Melbourne property

The trapped Melbourne home owners who can’t buy or sell as property market remains closed

PHOTO: Selling a house in Melbourne has been incredibly difficult the past seven weeks during lockdown while private inspections have been banned. Photo: Peter Rae

Natalie Brennan has not got through the past seven months by collapsing in a heap on the floor, but speaking through the phone from her home in Berwick, her voice wobbles as she tells her story and it’s difficult to imagine how she is still standing.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year of intense struggle for anyone living in Melbourne. But for Ms Brennan, whose 49-year-old  husband Gerard suffered two strokes — one in February and one in July — it has been emotionally and financially crippling.

Not only did Gerard have another stroke in July, he also lost his job as a forklift driver for a major pharmaceutical company. By the time Melbourne went into stage 4 lockdown in August, the family were down to one single part-time income, with soaring medical expenses, two children at home and no one to help with Mr Brennan’s care.

They made the heartbreaking decision to sell their house to try to reduce their debt but quickly discovered it was going to be near impossible with the Victorian government’s ban on private inspections.

They decided to hang on until September 14, when it was expected the restrictions would be eased enough to allow private inspections again. In the meantime, Ms Brennan worked up to seven days a week to try and support the family, leaving her two children Alana, 14, and Aidan, 12, at home to care for their father.