A single mum is at breaking point after two months of living and sleeping in her car with her two teenage sons.
Danni Cox, 45, became homeless for the first time in her life when she was evicted from her rental property in Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, after being told the landlord was planning to renovate and sell up.
Ms Cox and her sons Zach, 15 and Jordan, 12, spent the first few weeks living in a caravan, which was battered by wild weather.
They spent a brief stint in a motel until it became unaffordable and now spend each night parked in friends’ driveways.
Adding to the frustration is that their old home has remained vacant ever since they moved out in May.
Ms Cox has applied for more than 300 properties in recent months without any luck, despite her perfect rental history and references from previous landlords.
She told Daily Mail Australia the dire situation is now taking a heavy toll on the family physically, emotionally and financially.
Danni Cox is living in her car with sons Zach, 15 and Jordan, 12 (pictured during a brief motel stay)
Ms Cox has applied for more than 300 properties in recent months without any luck, despite her perfect rental history and references from previous landlords
‘The situation has gone beyond desperate, we can’t be homeless for any longer,’ she said.
‘Homelessness is no longer a viable option. My youngest son is half-deaf and autistic, so he’s not coping at all at the moment, which is heartbreaking to see.
‘I have friends’ places where we sleep in their driveways. There’s one park in the area where you can stay for three nights but then have to move on, so we’ve done that a few times.’
Currently on a disability pension, Ms Cox is so desperate she underwent training as a traffic controller and is in the process of finding work to boost her chances of getting a roof under her family’s head.
‘I’ve always been a great tenant and have never defaulted on rent or bills,’ she said.
‘I’ve never been homeless in my life and set myself up to be very independent.
‘I tick all the boxes and haven’t done anything wrong. The real estate agents and landlords who get back to me say there’s nothing wrong with my application, it’s just than other applicants were more successful.
‘There’s no reason to be homeless, which makes it harder to accept.’
Danni Cox (pictured) is homeless for the first time in her life and has applied for more than 300 rental properties
Ms Cox and her two sons have been living out of the family car since May
Ms Cox spends anything from $50 and $100 on food and fuel each day while sleeping in the car each night is ‘cold, cramped and horrible’.
‘It’s easier having a roof over your head as you can budget from week to week,’ she said.
But being homeless, you have to pay your way everywhere you go. There are some days where we don’t have any money.’
Her former home, where she lived for five years remains vacant. She believes the real estate agent used the owners’ potential plans as an excuse to re-lease the property at a much higher rent.
‘I was absolutely mortified but at the end of the day, it’s the owners’ decision,’ she said.
‘It’s tenants who lose out. We’ve been looking at units as we’ve been pushed out of houses.’
The family briefly lived out of a caravan, which copped a battering during wild weather
Ms Cox spends anything from $50 and $100 on food and fuel each day while sleeping in the car each night is ‘cold, cramped and horrible’
The thought of the desperate lengths she has gone to get out of the dire situation brings Ms Cox to tears.
‘I’ve slept nights in my car in the park as there has been nowhere else,’ she told 7News.
‘I’ve rang the Homeless Line and asked is there anywhere for me to go with my boys, they’re here with me crying and we need somewhere now and they’ve said ‘no, nothing’,’
Ms Cox is among almost 32,000 Queensland families on the social housing register, where there’s a two-year wait.
The list has grown by 78 per cent in the last four years.
The Queensland government this week vowed to review the social housing register following the release of a scathing report by Auditor-General Brendan Worrall.
The report found the state government had failed to build enough homes, keep an accurate waiting list and manage existing stock.
Of the 30,000 families waiting for social housing, it’s estimated almost 12,000 will still be on the list in three years time.
‘The situation has gone beyond desperate, we can’t be homeless for any longer,’ Danni Cox told Daily Mail Australia
Danni Cox and her sons’ belongings are jam-packed in a trailer so they can sleep in the car
Around 61 per cent of those on the waiting list are in ‘very high need’ while the remainder are in lower-need groups, cannot be contacted or have inactive applications.
