Housing in Exmouth is approaching crisis point as residents and workers struggle to find accommodation, leaving the local chamber of commerce worried businesses may be forced to shut. Exmouth Cape Real Estate licensee Brendon Nowotny said he had a waitlist of more than 40 rental applicants. He said shortages were a result of owners moving back in and properties being sold, as well as a few long-term rentals being converted to short-stay accommodation. Exmouth Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Gillespie described the lack of housing as “dire”. “We are very, very concerned. It is putting extreme pressure on the whole town,” he said. “I am very pessimistic.” Froth Craft Brewery director Pete Firth is among the businesspeople grappling with the issue. “It’s having a huge impact. Last year already we had the problem where it was harder to find people beds than it was to find them jobs,” he said. “It’s quite a concern. It’s not just a concern for new staff, it’s also for retaining them.” Locals also worry come peak season, businesses won’t have staff to service the booming tourism industry. To address concerns, the Shire of Exmouth has this month encouraged landowners to build granny flats as recent changes in legislation mean ancillary dwellings can now be rented to non-family members. In September, the Shire also implemented a $20,000 building incentive payment on top of the State Government’s $20,000 building grant. Shire president Matthew Niikkula said the council had been exploring opportunities for months and building granny flats could be one resolution, but he noted land supply and planning regulations were the State’s responsibility. Member for North West Central Vince Catania is pushing for government to do more, and is expected to host a forum tomorrow.