Real estate's 'insane' email forcing $170 rent increase
The ‘shocked’ tenants say they initially thought the real estate agent’s request was fake.
A Brisbane couple say they’re in “shock” after their real estate agent “offered” them a $170-a-week increase in rent on their Cannon Hill home.
The pair had been “going back and forth” with their agent since September, trying to renew their lease, after moving in last March.
“Initially they offered us a $100 increase so our rent would go from $480 to $580,” Julia told Yahoo News Australia. “We went back and forth with them trying to reach something in between that. I think our final offer was $530 but they rejected that.”
“In response, we got the $170 increase last week after we laid it out to them, like begged them, please don't put it up, we are really struggling, we can't even afford that much.”
Couple hit back at 35 per cent rent rise
Once again the couple pleaded with their agent to meet them halfway.
“We emailed through, breaking it down, saying this is 35 per cent more, this is so much more, we already told you we can’t afford that,” the 27-year-old explained. “Like we went back to them basically being like, this is insane, we can’t handle this.”
“It was just really, really overwhelming, and I guess we were just so shocked. We thought it [the $170 offer] was fake, like we had to reread it so many times.”
The news has since sent shock waves through the young couple’s life, with Julia living with disabilities and not working.
“It's what we think about when we wake up, it’s what we think about when we go to sleep, like our whole life is this rental crisis at the moment,” Julia said. “My partner’s been crying, she is really upset.. I started having a panic attack yesterday... Like it's like our house, you know. It’s where we live.”
Greens MP fights for rent freeze
With “no choice” but to move, the couple reached out to Queensland Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather who is campaigning for a national two-year freeze on rent increases.
“It’s shocking and it shows how broken and unregulated our rental market is,” the Member for Griffith told Yahoo News Australia. “I’ve heard stories as worse as $250 a week rent increases and the reality is, there is very little renters can do about it.”
He is urging the Federal Government to recall parliament for an emergency freeze on rent increases, as well as immediately engaging in a mass build of public and community housing, phasing out negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, and introducing a vacancy tax.
“It’s like we know the solutions are there, the Federal Government just needs to have the guts to do them,” he said. “There are now millions and millions of people who are getting screwed over by a housing system that prioritises the profits of banks and property developers over ordinary people.”
An email today - a couple in Griffith who begged a real estate agent to not raise their rent by more than $100. The agent turned around and "offered" a $170 a week rent increase. Now they're being evicted. This is happening across Australia and will only get worse. https://t.co/ttI2tyJ8N4
— Max Chandler-Mather (@MChandlerMather) December 19, 2022
Real estate retraction
On Friday and then again on Monday, Mr Chandler-Mather posted about the Cannon Hill couple’s situation on Twitter. On Wednesday, Julia shared his Tweet on Reddit with the caption “fa la la la la la ka ching” and “rentals in Brisbane are a joke,” while naming the agent responsible. The post has since received more than 1,500 reactions and close to 700 comments.
Within a few hours, Julia said the company had been in touch.
How to respond in each Aussie state if your landlord ups the rent
“The real estate contacted us saying that they saw the post on Reddit and apparently it was a mistake and it [the increase] should have been $560 which is interesting that they only realised that it was a mistake yesterday,” she said.
“We went back to them and said $540 is the most we can do, that’s still a $60 increase in our rent. We haven't heard back from them yet but maybe they'll take the $540. I don't know. It's really hard to say, it's just a lot of anxiety, checking your emails constantly.”
Yahoo News Australia reached out to the agent but has not received a response by the time of publishing.
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