Five kids, no home

Richard and Kelly Kent are finding it more difficult than most to get a home to rent in Geraldton. 

Mrs Kent tells us they have applied for 10 homes through various agents, and been rejected every time despite having good references. 

On two of the occasions they were the only people to apply for the home.  

She's starting to wonder if it's because she has five children. 

In Western Australia, it is against the law to refuse someone a home because of their children, but real estate agents still ask for each child and the child's age to be listed on the rental applications. (Decision about who to rent a property to is usually made by the property owner and not the agent.)

Mrs Kent, who is also pregnant with number 6 which is due in January, says she and her family have been living in a friends granny flat since moving back to Geraldton for work in July. 

Her two older children unfortunately suffer with autism, and not having the space they need to be alone at times has caused them to regress.  

"It's not like we can't afford the rent" Mrs Kent told Everything Geraldton. "Obviously with a large family we receive a decent amount in family assistance. And we had no trouble paying our rent in Perth."

"But even since Richard started work with Telstra, it hasn't helped us find a home."

Mr and Mrs Kent are from Geraldton originally, but moved to Perth two years ago so they could get better help for their children that have autism.  

While attending university and working as a postie in Perth, Mr Kent was the victim of a hit and run. After rehabilitating he was unable to find a job in Perth. 

So the family decided to move back to Geraldton, where Mr Kent has secured work. 

"We never had any problems getting a place when we had three kids, but then we had twins..." so all of a sudden the Kent family was rather large. Add one "unplanned" extra to the mix and you have six kids. 

While Mrs Kent says she wonders if they have been rejected because of the large number of kids, she would have thought the good references from previous landlords would put any concerns to rest. 

"We're happy to pay up to $450 a week. It's not like we want a hand out or something for free."

Because the private market has been unwilling to rent a home to the Kent family, they have approach the Department of Housing and been put on the priority waiting list, however they have been told they will still have to wait another year or two on that list. 

The Kent family's situation highlights the drastic shortage of public housing available for people in the Midwest region. 

If you or someone you know may be able to help, please get in touch with Everything Geraldton and we will put you in touch with the Kent family.