Rent increase: Tenants are facing “unreasonable” price hikes amid the cost of living crisis

Sydney tenants are either forced to practice skyrocketing rents or venture out into uncertain competition for the city’s exorbitant rents.

Emily* lived in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse in eastern Sydney for more than a decade before the property manager sent a text saying her rent would rise from $720 to $850 per week — an 18 per cent increase in prices.

She said home prices had never seen a price increase of more than $40 a week.

The tenant said, “We thought that was pretty unreasonable, so we went back and said we’d accept $50 a week.”

“It closed in less than an hour.”

The real estate agents refused the request, explaining that this is the “market value” of real estate in the area.

It’s a very common problem for renters in Sydney’s hot rental market, where landlords face astronomical pressures due to rising mortgage payments.

Leo Patterson-Ross, head of the NSW Tenants Association’s policy team, said the number of calls they had received from tenants inquiring about rent increases had doubled in recent months.

“It’s a really tough time for the tenants,” he said.

“People are afraid of being forced back into the market, so they are at a disadvantage when dealing with a landlord.”

Full-time college student Bast Winter was forced to move house when his landlord raised his boarding rent in western Sydney by $45 a week – or 22 per cent.

“It definitely scared me a little bit,” Winter said.

“Being on a relatively low income, it is intimidating to know that rent can change so drastically and quickly.

“Flowing over has implications for your ability to pay bills, buy groceries, or have any kind of savings.”

A major misconception of tenants is that there is a cap on how much a landlord can increase rent by in each installment.

“There is no upper limit to what [rent] said Mr. Patterson Ross.

We recently saw a rent increase of $700 per week on the Central Coast, which is about 200 percent of current rent.

“So for people who haven’t had a raise in a while, it can be really tough.”

Tenants are advised to try to negotiate the price with the landlord using examples from the market to reach a compromise on a reasonable price.

“The only option for a lot of people is to prove that the price increase is grossly inflated,” Patterson-Ross said.

Emily decides to take the financial hit of her rising prices rather than face the unknowns of the rental market.

Other tenants in her building cut their losses and moved to a more affordable suburb, though she noticed their property had been vacant for more than a month.

“Unless you want to uproot your whole life,” she said, “you are at the mercy of whatever is dictated to you.”

“I am trying to save my house deposit and this has set me back.

She said the experience was “extremely traumatic” and that she feels “helpless” as a tenant who is independent in her living situation.

“This kind of thing changes the fabric of society because it pushes people out,” she said.

*Emily is a pseudonym.

Originally Posted as Renter in Sydney Describes every nightmare that is so common in today’s market

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