Taylor Troeth, Property Journalist
First published 14 Sep 2023, 5:00am
Renters are avoiding their landlords in fear of rental increase, with almost one in three tenants keeping property issues to themselves, according to new research from Finder.
Cost of living, interest rates and limited rental vacancies have driven rental prices up, making it hard for renters to stay afloat.
Almost half of renters reported struggling to pay their rent last month in Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker.
Richard Whitten, home loans expert at Finder, said the rental crisis has instilled “perpetual panic” into renters.
Almost half of renters reported struggling to pay their rent in August, according to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker.
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“Tenants are living in a state of fear that should they do or say something wrong, they will be faced with a rental increase, or forced out when their lease is over,” Mr Whitten said.
Three in five renters said they would not financially survive more than a month if they lost their job tomorrow, one in five said they would not last a week, according to Finder.
“People don’t have the funds to spare. Many are already going beyond their means to keep a roof over their heads,” Mr Whitten said.
Rents are expected to continue to rise, as competition for properties tightens and national rental vacancy has hit a new low with Sydney seeing the biggest quarterly decline across the capital cities, according to PropTrack’s Market Insight Report.
Rental vacancy in Sydney has declined again over the last month, while tenants are fearful of rental increases or being forced to leave once their tenancy is over.
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Vacancy rate data from other research groups also suggested vacancy rates were declining again. SQM Research showed nearly all capital cities had a drop in vacancies over August, with Sydney, Perth and Canberra reporting decreases of 1.4 per cent, 0.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia, which has different vacancy rate data based on surveys of estate agents, showed there was a slight rise in vacancies in many areas, but numbers remained well below trend.
Many Australians are paying more than 30 per cent of their income to secure a rental, according to Mr Whitten.
“Minimising rental costs is one of the biggest ways to save money, but these days it isn’t always possible,” Mr Whitten said.
Generation Y were found to be the most reluctant to contact their landlord or real estate agent in Finder’s research.
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Avoiding your landlord could cause more issues according to Mr Whitten, home loans expert at Finder.
Mr Whitten said that avoiding your landlord could however cause more harm than good.
“Not disclosing issues like property damage or mould upfront could come with serious consequences, including breaching your tenancy agreement,” he said.
With vacancy rates dropping, Mr Whitten suggested negotiating a rental increase
“You’re better off negotiating a rental increase, then ending back on the property market with a black mark against your name,” Mr Whitten said.
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Taylor Troeth, Property Journalist