Single mum’s desperate race to find a rental home

Andrea Ferris and her family are caught up in Queensland’s rental crisis. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Single mum Andrea Ferris is running out of time to find her family a home.
The fulltime nursing student and small business owner has four weeks to move out with her three children after their rental home of two years was sold to an owner-occupier.
It’s the second time they’ve been forced to pack up as their previous landlord also cashed out of the house they were renting in 2020.
But this time, the fear of homelessness is acute.
Ms Ferris has dealt with “constant rejection” as rental vacancy on the Gold Coast hovers at a record low of 0.5 per cent, according to SQM Research.
The family fears they will be left homeless. Picture: Nigel Hallett
The 42-year-old has lost count of the applications she’s made for every possible listing, including one with a broken front door and another where the stench was so bad others left without setting foot inside.
They almost secured a break lease property — but the landlord opted instead to leave the house vacant then up the rent from $520 to $650.
The family was paying $480 a week rent for their house in Oxenford.
Ideally they’d prefer to stay in the same area as the kids’ school in Pacific Pines, but will “take anything”, Ms Ferris said.
There is unprecedented demand for affordable rental properties on the Gold Coast
Ms Ferris has reached out to the QLD Statewide Tenant Advice and Referral Service and posted her plight on social media.
“It’s embarrassing but I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried everything and that’s why I’ve put it on Facebook,” Ms Ferris said.
The stress of their two-month search has affected Ms Ferris’ mental health, and the wellbeing of her three children, Taj, 10, Ayla, 9, and Noah, 4.
She especially worries for her eldest, who has special needs and after five years is finally feeling settled at school.
Ms Ferris says she’ll take a property in any condition and put in the work to make it a home
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“It’s a sad reality that I’m getting used to the rejection emails after the amount we’ve had,” she said.
“The kids aren’t happy and my son is devastated because I keep telling him, ‘you might have to change schools’.”
Ms Ferris said she owned a house with her former partner but has rented on the northern Gold Coast since they split and maintained an “impeccable tenant history”.
But with hundreds of applicants for every listing, the rejections just keep coming
She’s always paid rent and bills upfront, and assumes her single parent income, despite being enough to cover rent, is discounted in such a competitive market.
“When you have limited houses available and the amount of people applying for those, you’re just at the bottom of the pile every time,” she said.
“I study a fulltime Bachelor of nursing degree which I will complete by October 2022 and I am looking to return to the workforce next year when my youngest starts school.”

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