Forced out by floods

COFFS Coast families are facing life on the streets after being evicted from their flood-ravaged homes last week - and the law is on the landlord's side.

The Advocate was contacted by a family of six renting a unit at Park Beach that was rendered uninhabitable when sewage and floodwater inundated their home. Last Thursday - the day the flood was declared a natural disaster - the landlord of the block of units handed the majority of the residents an eviction notice that effectively gave them 18 hours to move out.

“We lost everything,” the resident said.

“Our lease was supposed to be up in two weeks but he hands us a letter saying the lease is terminated and we have to be out tomorrow.

“There are 10 kids who lived in those units and two pregnant women. Everyone's been evicted.”

Unfortunately for the residents, the landlord's actions are actually justified by the law.

Information from the Office of Fair Trading states that if a rented premises is rendered uninhabitable because of natural disaster, the landlord can give the tenant immediate notice to end the tenancy.

Landlords are also not obliged to compensate the tenant for any damage to their furniture or personal belongs arising from natural disaster.

The evicted residents in this case join hundreds more Coffs Coast people who were displaced by the natural disaster last week, many of who have been put into emergency accommodation by the Department of Community Services.

But with the Easter long weekend starting on Friday, the majority of accommodation in Coffs Harbour has been booked out by visitors, leaving many wondering where the locals will go.

A representative of DoCS told the Coffs Coast Recovery Committee meeting on Tuesday that more than 100 formal applications for assistance have been received from flood-affected residents.

CAN YOU HELP? If you have any spare accommodation, contact Meena at the Coffs Harbour Accommodation Brokerage and Housing Support Service on 66518336.

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