Tricia Ray says she felt stressed and anxious after being told her rent was going up by $100 a week.
Tricia Ray-Kepa has managed to turn a rundown 3 x 1 rental on a noisy thoroughfare in Perth into a charming home, despite its shortcomings.
It is packed with vintage furniture, art, and plants, but it is badly needing repairs and there is no air conditioning so it can be boiling in the summer.
The couple cook on a portable gas burner because, they say, the ageing electric cooker is faulty, while the rest of the kitchen is old and shabby.
They put up with all of that because the house, by Perth's standards, was cheap at $350 a week and is in a good location in the leafy suburb of Mount Claremont.
But, about a month ago, the couple got a nasty shock.
"My real estate [agent] called and he just said 'Tricia, are you going to stay or are you going to go?'," Mrs. Ray-Kepa said.
" He said, 'because we're going to lift the rent, $100 a week extra'.
"I suddenly felt very stressed and anxious.
"You've got to suddenly start saying, oh my goodness, what can we cut in our budget?"
Mrs. Ray-Kepa says she was told they would have to be out of the house in 28 days if they did not agree to pay the extra $100 a week.
Since then, the couple has managed to negotiate down to an increase of $75 but still say it is more than they can afford.
Mrs. Ray-Kepa is one of the scores of tenants who have flooded legal and financial services since the state's COVID-19 rental moratorium - which prevented landlords from increasing rent or evicting tenants - ended in March.
"I rang [community legal service] Circle Green because I wanted to know my rights, it didn't sound right that we had to be out in 28 days," Mrs. Ray-Kepa said.
Her real estate agent, Sam Zeedan, sees it differently, saying the rent has not gone up at the property for the three years since Mrs. Ray-Kepa moved in, while the owner's rates and water rates had increased.
He said Mount Claremont was an expensive area with houses starting at $500 per week and he believed Mrs. Ray-Kepa had been more than looked after.
A report being released today paints a dire picture of soaring rents and evictions, three months since the moratorium was lifted.
The report by the Housing Emergency Response Group [HERG] says evictions have spiked and average rental prices have increased by 15 to 20 percent, while social housing waiting lists are growing.
HERG was set up in April and represents not-for-profit groups and charities who say they are experiencing the full brunt of the impact of the end of the moratorium.
The Financial Counselling Network of WA says the number of clients seeking help has more than doubled since November to 889 clients in May 2021, with housing being the single biggest reason for people approaching the service.
Circle Green Community Legal says it has experienced a 500 per cent increase in calls to 200 a day since the moratorium was lifted, but only half are able to be answered.
The report also found there had been a 66 per cent increase in the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness, with an additional 400 people identified as homeless in the Perth CBD and Fremantle in the two months after the moratorium was lifted.
The waiting list for public housing has also blown out, with the report showing that while the total social housing stock has fallen, more than 2,000 people had been added to the waiting list in the past year.