‘The department has planned new social housing in areas with current high need. The 6,365 builds planned to commence by 2025 will help to increase social housing supply, however it will not be enough to keep up with increasing demand,’ Worrall’s report states.
‘These dwellings alone will not be sufficient as growth of the register is likely to accelerate with rising interest rates and a tightening rental market.’
Ms Cox also called on the state government to be more accountable.
‘The state government needs to do something about as there isn’t enough housing supply’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I’ve been on the social housing waiting list since January. We should have been in a place by now.
‘The government needs to be accountable and answer why there isn’t enough housing.’
Each night, Danni parks her car and trailer (pictured) in friends’ driveways or in parks
Queensland opposition leader David Crisafulli agreed.
‘There are Queenslanders struggling to put a roof over their heads who aren’t even on this list and this list will grow,’ he told reporters
‘What is most sobering about this report is not only does the government not know who needs the homes, they don’t know how to build the homes and they have no plan to fix the mess they have created.
‘This is one of the most damning reports you will find… this shows we are in the midst of a housing affordability crisis.’
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk blamed the housing crisis on higher interstate migration to Queensland, supply shortages in the private housing market and inflation.
‘So this is a very complex issue, but it’s one that we of course are taking very seriously,’ she told reporters on Wednesday.
‘You know, there’s, added pressures at the moment. We’re building houses as quickly as we can, but we also have to compete with the private market.’
Ms Cox’s youngest son Jordan, 12, who is half-deaf and autistic is struggling with the family’s ordeal
Ms Palaszczuk insisted she understood the ‘degree of desperation’ many families face.
‘I do understand it, yes I do,’ she said.
‘I represent social housing, I represent a social housing community, please do not say I do not understand this issue. That is incorrect and that is false.’
Housing minister Leanne Enoch added: ‘The housing system has been under incredible pressure… this is compounded by pressure on the construction sector for both skilled trades and supplies, interstate migration, and the recent natural disasters,’
As a result of this week’s Seven News story, Ms Cox was offered a rental home 35km away in the Brisbane suburb of Cooperoo.
She’s weighing up whether to take the offer or wait for something more suitable in her preferred Logan-Beenleigh area.
Danni is desperate to find a home for herself and family. Pictured is son Jordan, 12 in a motel
‘It’s further away than we’d hope as we would have to go back and forth to Beenleigh every day, where the kids have school, sports and scouts,’ Ms Cox said.
‘I’m not sure if it’s going to be affordable with the fuel costs the way they are at the moment. I’ve lived in this area for 20 years and it’s where the kids have grown up.’
‘But moving to Cooperoo would give us a roof over our heads again and there’s nothing available in this area, so we’ll weigh up all the options.’
Ms Cox remains hopeful of a happy outcome as she issued this plea to real estate agents.
‘Give us a go, we’re just as good as tenants as a couple,’ she said.
‘My kids need a home. Just before I’m a single mother doesn’t mean we should miss out.’
How RENTERS are now copping it the worst in 14 years as interest rates soar – and the cheapest city in Australia is a big surprise
Annual growth in rent has hit a 14-year high in Australia just as home buyers face rising interest rates.
But tenants shopping for a bargain can still find one – in the cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, new data shows.
The Reserve Bank on Tuesday announced a third hike in the cash rate in as many months, taking it to 1.35 per cent. The 50 basis point rise is estimated to add $137 a month to a $500,000 mortgage, or $499 per month on a $750,000 loan.
The RBA board has flagged further rises, with some economists expecting the cash rate to hit 3.5 per cent next year before the central bank starts to consider cuts.
The decision coincides with the release of CoreLogic’s Quarterly Rental Review which showed the national rental index increasing 0.9 per cent in the month to June and 2.9 per cent over the June quarter.
Everybody’s Home spokesperson Kate Colvin said the low rental vacancy rates combined with interest rate hikes is leading to a rental squeeze as investors pass on those rises to renters.
‘With further interest rises expected, the already difficult situation will only get worse as renters fight in a hunger games style battle for dwindling rental stock at higher than ever prices’ Ms Colvin said.
‘This is very concerning as many are already stretched beyond their financial means.’
