open homes and inspections.
"It's hard to compare because not many people moved during Covid and now they can move," she said.
"We have a lot of people at our open homes (now) and so people might feel it has become competitive but I think that's because they're not used to seeing so many people at open homes."
Property manager Kaitlyn Marples specialises in the Springfield area and said she had seen competition skyrocket, especially for spacious family homes.
"More people are moving from the inner city because they can work from home," she said.
"Depending on the houses, a lot more people are going to the open houses. There are more people wanting a house and putting offers in on a house."
Read more news by Ebony Graveur.