Bleats

You Can Buy A Home For $11K In A Little Aussie Town, But How Comfy Are You With Murder?

Look, at least the neighbours are probably pretty quiet?

Property in Australia is both an Australian obsession and a national nightmare, with the dream of home ownership being little more than that for entire generations of Australians facing wage stagnation and the gig economy.

However, there is a place where someone with a pocketful of dreams and a few thousand bucks can start that dizzying ride that is owning property. Heck, a laundromat just went for eleven thousand dollars and even the largest homes are going for under a hundred K!

There is one teeny tiny little problem though.

it’s a fixer-upper!

Said properties are in Snowtown. Yes, that Snowtown.

Snowtown is known for two things: the 1999 Bodies in the Barrels murders, and the 2011 movie about the Bodies in the Barrel murders.

The details… look, they’re not great. You can look them up if you want.

That said, the murders are not the reason local property prices are so crazy low, though.

For one thing, they happened 20 years ago and, if anything, would be a bit of a draw. Indeed, the bank vault in which said bodies were entombed was successfully sold to a couple who’ve reportedly turned it into a nice if presumably very haunted home.

The issue is that Snowtown is a long way from the nearest big city, Adelaide – 145 km, to be specific – which makes it an unattractive commute for most workers.

Still, if you have the cash and don’t mind a long, flat drive to the nearest everything, dreams CAN come true!

The Minister For Housing Wants To Give Homelessness A 'Positive Spin' So Start Peddling, Mate

Let's rebrand it "agile accomodation"!

You know, in this febrile political environment, it’s so easy to focus on the negative.

And Luke Howarth, your federal Assistant Housing Minister and newly announced Minister for Homelessness, thinks that all you people are making a huge song and dance about Australia’s recent jump in the number of people living in unsafe and insecure accommodation and not focussing on all the people who aren’t sleeping rough, for which he seems to think he’s getting inadequate credit.

“We have 99.5% of our Australians… homed and living in safe place,” he pointed out on Radio National.

“There’s half a per cent of the population that isn’t… I want to put a positive spin on it as well and not just say Australia’s in a housing crisis when it affects a very, very small percentage of the population.”

Sure, it’s not what everyone in the homelessness sector thinks, or what Lords Mayor around the country are saying with regard the increase in people sleeping rough in our cities.

Indeed, Australia has a 14 per cent increase in homelessness between the 2011 and 2016 census, but Howarth has explained that this is apparently “in line with population growth”.

And that makes sense because… wait, what?

If that’s the case, and the population is growing 14 per cent faster than they can be accommodated in the space of five years, isn’t that the literal definition of a housing crisis?

You know, the sort of thing that would unambiguously be the responsibility of the Minister For Homelessness?

Anyway, all those mayors and academics and homelessness workers are just being negative nellies.

Not like Luke Howarth, Positive Spin Doctor.

Your Disgusting Rental House Is Actually Killing You

And the less wealthy you are, the more where you live matters to your life and health.

Anyone who has spent much time in the residential rental markets of our larger cities would be aware that finding a place to live is a sport akin to gladiatorial combat, if said combat also involved a lot of paperwork and the winner also paid a large and ongoing sum of money following their victory.

Anyone who has spent much time in the residential rental markets of our larger cities would be aware that finding a place to live is a sport akin to gladiatorial combat, if battle also involved a lot of paperwork and the winner also paid a large and ongoing sum of money following their victory.

And also, if the spoils of battle were literally spoiled.

Terrifying eye-rooms are not typically standard.

Everyone has horror stories about rental properties with a refreshingly idiosyncratic interpretation of what can be considered “hygienic” or “mould-free” or “not on fire”, and most renters have a pretty accurate assessment of how much power they have in terms of making demands for repairs or improvements or snake removal – especially when inquiries into the rental system repeatedly entrenches the rights of landlords over those of tenants.

Black mould, for instance, can trigger asthma another allergic reactions, or the mycotoxins it gives off can produce flu-like symptoms.

And while the landlord is legally required to mention if there’s been a violent crime in the property, they’re not obliged to mention whether, say, the place has been a meth lab. Despite the possibility of chemicals leaching out of the walls and carpets and getting into the skin and hair of residents, as in this study of one Victorian family which should make your skin crawl so hard it might actually escape.

Blood showers can be a red flag for a sub-par property.

Here’s the thing, though: this stuff diminishes people’s health and quality of life. And Shelter NSW have just put out their report Poor-quality housing and low-income households and… look, it doesn’t spark joy.

People on low incomes are most likely to live in properties that require repairs, to suffer from cold in winter and heat in summer,

People in public housing face regularly backlogs in repairs from government funding cuts, while private landlords often can’t be bothered paying for something from which they’re not going to benefit – assuming that the tenants are game enough to complain, given not-unfounded fears of being evicted for more compliant alternatives in the competitive housing market.

“Ah, so that’s why they don’t let me put up posters.”

And they have some solutions too: unsurprisingly, it’s to mandate more transparent standards, for the most part so that everyone knows what standard is acceptable for human beings to endure in their shelter. And… look, good luck with that.

But in the meantime: when you’re inspecting properties, go in with your eyes and nose open.

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