A rental listing for a Sydney apartment has exposed the truth about the leasing market, as some landlords capitalise on tenants’ desperation.
The North Ryde two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with one car space caused a stir online after its weekly rent rate jumped from its original advertised price of $680 per week to $850 per week while on the market for a tenant.
The $170 price jump was applied five days after the property was first listed, before being leased for the higher price a day after.
But plenty of Sydneysiders are now scratching their heads over how the price hike was allowed, after a struggling renter posted the ad to Reddit in the Sydney forum.
“Been searching left and right for a place near my office and this is the result,” the prospective renter said in a caption accompanying the post.
“Please send help. I’m a good tenant but I’m not even given a chance.”
While the post left some Redditors gobsmacked, others weren’t surprised due to enduring months of the same experience.
“It is TOTAL HELL out there and it is the absolute same in every suburb. My friend take what you can get, as it is getting worse and unless you have money you will be totally screwed very soon,” one comment replying to the post read.
“Can confirm it’s awful, we’re about to hit the road and nomad around the country for about a year because we can’t bear to pay rent anymore,” a second said.
Meanwhile others were questioning the legality behind such a high increase.
“That’s a big jump, is that legal? I’m pretty sure there is a limit on how much it can increase,” another comment read.
While this increase, and dozens of other rent hikes happening around the country, aren’t illegal, head of the NSW Tenants’ Union Leo Patterson-Ross said it goes to show how real estate agents are capitalising on struggling renters.
“There’s a risk for the agent in changing the price (as) they may be seen engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct … but ultimately it most likely the agent realised they could get a whole lot more (for the property),” he told news.com.au.
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Mr Patterson-Ross described the state’s rental market as an “out of whack and unfair approach” to an essential service that’s in dire need of better regulation.
“They say a fair market value is where two parties are willing but not anxious to be in business … but the problem is renters are very anxious so that allows for inflation and leveraging on this desperation and that’s not a good way of providing essential services,” he said.
As a result, those Sydney tenants who can’t afford to pay today’s rent prices are being forced to seek alternate avenues to afford a roof over their head.
This includes downsizing, sharing a single apartment with multiple people or forcing them out of the rental market into an already struggling social housing system.
Meanwhile, those still in the market are left competing with dozens of other renters over a small amount of available properties with some people being rejected one hundred times before they’re able to secure a leasing agreement.
“Sydney is really going through a very nasty time for renters at the moment,” Mr Patterson-Ross said.
“(But the reality is) we are not at the worst that it can get.”
As the country endures a shortfall of more than 443,000 social housing properties and with 66 per cent of Sydney renters in rental stress, the union CEO is calling on the next state government to prioritise the availability of affordable houses.
“Everyone knows the government stepped in when energy prices were going out of control, that was to prevent energy price increases,” he said.
“Renters are facing a few thousand-dollar increases and we are not seeing that same amount of care.
“The next state election really needs to be very clear on how they are going to address these issues because we can’t continue with the business as usual approach that’s leading NSW families into dire circumstances.”
As for when is the right time for landlords to increase rent, a spokesperson for the Property Owners’ Association of NSW said the following times are the most appropriate.
“Normally at the start of the lease, when the lease comes up for renewal, when there has been considerable improvements to a property, or when costs have increased to such a degree that rent increases are required for the landlord to be able to continue to cover costs,” the spokesperson said.
Story Credit: news.com.au