A real estate agent has been forced to apologize after using a crude analogy to argue that landlords should never give discounts to tenants.
Trevor Pickens, who works for Quinta Real Estate in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Vermont South, made the comments in the private Landlord’s Victoria Facebook group.
Pickens said even offering a $10 discount below market rate to a tenant was the equivalent of giving them a $520 gift over the course of a year.
‘Did you spend $520 on your wife the last time you gave her a gift?’ she asked.
‘Probably not. Well, if you give your tenant a discount of $10 a week, that’s what you’ve given them. $20pw is a gift of $1040.
“You don’t sleep with your tenant, so make it a market rent.”
Melbourne estate agent Trevor Pickens has been forced to apologize after making a crude analogy about why landlords shouldn’t give discounts to tenants.
Pickens told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday that following the backlash he changed his comments and apologized for any offense they may have caused.
“I see that some people might have been offended by that,” he said.
He said his analogy was purely intended to “do the math” and illustrate the sum that amounted to a $10 weekly discount over the course of a year.
Although Pickens believed some owners could still offer a “friendliness” discount, most found it difficult to do so under current market conditions.
“Some owners can handle it with all the other pressures, but others find it difficult,” he said.
‘That is the reality we all face. It’s difficult for everyone.”
As well as inflation causing a crisis in the cost of living for Australians, those who rent are facing an even greater struggle with a shortage of available properties, causing prices to skyrocket.
Pickens apologized for the crude way he illustrated the mathematics and said he changed his comment in a private Facebook group after it attracted criticism.
Australia is mired in a rental crisis and the national vacancy rate has fallen to a record low.
Late last year the vacancy rate was reported to be just 1.02 percent, with most major capital cities following the trend, according to PropTrack’s Market Insight Report.
Vacancies in Sydney fell to a record low of 1.11 per cent, down more than 60 per cent from March 2020.
The number of properties available in Melbourne has halved compared to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rental vacancy rate is at a record low in Queensland and available options in Brisbane are less than one per cent.
While Pickens believed some owners might offer discounts for friendliness, he said most couldn’t afford it.
It’s even harder to find rentals in the west, as Perth’s vacancy rate has remained below one per cent for 15 consecutive months, hitting 0.7 per cent in October.
Hobart saw the steepest drop with 0.18 per cent fewer rental options, but remained the second easiest city to find a rental.
Adelaide was one of two capital cities to buck the trend with a slight increase, but maintained the lowest vacancy rate in the country.
Darwin’s vacancy rate jumped from 0.68 per cent to almost 2.5 per cent.
Regional areas of each state were on par with their capital cities when it came to the movement of rental vacancies, with South Australia and the Northern Territory the only areas to see an increase in rental availability.