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Outrage as real estate agency increases rent by $50 after ‘overwhelming' interest

The listing was pulled after frustration swirled online, and the real estate agency has since apologised.

The pain of securing a rental property right now is being felt across the country with queues of hopeful tenants seen outside available properties, yet some real estate agencies have been accused of making the most of renters misfortune — with one increasing a property's rent the day of the viewing due to the high demand for the home.

Real estate agency Nelson Alexander advertised a vacant property in the inner suburbs of Melbourne and scheduled a viewing on Thursday, only for those who expressed their interest to receive a text hours beforehand saying the agency was upping the weekly rent from $600 to $650 due to "overwhelming" demand.

A text shared showing real estate agency Nelson Alexander increased the rent by $50 per week.
Real estate agency Nelson Alexander increased the rent by $50 per week due to high demand ahead of the property viewing in Melbourne. Source: Instagram

The exact location of the property and number of bedrooms it has is unknown as the advertisement has since been pulled, however, hopeful renters and many others were angered by the text which was shared by journalist Jacqueline Felgate online.

The move was branded as "greedy" and "disgraceful" as the real estate agency was accused of perpetuating the rental crisis further.

Left, six people can be seen queuing just outside the entrance of a building. Right, a long queue along a residential street.
Over the weekend rentals in Melbourne had long queues outside as people waited their turn to view properties. Source: TikTok

Real estate agency apologises for text advising increased rent

After the text circulated the internet and received backlash the real estate agency issued an apology and said they "do not solicit or encourage any form of rental bidding".

"Whilst the current issue at hand is not a breach of legislation, it fell short of our commitment to fair and transparent practices," the statement read. "We are deeply aware of the moral and social responsibility we have to our community during these challenging times."

The real estate agency wrote an apology statement online.
Nelson Alexander apologised for a text notifying prospective tenants of the increased rent and acknowledged it was 'challenging times'. Source: Instagram

It is unclear when the property will be put back on the market, with no confirmation of price it will be advertised for. Yahoo News Australia reached out to real estate agency Nelson Alexander for further comment.

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