Aussie real estate agent's 'disgusting' Christmas message to tenants

An email to tenants from a Queensland real estate agent has been labelled "tone deaf" and "insensitive" with people lashing out at its "patronising" tone.

A Gold Coast renter posted a screenshot of the email on Reddit this week which outlined the agent's holiday hours and their expectations of tenants over the Christmas period.

"We will continue to receipt money daily and send money to the owners each week," it said, before detailing a list of "excuses" that are not "valid reasons" for missing payment.

Most of the "excuses" were related to spending money on Christmas. "I spent all my money on presents," said the first "excuse, "the reindeer ate my money," said another. One suggested Santa "stole money" while another said, "I had to buy food for Santa and his reindeer and reindeer eat like horses".

While seemingly tongue-in-cheek, the Gold Coast agency behind the email, Remax, confirmed to Yahoo News Australia it sent the bizarre message to tenants. However the agency ultimately declined to provide further comment or explanation for the stern and unusual correspondence.

Message 'not in the spirit of Christmas'

Queensland tenants union's CEO Penny Carr said Christmas can be a difficult time for many as they struggle to make ends meet, and told Yahoo News Australia this message "belies the situation for many renters".

"The costs of rents are spiralling at an all-time high, coupled with increases in the cost of living costs including energy. If the agency is concerned with the pressure the festive season will put on the tenants in the properties they manage, they would be better off to acknowledge it can be a difficult time, and provide links to charities (many provide Christmas lunch, hampers and/or presents for kids) and emergency relief agencies. The message doesn’t seem to be in the sprit of Christmas," she said.

People slam 'disgusting' message from agent

The overall tone has left some stunned, particularly during a housing crisis. "I am shocked that this is real and not satire," one hit out. One person said the email is "disgusting". "How dare they talk about an essential service like that," they added.

"Seems more like a poorly executed attempt at humour than actual condescension," one suggested, but many agreed it’s "not funny".

One questioned why real estate is the only business that can "get away with treating its customers like that," noting that customers are "the people who pay your wage and give you money".

Meanwhile, another said it is an "excellent example of what is wrong with the housing market" in Australia. "There is no other market that could get away with treating customers like that," they fumed. "The balance of power is so firmly with landlords, and tenants need far more rights."

"What you'd expect from a business is a notification of their holiday closure, a thank you for your patronage during the year and a humane expression of goodwill toward a fellow sentient human that expresses the spirit of Christmas," one said.

A former property manager chimed in on the conversation and said this is the "most unprofessional behaviour I have seen to date". "Talk about not reading the room considering the economic pressure most of us are under at the moment," they said. "Please name and shame your property manager."

A landlord said this kind of behaviour "drives me crazy too" and said many landlords "try to do the right thing" however "agents make it harder for us".

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