The stressful reality of Australia’s rental crisis was exposed with nearly 100 people queuing to inspect a small unit that looked different from the online listing.
The queue to inspect an upstairs studio in Sydney’s Bondi Beach was ‘like queuing to enter a nightclub’.
Potential tenants say they were attracted by the proximity to Bondi Beach, which was less than a five-minute walk away.
With a record number of available rental properties and rents soaring, millions of Australians are fighting a losing battle to find rental housing.
The top body for housing policy in NSW, Shelter NSW, told the Daily Mail Australia that applying for rental housing has become ‘like The Hunger Games’.
What the property looked like upon inspection, after queuing for 20 minutes with up to 100 potential tenants
The online listing shows off an airy kitchen, but upon inspection, this area was occupied by a pull-out bed
A man interested in renting the Bondi unit but declined to be identified by name told Daily Mail Australia that the line stretched ‘from the top of the stairs into the street’ and caught the attention of locals .
Even the agent was “shocked” at how many people came to see what was advertised as a “beach studio” for a low $380 a week.
But once inside most were disappointed, even at that price.
‘The photos online showed a light, airy and clean apartment – but when I finally had to babysit after waiting for 20 minutes, I felt claustrophobic after five minutes,’ John told Daily Mail Australia.
“I was shocked at how different it looked from what was advertised online.”
“The unit barely fit in the double bed, with the kitchen about three feet away,” John said.
The bathroom at the address looked different from the photo in the ad, John said.
Online listings are understandably required to show a property in its best light.
Daily Mail Australia approached the broker for comment.
The stressful reality of Australia’s rental crisis was exposed with hundreds of people queuing to inspect a small unit that looked different from the online listing
The bathroom as it appeared in the online advertisement for the studio at 68 Gould Street, Bondi Beach
The actual bathroom looked different from the online photos
The NSW Tenants Union told Daily Mail Australia that there isn’t much people can do when properties look different in person than the online advertisements.
‘They know their ability to lock up housing may depend on’ [putting up with] the.’
It’s an experience that happens hundreds – if not thousands – of times a weekend across Australia.
While the difference between the realtor’s online photos and the in-person reality isn’t new, today’s market means it’s just as difficult for renters across the country as it’s ever been.
The skyrocketing rents and heartbreaking queues resulting from historically low vacancy rates have significantly worsened tenants’ prospects.
Nationally, only 0.9 percent of rental housing is available, while for Sydney the figure stands at a record low of 1.3 percent.
That is almost half the level of July last year, 2.4 percent.
In Melbourne, the rental vacancy rate is 1.4 percent, while the situation is even worse in Brisbane and Hobart.
In Brisbane, only 0.7 percent of homes are for rent, compared to 0.5 percent.
The cost of rent is arguably an even bigger factor, especially with prices for basic necessities such as electricity, gasoline and groceries soaring in 2022.
While national real estate values fell 2% in the three months to July, rents rose 9.8% in the year to July.
Cathy Callaghan of ShelterNSW expects a focus on tenants to become an issue in the upcoming NSW elections on 25 March 2023.
“Thirty percent of people are renting, so that’s a lot of people affected by these problems — that’s a lot of voters.”
She said governments should recognize that renting is no longer “a phase” that people go through.
“A lot of people are renting now, and a lot of them will be renting for life,” she said.
“Over a third of households rent in NSW.
The queue to inspect an upstairs studio for 68 Gould Street, Bondi Beach, with everyone waiting up to 20 minutes to get in, was ‘like queuing to enter a nightclub’
The top body for housing policy in NSW, Shelter NSW, told Daily Mail Australia that applying for rental housing has become ‘like The Hunger Games’
Rent should be a reasonable alternative to owning your own home – in terms of affordability and security.
“Instead, we see the Hunger Games being played – with unfair evictions, price gouging and very stressful job applications.”
Jemima Mowbray of the NSW Tenants Union told the Daily Mail Australia that it is time governments treated housing as an ‘essential service, just like water or energy’.
“If governments started to see housing as an essential service, they would step in and regulate the rental housing market if the market failed,” said Ms Mowbray.
‘This example is another example of how the private rental market is currently failing tenants in NSW.’
ShelterNSW called on the government of NSW to increase the percentage of so-called ‘social housing’ options (public or community-run housing stock capped at about 30 percent of income) to more than five percent of the total housing stock.
The availability of affordable rental stock has steadily declined in NSW over the past decade.
The NSW Tenants’ Union said people in need of a home are not in a position to complain about the ‘bad behavior’ of real estate agents and landlords.
‘This one [behaviour] can look like photos of the property that just don’t match the listing, as do some real estate agents — especially where the market is tight — encouraging tenants to outbid each other to secure the property.
‘While [it is] unprofessional, and in some cases illegal and a very clear violation of an agent’s code of conduct, tenants are not in a position to complain.
“They know their ability to lock up homes can depend on it.”
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