Jill* completed 77 rental property applications before she was eventually successful last week.
The Rutherford resident says she can only guess her applications had been unsuccessful so many times because she is a single mother with five children.
“And there just aren’t enough properties available,” she said.
Her claims are supported by Leah Jay Investment Services manager Pippa Rowntree, who says uncertainty in the market meant tenants were staying in their current rental longer than usual.
“This means we aren’t getting the usual property turn-over that we would often see throughout the year,” Ms Rowntree said.
“This is in addition to movement from Sydneysiders that no longer need to be in the city to work and are looking to save money.
“People reassessing their living situations due to employment and lifestyle reasons, plus landlords change of circumstances seeing some move back into their investment properties, all this means there are fewer properties available.
“Another factor we are seeing is first home buyers edging investors out of the sales market, resulting in fewer new properties available for tenants.
For Jill, who was close to breaking point, it all spells doom and gloom.
“Every phone call has ended in tears lately,” she said.
“Everything I could do – I did. I even contacted my local MPs asking for help.
“I just needed a break, but no one would give me a go, even though I have a perfect rental history.
“For every house I applied for there were 50 applications,” she said.
“That means 49 of us were left disappointed.”
Jill was asked to leave her current property after its owners decided to sell when they found themselves unemployed during COVID-19.
Shockingly, Jill says she was offered a place in a women’s refuge for those escaping domestic violence.
“I didn’t need a refuge,” she said. “I wasn’t fleeing a dangerous partner and my life wasn’t in immediate danger. I told them to save that spot for a woman who was really in trouble.”
Her fortune changed this week, however, when Jill’s rental application was approved for a property in the Maitland area.
“It’s only a six-month lease but I’m just glad we have somewhere to go,” she said.
Jill’s friend, Candice Hodge, however, has as yet, not been successful in her search for a home.
The 34-year-old mother of two has been sleeping in her car while she gets more and more desperate for accommodation for herself, her partner and her young family.
Candice says she has exhausted all avenues of assistance after her landlord decided not to renew her lease on their shared property in June.
Since then, her partner, her six-year-old and three-month old baby have been in temporary accommodation while they search for a permanent address.
“We’re desperate,” Candice said.
“I don’t know what else to do.”
Candice and her brood have relied on the generosity of friends, family and charitable organisations for short-term housing for almost four months.
“I don’t care if I have to travel a bit to keep my son at the same school, but I need somewhere permanent,” she said.
“I can’t stay in the car.”
Candice says her six-year-old son has ADHD and her partner, usually the breadwinner, has back pain issues and is on a waiting list for corrective surgery.
“It feels like we’re being punished at the moment,” she said.
“We’ve applied for about 50 houses and been knocked back each time.
“I’m doing my best. I’ve got money put aside for bond, I’ve got food and my kids are clothed. We just need a place to live.”