Rental hike has forced them out

Deanne and Gary Sturdy have no choice but to pack up and go.
Deanne and Gary Sturdy have no choice but to pack up and go. Rebecca Danslow

AT THE end of this week, Gary and Deanne Sturdy will leave Gladstone for good.

Last week, another rent increase left the couple with no choice but to move somewhere more affordable.

Like so many, the couple came to the region looking for a new start.

They began renting a house in Calliope in 2010 for $330.

"There wasn't any work in Bundy," Dee said.

"Once I secured a job here; I was getting more than I'd ever earned before. We were hoping we'd be able to catch up a bit and be able to start putting money away."

Gary said after 12 months, an increase of $100 to $430 put the couple under financial strain, especially as Gary is on an ex-servicemen's pension.

Last week, it was time to re-sign the lease.

"I looked the landlord in the eye and said, 'Are you going to put up the rent?' He looked me in the eye and said, 'Substantially'.

"He said, 'It's not personal, it's business'."

A week later, Gary and Deanne received a letter explaining their rent would increase to $560.

Gary immediately confronted the agent.

"I told them they've put me in a position where we're helpless," Gary said.

"We're good law-abiding citizens, it's just so frustrating.

"The day after we asked to be released from the lease there was someone here inspecting the house."

Almost at breaking point, Gary decided to put out a call for help on social networking site Facebook.

"We've never had to ask anyone for anything before," he said.

"I was very embarrassed to have to ask."

Thankfully though, a friend came to the couple's aid.

"We have a house to rent at the Sunshine Coast," Dee said.

"We're lucky that I had a bit of money aside that we can use to move."

Topics:  gladstone, rental prices



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