Sole parent Derek Fenech, with his daughters Amelio, 2, and Katherine, 1, is desperate to find a home for his family of four in Mackay.
Sole parent Derek Fenech, with his daughters Amelio, 2, and Katherine, 1, is desperate to find a home for his family of four in Mackay. Kieran Moran

Single dad, four kids, turned away from 12 homes. Why?

A SINGLE father of four is desperate to find a home for his family after being knocked back for rental accommodation in Mackay.

Derek Fenech arrived from Brisbane with his four children in early November and claims he has applied for a dozen rental properties and been rejected at every turn.

"I believe I am being knocked back because I'm a single father with four kids," Mr Fenech said.

"I'm being told by the real estate agents the decision is made by the landlords. I believe the landlords may be declining my application because they think my kids might damage their house or it won't be kept tidy."

Mr Fenech is on a pension as the sole carer of his four children, aged one, two, five and six. He also receives a carer's pension for his oldest son who has a rare lung condition. The Centrelink benefits total $1900 a fortnight.

"I'm currently living with my mother in a two-bedroom house but that is not ideal as she is 74 years old and my family are all sleeping in one bedroom," he said.

"The stress has been overwhelming. It's really hard to sleep with five of us in one room and the heat is unbearable as we don't have air-conditioning. I'm sharing a bed with my daughter and it's been really difficult to get the kids into a routine."

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland estimates there are 10,000-12,000 rental properties in Mackay. The region's current rental vacancy rate is 7.9%, which equates to approximately 1000-plus available rental homes.

"There are a lot of rentals available out there and yet I can't get a foot in the door and it's really upsetting and I can't work out why I can't get one," Mr Fenech said.

Angie Wallwork from 360 Property Management believes Mr Fenech will eventually find a home.
Angie Wallwork from 360 Property Management believes Mr Fenech will eventually find a home. Tony Martin

Mackay's 360 Property Group managing director Angie Wallwork suggested Mr Fenech should apply for homes that are in his price range and supply a history to support his case.

"There are plenty of three to four-bedroom homes in the Mackay region that are in his price range," Ms Wallwork said.

"To make options more available he should provide a rental history including rental statement and receipts and, if possible, provide a written reference from a past landlord to make the process easier."

Mr Wallwork said in most cases the property owner decided who could rent a house.

"Unfortunately... many of the landlords have had bad experiences and due to those experiences, including insurance costs, many make the decision as to who will rent their house from past history."


Krista Hannan I have a house he can rent

Leo Scott We had the same problem. Applied for heaps of rentals. Turned out from complaint/investigation, it was financial discrimination because dad was Aged Pension and me Carer. If you have Centrelink statement, you are toss aside. Didnt matter if you had top references and long stable rental history. In our case, we went over the Real Estates and applied directly to a developer

Melissa Speer What is wrong with people? If you have a rental property have Landlord Insurance. This covers you for any potential damage. Give this family a go. He would probably be one of the best tenants as he tries to raise his young family. Good luck to you and the kids.

Merrilyn Lynette Rowler If you haven't already considered social housing, you could give Connect Housing a call, they rent out NRAS properties. They are properties which are 85% of market rent, so a bit cheaper than the full price rentals. Department of Housing can arrange a bond loan to cover the up front bond, which you can repay at a small amount each fortnight. There are alternatives, just need people to point you in the right direction

Nikki N Carl Horton I can't open the story, but we defs have a place he can rent - a room for everyone plus close to schools, public transport, shops, etc. Daily Mercury or anyone else reading - please feel free to get him to contact us.

Nadine Fornara The trick is to not mention you are a single family, I was always up against this myself until I learnt how to beat the system. I would arm myself with my business card, when it came to writing down my fictional partners details I would always say he's not retuning from overseas until later in the year by which time I will add him to the lease then and I started getting accepted for properties. Single parents even if your working are discriminated against no doubts about that, you just have to beat them at their own game.

Kalila Kalianna Sarjah Parter such a safe world we live in these days why not give the father a go he wants to provide a life for his children and noone wants to give him a chance, all these people owning one two or more houses and they knock people back because they are on centerlink or have kids yeh maybe you will be in this situation one day or ur kids grandkids will be in this situation one day and what ur going to knock them back from renting ur house too..... anywho positive note hope you get a good house for you and your children mate

Julie Ladley How crap is this ... So many empty houses in Mackay and still nowhere for a Dad with kids... Disgusting...

Tim Ney I used the NRAS as a single father with 2 kids in 2015 after being made redundant. Was provided with at least 4 house options, also Department of Housing provides long term bond loans if you don't have the 6 weeks up front.

Louisa Lucas I know for a fact that it isn't the owners fault it is the real estate. The real estates only give owners the applications that the real estate deem "perfect". My neighbor owns her home and went to rent it out, she went thru a real estate and she told me to just look at who would look at the place. I remember seeing about 30 people look at her property and i asked her how is she handling all the applications, she said that the real estate told her there was only 4 applicants...  Owners don't know always who is applying.. real estates just don't really care unless the applicant follows a set standard

Nicole Madden A lot of its due to landlords havin Centrelink benefits in their home and left rent owning and damaged know my landlord won't do it anymore due to previous experience   Paula Edwards Real estates won't give you a property over 30% of your income.So say he gets $800/wk he would need to look for houses under $300/wk.

Tracey Albano And yet it was announced yesterday, Mackay has the second highest vacancy rate in QLD!  Ridiculous

Michael Pinyon A friend was a single father raising kids on his own back in the 1980's he was always picked on by the authorities for abusing his kids
Obviously things have changed these days

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