No friends or visitors of any kind, no music, and no pets — these are all demands Aussie renters have been asked to abide by if they want to put a roof over their head at night.
With the nation's rental crisis continuing to escalate, and as millions grapple with mounting cost of living pressures, life isn't easy for tenants. On top of a lack of vacancies to meet demand, recent data has also confirmed rent values rose for a 35th consecutive month nationally in July.
With Aussies forced to either find funding to buy their own home, or face every bizarre request thrown at them by landlords and other flatmates, it's left some renters in a "very, very tough spot".
'Ridiculous' demands taken too far
While some demands are perfectly reasonable to ask of tenants, others have been branded "ridiculous". Yahoo News Australia has tracked down some of the recent requests that Aussies have been forced to adhere to or live with.
One such advertised listing on the Sunshine Coast has listed a spare room and ensuite, in a share home, for $350 per week. Though bills are included, making the offer somewhat competitive, the rules that prospective candidates must abide by would be considered questionable by most.
"One room and one private bathroom for rent, share use of the kitchen. No garage," the ad for a new flatmate reads.
"Desired applicant: no drugs, no alcohol, no friends, no parties, no visitors, no smoke, no pets, no loud music, clean. International student preferred."
Another person, posting on Facebook asking for advice, said they'd been forced to tell their agent whenever they have guests. "So apparently I have to tell my RE that I have a friend coming from interstate for a holiday, staying at my house for a week?" the person wrote. "Why do they need to know?"
A Sydney renter, who wished only to be identified as Ben, said his former landlord in the inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst refused to fix the property's faulty plumbing.
"There was a bathroom built over the top of a what could described as an open-plan study area," he told Yahoo News Australia.
"Clearly it wasn't supposed to be there, but an extra bathroom would have 'added to the value' or whatever. Anyway, the toilet didn't flush properly — unsurprisingly — and the landlord's solution was to put the used toilet paper in the bin. Yes, seriously."
Bizarre behaviour from homeowners
Another Aussie rental ad, seen by Yahoo, has advised would-be tenants the successful applicant would be drawn from a ballot. Others have asked that applicants be from neither "New Zealand nor India". Another renter claimed they were in the process of taking their landlord to tribunal, after CCTV spotted them wandering around the house in the middle of the day unannounced.
In yet another ad, a private lister asked $425 per week for a "jail cell" looking room, that measures a total of 15 square metres in the Sydney inner-city suburb of Glebe.
One Victorian woman claimed she was not notified before moving into her home that the previous tenant's decomposing body was found inside it after six months.
'Landlords will try anything'
Richard Whitten, money and property expert at Finder, said the sad fact remains that Australian laws favour homeowners over tenants, and it's important that renters "do their own research first" before accepting anything a landlord or real estate agent says as fact.
"Even if the law's on your side, and you know your rights, it's still very hard to push back on demands," Mr Whitten told Yahoo News Australia. "Because landlords have an easy time finding new tenants, they have the upper hand at the moment.
"Doing your own research and fact checking what they say — because often an agent will just claim this is the law and that's just completely not the case — is very important.
Mr Whitten said it's also key to remember that agencies can put "whatever they want in a contract" but that doesn't always mean it's lawful, or even enforceable.
"Landlords and agents sort of try anything," he said.
Asked about instances of landlords abusing their power, Mr Whitten said he'd heard of several extreme cases. "Just like completely racist things — like screening tenant basically based on race," he said. "So like, all sorts of horrible stuff. It's a truly fascinating, bizarre industry."
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