Family’s shock 10-hour eviction notice after decade in rental home

Jodie Roebuck was accused of squatting in her own home. Picture: Glenn Campbell
A Gold Coast family has been thrown into turmoil after being given just 10 hours to leave their rental home of 10 years.
Jodie Roebuck, 57, received an email from her property manager following a routine inspection on October 11, deeming the property “unliveable” and demanding her midnight departure.
No action had been taken until then, despite Ms Roebuck reporting a collapsed garage ceiling at the Currumbin Waters home in July.
With no help in finding alternative accommodation, Ms Roebuck and her two adult children remained at the three-bedroom house while their dispute with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) escalated to a tribunal hearing.
‘Where is the loyalty? Where is the support?’ Ms Roebuck has rented the house for 10 years. Picture: Glenn Campbell
She is still paying $600 a week rent, with the lease valid until February.
“The agent asked me if I can get rid of my two dogs. They told me I’ve been a good tenant but they have nothing for me,” Ms Roebuck, an aged care worker, said.
“We’re still here with the exposed trusses in a termite-damaged property. There’s a big part of me that knows I shouldn’t be here, but we’ve got nowhere else to go.
“My kids are 23 and 27 and they still live with me because it is affordable for us all. It is very stressful and it has really thrown me because with the market so tight and with our budget of $600-700 we can’t find anything in this area.”
Ms Roebuck is awaiting a tribunal hearing. Picture: Glenn Campbell
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Just six houses were listed to rent in the suburb on this week, ranging from $650 a week for a two-bedroom duplex, to $1950 for an acreage property with a pool.
Ms Roebuck posted her plight on a community forum in search of housing options and received an impassioned response.
“A lot of people have been supportive, but there were some who said I was squatting. That was really disheartening,” she said.
“Yes, I will be staying here squatting as was rudely mentioned. I do not have funds to move and I don’t have other family to support me.”
Just 7 houses were listed to rent in Currumbin Waters this week
Property manager Tammy Stringer, of DJ Stringer Property Services, said the company had forwarded Ms Roebuck’s request for rent compensation and moving expenses to the homeowner for consideration.
“The advice that we have received from the structural engineer is that the property is non-liveable,” Ms Stringer said.
“The tenant’s safety and wellbeing is both the owner’s our our priority which we have advised the tenant.”
Ms Stringer said they were “awaiting advice from the property owner” on whether the family could return to the property once repaired, and if the rent would remain the same.
Rents in the suburb have gone up 15.85 per cent since last year
PropTrack data shows weekly rent for a typical house in Currumbin Waters was $895 in September, up 15.85 per cent since last year.
According to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA), a property manager can end a tenancy on the grounds of “non-liveability” by giving the tenant notice to leave on the same day it is issued.
The RTA website states a property becomes unliveable when it is fully or partially destroyed, commonly because of a natural disaster or sometimes through lack of maintenance.
“Sadly, some rental properties are not always maintained as required over time, which can lead to long-term degradation and damage,” an RTA spokesperson said.
The family has not yet received compensation or help with moving costs
The managing party is responsible for any maintenance and repairs needed to bring the property back to a liveable condition.
“Sometimes the tenant does want to stay in the property even though it is partially destroyed or requires those major maintenance works. The tenant should discuss and negotiate with the managing party in this situation. There could be considerations for rent reductions or waivers depending on the situation.”

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