Bondi real estate agent's advice for capitalising on rental crisis reignites calls to ban no-fault evictions
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A Sydney real estate agent has advised landlords wanting to capitalise on the "once-in-a-decade" rental crisis they can kick out long-term tenants to raise rent quickly.
The email sent from Ray White Bondi to its clients says it's reasonable that most landlords would want to "maximise this opportunity" and lays out three options.
The first is the "aggressive" option to evict a long-term tenant, tidy up the property and re-let it at a higher rate.
"This will achieve the maximum increase possible in the shortest time," the email says.
The email from Ray White Bondi Beach suggests a "proactive" approach would be to raise rents by 5-10 per cent while the "passive" option would be to leave the rate as is.
Tenants' Union of NSW policy and advocacy manager Jemima Mowbray said the language used would strike fear into the hearts of renters.
"This kind of message, or this kind of framing from an agent really makes renters worried or anxious about their tenancy," she said.
While the approach is legal, Ms Mowbray said it was unethical given the current crisis.
She said it reflected a housing market that valued property for profit, not as homes.
"Real estate agents are encouraging landlords to maximise the profit and not think about the family or the household who is making a home within that property," she said.
Ray White Bondi Beach real estate agent Ron Bauer said it was extremely rare for landlords to take up the first option.
Whilst having empathy for tenants, he said as an advocate for landlords his job was to help get the best return for them.
"The landlords had it tough with COVID but now they have it tough with high interest rates," Mr Bauer said.
Gina Angelina Scott said she was raised to pay for the roof over her head before anything else.
Record-low vacancy rates and rising rent prices are pushing many Australians to the limit, and low-income Australians are being hit the hardest.
So when her real estate agent told her she had to move out of her Taree home in regional NSW, even though she'd paid the rent on time for five years, she was shocked.
Without a steady income, she had nowhere else to go.
"I sat in the pergola crying my bloody heart out because I didn't know what I was going to do," she said.
She was granted an extension, but in December 2021 had to move out of the property and into emergency accommodation.
Two weeks later the property was advertised for $400 a week, compared to the $320 a week she had been paying.
After nine months staying in a former motel she moved into a bedsit of a friend who was overseas.
She said she missed her old place, especially the garden.
"It was just a really good vibe and then everything's died as soon as I got that phone call," she said.
"They were just fine about kicking me out."
There is little data available on the number of no-grounds evictions in New South Wales.
However, Ms Mowbray said calls to the Tenants' Union from people facing eviction for no reason had increased amid soaring rent prices in Sydney.
She said there was little tenants could do and the threat of no-grounds evictions made other renters fearful of requesting repairs or challenging an unreasonable rent increase.
Under NSW laws, a landlord can evict a tenant at the end of a fixed-term lease with 30 days notice, or during a periodic (month-to-month agreement) with 90 days notice, even if the tenant has paid rent on time, kept the property in good condition and the owner intends to continue renting the property.
NSW Labor has promised to tighten the rules on no-grounds evictions if elected in March.
Queensland and Victoria have recently restricted no-grounds evictions to the end of six or 12-month leases.
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