Bitter debate has erupted online about the nation's housing rental crisis after a Sydney real estate agent posted to Instagram revealing she'd negotiated a $150 per week increase at a property in the city's west.
The agent for LJ Hooker in Bankstown posted a video earlier this year where she happily explained she was able to raise the rent of a property from just under $800 per week being paid by the previous tenants, to $950 for the new occupants.
While the property's owner is sure to be very pleased, screenshots of the video attracted derision when shared online this week, highlighting a bitter divide at the heart of Australian politics at the moment.
Heated debate around agent's online boast
"Don't we all love seeing a leased sticker?" the agent says in the clip. "This (home) has been recently leased for $950 per week." She goes on to explain that before taking on the property "the owner was receiving just under $800 per week for rent".
"If you are looking to maximise your rental return, please contact me."
After the promotional clip from the agent's Instagram was shared elsewhere, some Aussies blasted the move as "slimy", suggesting her actions "are now making it harder for the average Aussie to rent and get a roof over their heads".
Others also seemed less than impressed by the agent's boast, claiming that actively seeking to raise rental fees is "nothing to be proud of".
"So we can rely on you to make the rental crisis worse?" one commented.
However others leapt to the woman's defence. "I don’t understand why she’s been attacked," one person clapped back. "She doing her job. Is it the landlord's fault they have a mortgage to pay and the agent is helping them?".
"Why aren’t we attacking the RBA for forcing increase after increase of rates, or the banks who are profiting $1 billion every month this year?" they argued.
National Cabinet to examine new rules on rent rises
The online acrimony highlights the big problem staring at the country's policymakers as the Greens oppose what they say is the Labor government's modest plans to build more affordable and social housing via its housing Australia future fund.
The federal Greens, meanwhile, are not wavering from their demand for a freeze on rent rises and caps on future increases. The party claims it would save renters billions if it was introduced. The Greens, who plan on raising the issue at Wednesday's National Cabinet meeting, argue that urgent action is desperately needed to protect vulnerable Australians from being forced from their rental homes due to price hikes.
Under new reforms proposed by the Commonwealth, also due to be discussed tomorrow, renters could soon benefit from a ban on no-fault evictions in all states and territories, and a limit on rent increases to once per year.
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