A well-known real estate agency has sent a controversial email to landlords containing tips on how they can cash in on a struggling rental market, as hundreds of Sydneysiders grapple with finding a home.
The email, penned by Ray White Bondi Beach, listed three “aggressive”, “proactive” and “passive” ways homeowners who are leasing their property could capitalise on tenants desperately looking to keep a roof over their heads.
Additionally, the agency told its customers maximising on the “once-in-a-decade” housing and affordability crisis was a reasonable thing to do, the ABC reports.
Evicting the tenant and tidying the property before relisting it at a higher rate was the first “aggressive” option the real estate agency suggested.
“This will achieve the maximum increase possible in the shortest time,” the email says.
A “proactive” second option follows, encouraging landlords to raise the rent by 5 to 10 per cent, while the “passive” alternative is to continue leasing the property at its current rate.
According to Fair Trading NSW, landlords are only required to give tenants on a periodic agreement 30 days notice if they have entered into a contract to sell the property.
Additionally, property owners or real estate agents don’t need to give tenants any written notice about the rent increase, while tenants are required to give 21 days notice they’re moving out as a result of a rent rise.
Ray White Bondi Beach real estate agent Ron Bauer told news.com.au he had empathy for tenants, but noted rent increases have been building for years.
“We can’t simply close our eyes and act like it isn’t happening,” he said.
“Our role is to provide transparency to all of our clients – buyers, sellers, investors and tenants and we do that with an enormous amount of pride. If rents were falling, we would be advising our customers of that situation.”
Mr Bauer said the real estate agency has addressed its clients about rising rent issues for well over a year, however understands the issue is quite emotional and their messaging could be improved.
“We can always improve how we communicate, and we will work hard to ensure we get the language right on such emotive issues like this one,” he said.
“The fact is there are not enough houses for people to rent. This is the real issue.”
It’s not the first time the real estate agency has sent an email to landlords outlining how they can increase rent, with Ray White’s Brisbane West End branch sending a similar note late last year.
The contents of the email encouraged property owners to raise their rent by up to 20 per cent, stating Queensland’s tight rental market would make it difficult for tenants to reject the increase.
“Our property managers have been reviewing all our lease renewals and on average recommending a 17 per cent rent increase on the leases renewed in October & November this year,” the email said, per The Guardian.
“As we are planning December lease renewals, the average lease renewal recommendation is above 20 per cent. This can be as much as $10,000 per year in additional rental income.”
The email also suggested renters were agreeing to the increased rates because they’ve assessed the market and “understand (the increases are) fair and reasonable”.
Suburbs where the rate rises were likely to occur were then listed, alongside a comparison weighing up what landlords could receive as rent in contrast to what they were currently receiving.
“If you are not achieving these rents (at a minimum), you should be asking why?” the email read.
While the approach used by Ray White is legal, Maiy Azize national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home, said the reality is Australia has a system that “relies on landlords being nice people”.
“If you have a system that allows legally a landlord to increase the rent by $12,000 a year, then those things are going to happen,” Ms Azize told news.com.au.
“It doesn‘t actually matter whether most landlords are nice … you shouldn’t actually be relying on them to be nice … That’s absolutely not how you run a system for an essential service like housing.”
Instead, Ms Azize is calling on landlords to not give into the “vicious cycle” of arbitrarily raising their tenant’s rent and to do their part in keeping rental rates as low as they can.
Ways landlords can open the door to affordable housing include “(agreeing on) longer leases, more fixed periods where there aren’t rent increases and no unfair rent increases”.
Story Credit: news.com.au