The asking price for a one-bedroom Melbourne apartment went up twice in *one* day following interest from prospective tenants — before any inspections were even held — and it exposes a frustrating problem with landlords in our cooked rental market.
The small ground-level flat in St Kilda was advertised at about $390 in its initial listing in late August, ABC News reported, but renters who registered to inspect the property were informed later that day that the asking price had been changed to $425.
Shortly after, on the same day, the real estate agency informed the renters that the price had risen *again* to $450, “due to a greater than anticipated market demand” — which, according to some prospective tenants ABC News spoke to, priced some renters out.
As someone who has experienced something similar when I unsuccessfully tried to move homes earlier this year (six months of inspecting and applications with zero approvals, imagine all the weekends I’ll never get back), this practice infuriates me.
In my case, I applied to a three bedroom home in Sydney with two others which was already out of our budget because we were getting desperate. The house in question had a dilapidated bathroom that the real estate agent assured us would be renovated before any tenants moved in, because it legally couldn’t be leased out in its state.
Imagine my surprise when, after not hearing back a week after applying, I saw the listing had been updated online with a new, higher asking price because of the interest the home generated. Apparently the renovation was part of the reason the price was increased, despite it being legally necessary and not just an upgrade to the home.
Practices like this not only waste the time of prospective tenants who, as we’ve all experienced, are dealing with a cooked market that already drains the soul of all will to live, they also leave renters like me feeling as though we are being pressured into rental bidding — a practice banned in most Australian states, despite the fact that any renter knows, at least in Sydney, offering above the asking price is an unspoken expectation in order to secure a property.
While it’s completely legal for a landlord to raise the asking price of a property to match market demands, I reckon there’s a special place in hell for the greedy leeches who take advantage of this. To put it simply, the very fact that a property was listed for a lesser amount proves how unnecessary and parasitically opportunistic any increase to the asking price is.
Why can’t the landlord/real estate agency just pick a tenant from the ones that have applied and lease it out at the original asking price? Why continuously shift the goal posts for what people must pay to have basic shelter, thereby contributing to the rental crisis? The answer is obviously money, but it’s incredibly disheartening and a show of how much the entire system needs an overhaul (and how fkn selfish some people can be).
Housing should be treated as a human right, not an in-demand commodity that can have its price jacked up depending on how many people want it. Why is that such a controversial take?