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A million-dollar home in the Western Australian city of Mandurah is at the centre of a reality television show controversy with suggestions House Rules contestants Russell and Carole Bramston may not be all they seem.
Portrayed as battlers struggling to pay off a mortgage, the Western Australian couple have been reported as having a $2.3million property portfolio.
Included in this is a luxury canal home in Halls Head which is currently on the market for $AU1.17million ($NZ1.25million) and listed with Harcourts Mandurah.
But the scandal surrounding the couple is nonsense, according to a source close to the couple who wished to remain anonymous.
"These guys are exactly as they appear on the show," the local source said.
"They did buy the [Halls Head] house but they will be selling it at a massive loss."
"They are indeed battlers."
The source said the couple would be lucky to be left with much cash at all, even if they sold everything they owned.
They have never lived in the local property, which is fully mortgaged, and do not have a multi-million dollar property portfolio, according to the source.
"This issue of the canal home is not quite what people are making it out to be," the source said.
"It is not true they are worth $2.3million."
There is no restriction listed in the House Rules eligibility requirements prohibiting contestants owning more than one property, but the property featured on the show must be the primary residence of the couple.
The Bramstons are understood to live in the house featured on the show.
"(The second property) has been on the market for 12 months and it is killing us," Carole Bramston told The West Australian.
"We are allowed to have other properties, it's not against the House Rules. It's not about what we own anyway - we worked our butts off for six months (on the show). Why would I go and do something like that, be away from my family for so long, if I was a millionaire?"
In a magazine article this week, five of the six couples who appeared on this season's show were reported to own multiple properties.
There is no suggestion any of the contestants have broken any rules.
Rather, the controversy has centred on the show's portrayal of the team members as struggling home owners.
"To have no mortgage, I'd go dancing up and down the driveway," Carole said in a video describing how she would feel if she and her husband won the money.
"Having our mortgage paid off would be a huge milestone in our lives," Russell said.
"It's a struggle for everyone.
"It's a huge struggle for us."
- Mandurah Mail & Stuff.co.nz
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