A not-for-profit real estate agency says investors can potentially save lives and avoid paying the State Government’s impending tax on vacant dwellings by renting their investment properties to people facing homelessness, the Herald Sun reports.
Since March 2014 HomeGround Real Estate has helped hundreds of people priced out of the rental market – many of them young families – avoid or escape homelessness by matching them with the properties it manages.
Heather Holst, deputy chief executive at Launch Housing and a driving force behind HomeGround Real Estate, said using the agency was a chance for people to make an ethical choice when renting out their investment property.
“We provide professional property management and go through a lot of trouble matching landlords with suitable tenants,” Dr Holst said.
HomeGround Real Estate landlords who lowered the rent below market value could claim the difference as a charity donation, and any profits made by the agency went back to homelessness services provided by its parent organisation, Launch Housing.
Dr Holst said she hoped the State Government’s proposed vacant property tax would send a message that housing was there to be used, and encourage investors to list their property with HomeGround Real Estate.
Priced out of the buyer’s market on her own, Kerren Clark teamed up with a friend to buy an investment property in Moonee Valley.
Ms Clark leased the property through HomeGround Real Estate and urged property owners to consider the agency.
“They helped with the pre-purchase inspection. They did all the advertising and got tenants for us quickly,” Ms Clark said.
“Being able to help someone who needed a home just seemed the perfect way to rent our property.”