The state of the nation's housing crisis has been laid bare by a property listing for a $240 a week shared "box". The bedroom, featuring two single beds, has raised eyebrows for a glaring detail in its advertisement.
In an image of the rental posted on flatmates.com.au, it's clear the landlord has removed a wardrobe door to be able to fit in one of the beds, with a side table awkwardly squeezed in.
Shared on Reddit, the ad has attracted plenty of attention. "Came across this affordable option," the poster wrote. "We can see for the low price of $240 a week you can share a box with a lucky gal. Unfortunately you're out a closet so they could fit in a bed. I'm sure there wouldn't be a problem sharing the one tiny closet space between the two of you."
Fellow users were outraged by the listing, with one arguing "it would be more comfortable living in a van" because "at least you would have privacy".
All up, the two-bedroom "all female" apartment in Carlton, Melbourne, is advertised as being suitable for four people, split between the master room with an ensuite and a second bedroom with access to its own bathroom. The price includes all utilities such as water, electricity and unlimited internet while the rooms are fully furnished. The minimum stay is six months.
Is it legal?
According to Tenants Victoria, the number of people who can legally share a room is called the 'room capacity', and it all depends on the size of the space. If the floor area of a bedroom is less than 12 square metres, only one person can live in it, while two people can share a bedroom with a floor area of 12 square metres or more.
"We see quite a lot of these ads where it is clear they've loaded more people in than would really be lawful," Tenants," Union of NSW CEO Leo Patterson Ross told Yahoo News Australia. "But it's an indicator of there not being any good options for a lot of people so they're essentially pushed into accepting these kinds of arrangements."
More people pressured into shared rooms
While room sharing "isn't a new phenomenon", Mr Ross said "it does seem that more people are feeling more pressured into it at the moment".
And he's noticed two changes: "It does feel like there are more [share rooms] which is kind of interesting, because it really did seem to reduce during Covid because people were much more nervous about sharing."
"And while this style has been around for decades, the cost has increased a lot as well. So it's not even as cheap as it used to be and you're not even getting that trade-off that you might have in the past."
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