After the Reserve Bank of Australia raised interest rates again on Tuesday, investment property owners will likely look to raise rents to try and recoup some cash on their mortgage bills (stock image)
House rents are 8.8 per cent higher across the capital cities and up 10.8 per cent in regional areas compared to June 2021, according to the CoreLogic data.
Meanwhile unit rents are up 9.8 per cent in the capitals and 11 per cent in regional areas.
‘This sustained period of strong rental growth has seen national dwellings record the highest annual growth in rental values since December 2008,’ CoreLogic research analyst Kaytlin Ezzy said.
MEDIAN PER WEEK RENTS IN AUSTRALIA
1. Canberra $690
2. Sydney $643
3. Darwin $565
1. Brisbane $547
2. Hobart $549
1. Melbourne $480
2. Adelaide $492
3. Perth $515
NATIONAL MEDIAN – $526
Australian dwelling rental values rose 0.9 per cent in June and rose 2.9 per cent over the June quarter.
National dwelling vacancy rates fell to 1.2 per cent from 2.2 per cent this time last year.
National unit rents recorded unprecedented double-digit annual growth, rising 10.0 per cent over the 12 months to June.
Source: CoreLogic Quarterly Rental Review July 2022
Canberra remains the country’s most expensive rental market, with the typical dwelling renting for $690 per week, ahead of Sydney which recorded a median rental value of $643 per week, and Darwin at $565 per week.
Melbourne replaced Adelaide as Australia’s most affordable rental market, with a typical property renting for $480 per week.
Adelaide’s rents increased to $492 per week, followed by Perth ($515), Brisbane ($547) and Hobart ($549).
The surge in rental demand has occurred largely in the absence of overseas migration and has instead been driven by low supply and shrinking average household sizes.
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said the size and timing of future interest rate rises would be ‘guided by the incoming data and the board’s assessment of the outlook for inflation and the labour market’.
The RBA is seeking to use a series of rate rises to get inflation back to its two to three per cent target range.
Inflation is sitting on 5.1 per cent and is expected to head towards seven per cent over the course of the year.
‘The board is committed to doing what is necessary to ensure that inflation in Australia returns to target over time,’ Dr Lowe said in the post-decision statement.
CommSec’s Craig James said it was the biggest back-to-back rate hike since the cash rate was first targeted in 1990.
He said it reflected a global trend among central banks to ‘front load’ rate hikes to get on top of inflationary pressures.
But the risk of such hikes include triggering a recession, or two consecutive quarters of declines in gross domestic product.
The official interest rate is now 1.35 per cent after three consecutive hikes by the RBA with more on the way with (stock image)
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said neither his department nor the RBA are forecasting a recession.
‘I am confident in the long-term prospects for the Australian economy so long as we do our best to manage the … difficult combination of circumstances that we’re dealing with now.’
Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the Labor government had no economic plan to respond to rising inflationary and interest rate pressures.
CHEAPEST AND MOST EXPENSIVE SUBURBS TO RENT
MEDIAN HOUSE RENTS
SYDNEY – Vaucluse $2,552 versus Tregear $421
MELBOURNE – Brighton $1,321 versus Melton $360
PERTH – Dalkeith $1,205 versus Midvale $388
BRISBANE – Ascot $1,110 versus Toogoolawah $356
HOBART – Sandy Bay $698 versus Primrose Sands $454
ADELAIDE – Glenelg South $802 versus Elizabeth North $343
DARWIN – Stuart Park $833 versus Moulden $509
CANBERRA – Campbell $1,075 versus Charnwood $629
MEDIAN UNIT RENTS
SYDNEY – Point Piper $1,122 versus Carramar $340
MELBOURNE – Beaumaris $677 versus Melton South $307
PERTH – Swanbourne $767 versus Orelia $281
BRISBANE – Tenerife $620 versus Logan Central $304
HOBART – Claremont $583 versus Beaumaris $425
ADELAIDE – Kent Town $501 versus Salisbury East $316
DARWIN – Bayview $614 versus Bakewell $430
CANBERRA – Garran $697 versus Hawker $504
Source: CoreLogic Quarterly Rental Review July 2022