THE rental market is tough so prospective tenants need to have an edge.
People at a low point in their lives are often overlooked despite being the ones who need a roof over their head the most.
A free three-day course was designed to help people gain the skills to search for rental properties, present themselves as preferable tenants and how to avoid eviction.
Founder of the Rentit Keepit course Penni Wildi from Southern Cross Community Housing said there had been a number of success stories from the four courses that had been run since the beginning of last year.
“We have a great list of speakers who willingly give their time to present modules in their areas of expertise,” she said.
Everyone who completes the course receives a certificate which can be presented to a real estate agent to show they understand their responsibilities as a tenant.
Real Estate agent with Ray White Nowra and course presenter Gaynor Peters said someone from every course had been housed.
“Some of those people had looked at about 50 houses and been rejected each time,” she said.
Ms Peters said most of the time it didn’t require much for people looking for a house to improve their chances.
“The rental market is really tight so the agents have the choice of the best applicants. This makes it very hard on homeless people,” she said.
“We tell them why they’re not getting a look-in and what they need to do to meet the criteria.
“This course really helps people get into a house and move on with their lives,” she said.
Bridget Lucas, who now lives in Bomaderry, was homeless until a few days ago. She was a good example of someone being at a low point in their life and being overlooked as a tenant.
She was living in a women’s shelter when she heard about the course.
She graduated from the Rentit Keepit course, something she believes went a long way toward her securing a house and keeping her daughters.
Ms Lucas was the first graduate from the course to secure a house.
“After the course I did secure a house but had to leave it to care for my mentally ill mother in Queensland,” she said.
“I recently moved back to the Shoalhaven but was faced with the same problem of needing to find a home.
“I spent a couple of nights at the Riverhaven Motel before getting the Community Housing house I’m in now.
“At one stage I was at risk of losing my daughters. I was motivated to find a house and this course helped me.
“I learned how to prepare, how to present myself to the real estate agents and those things can make a big difference.
“It has been a challenge, but now I’m really happy. This isn’t about me, it’s about my children,” she said.
For information on the next course phone Penni Wildi at Southern Cross Community Housing on 4421 5145.