$1 rent rage

Lynda Kinkade
Today Tonight

Wycheproof, an isolated town in north west Victoria, launched the one dollar rent-a farmhouse scheme last year, with enquiries as far away as Ireland.

In exchange for a nominal rent, residents were expected to renovate and refurbish.

At the time the scheme's organiser, Kylie Brown, invited Today Tonight to have a look at one of the properties on offer.

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On paper the scheme sounded like a great idea and three families were accepted. They quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school and moved into town.

Katrina and Don relocated from Sydney's Sutherland Shire. Seven months pregnant, Katrina brought along her two little kids and nephew.

But she was forced to send her two children interstate to live with their grandparents after the ceiling of the house she was renting caved-in. Her five-year-old son Caleb was asleep at the time.

"If he had been on the top bunk it could have killed him," Katrina said.

Powercorp is set to turn off the electricity in the coming weeks, saying the home has been deemed unsafe and a fire risk.

"I think Kylie has no idea what it's like living in these houses," Katrina said.

Kylie Brown denies there are any major problems.

"I don't think anyone with the program expects it to be a palace," she said.

Jeynell and husband Scott Grimshaw-Hughes moved into town with their daughters from Tweed heeds.

Scott, who's a carpenter by trade, was told his family could rent in town while he renovates - but he says the house is beyond repair.

"It won't be long and it'll all come down," he said.

"Half the town has told us that they never intended hem to be rented out to anyone."

The scheme was based on a successful program in Cumnock NSW, but it seems to have failed miserably. Two out of the three families who first signed up are devastated.

Only one family, the Hoogendoorns, say they're content.

The organisers of the Cumnock scheme have distanced themselves from the Wycheproof program.

Kylie Brown maintains the homes offered for rental were inspected.

"These homes have been inspected and if families want a written inspection, then we can arrange for that to occur."

But Katrina and Don are not so sure.

"If so the builder should be scrutinised if he's passed on the building, because I'm damn well sure any builder who had a look at it would not."

Kylie Brown is now organising two new families to move into the homes.

"These homes are able to be renovated and we will be looking for families to move in to them," she said.

Today Tonight requested building inspections but are yet to receive them.

The families are considering taking legal action.