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Rabie Chehade defends rent-free home exchange deal for tenant to renovate in Greenacre, Sydney.


The real estate agent for an “unlivable” three-bedroom house listed as “rent-free” in exchange for a tenant renovating it out of pocket has defended the controversial proposal.

Greenacre’s house in western Sydney was listed by estate agent Rabie Chehade, who hailed it as a ‘win-win’ situation for the landlord and a tenant looking for a long-term lease.

Initially advertised as one year of a three-year lease that is rent-free, Mr Chehade said the rent will instead be offset over the life of the lease by the total amount spent on renovations by whoever moves in.

Photos from inside the house show exposed drywall and no ceiling in many rooms, with loose wiring hanging from the roof structure.

The ad was widely bullied online by people pointing out how much it would cost to renovate the dilapidated property.

The owners of the house are hesitant to sell because it has been in their family for over 50 years.

“The owner is actually short on cash and he wants to rent it, it’s been vacant for three years,” Mr Chehade told Sunrise on Tuesday morning.

“I think it’s a restaurateur’s dream.”

He then put out a call for “properly licensed tradies” who could work on the house themselves to apply to live there.

The house was originally advertised for $650 a week after the first rent-free year, which equates to nearly $34,000 in rent per year.

While the cost of renovation is uncertain, some people online have estimated that it would cost more than $100,000 to make the house habitable – making the proposed rent-to-renovation deal laughably one-sided.

But when questioned about the financial viability of the deal, Mr Chehade revealed more incentives for potential tenants to jump on the deal.

An ‘unlivable’ three-bedroom house in Greenacre, western Sydney, (pictured) is listed as rent-free, but with a catch: successful tenants must renovate it out of pocket

“The owner is happy and willing to sit down with a potential person and come to an agreement on the work of the actual property and a long-term lease and rent that is below market for the future,” he said.

‘It’s not just rent-free for the first year. If the renovation costs replace the first year, we cover the second and third years and compensate the rent.

‘It’s a nice deal, it’s a win-win situation for both the tenant and the landlord.’

After a few days on the market, it was delisted after Mr Chehade claimed he had received ‘sufficient interest’.

“We are preparing to conduct a number of parties through the property,” Mr Chehade said.

Real estate agent Rabie Chehade (pictured) called the deal a

Real estate agent Rabie Chehade (pictured) called the deal a “win-win” situation, though tenants may have to pay more than $100,000 to cover renovation costs

While Mr Chehade believes the incentives will result in the house having its first tenant in years, NSW Premier Chris Minns weighed in on the proposed deal online.

“There is no excuse for this,” Mr Minns wrote on Twitter.

“That is why we are now taking action to reform our rental laws.”

Other Twitter users commented on the state of the house in a separate post from Mr Minns.

‘So it needs kitchen, bathroom, (insulation) and gyproc for all interiors plus decoration and exterior works. And that’s exactly what we can see,” one user wrote in response to photos of the property.

“(It costs) $150,000, even cheap and (the landlord) thinks a $34,000 rent reduction and free labor will please you?”

“Wouldn’t that be even close to a full renovation with a year’s rent,” another Twitter user wrote.

“I’m not sure how to live in it while you’re doing it either!”

Photos from inside the house (pictured) show exposed dry walls and ceilings in numerous rooms in the house with exposed wiring hanging down

Photos from inside the house (pictured) show exposed dry walls and ceilings in numerous rooms in the house with exposed wiring hanging down

“You get to renovate this person’s property, with your own money, so you can live in it but own nothing of it, and then you get to pay them rent for the luxury,” Steph Briese said in a video posted to TikTok .

“This, contrary to the suggestion that this is an opportunity for a sensible person, is disgusting.

“What kind of hellscape of late capitalism are we living in, where a landlord and a real estate company find it acceptable to rent out a property that is not legally habitable. And then make the tenants pay for it?’

“If the landlord doesn’t have the money to upgrade the property, they have to sell it,” one user wrote under the TiKTok.

“If a building inspector determines it to be unlivable, it is the owner’s responsibility to refurbish it to make it livable,” wrote a second.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the tenants get evicted after the renovations are done,” joked a third.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Chehade for comment.

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