Tenant says her rent has increased by $700 every 2 weeks
Like many cities around the world, Sydney, Australia is experiencing a rental crisis.
The problem is multifaceted. First, Sydney has little available housing stock, with less than 2% of its rental stock available for rent. This has made the market so competitive that one stockbroker claimed it received over 100 applications for each available unit.
Second, New South Wales, the Australian state that includes Sydney, has not adequately regulated rental rates. While there are limits on how often the rent can be increased, there is no limit to how much a landlord can increase their rent in the state.
This has resulted in rents rising 45% since 2020 and “a 52% increase in the number of households experiencing extreme housing stress,” according to ABC.
Now a Sydney, Australia-based user has gone viral on TikTok after sharing his own rent increase story.
In a video with over 4 million views, TikTok user Chantelle (@chantellecschmidt) claims that her landlord in Redfern, a Sydney suburb, has increased her rent by A$700 fortnightly, or about $470 every two weeks. That’s an increase of about 36%, bringing her total new rent to AUD$5,590 or $3,755 per month.
“For a three-bedroom home, that’s a significant and confrontational increase, totaling over $230 per room,” Chantelle reads in an email to her property manager.
@chantellecschmidt Please tell me more about the market. #Rent negotiations #Tribunal #Rental Crisis #SydneyRental Crisis #Rental Property #Housing Crisis ♬ O-Ton – Chantelle Schmidt
While Chantelle tried to negotiate and even found a comparable house for less money to compare against, the landlord didn’t budge. In the end, Chantelle’s negotiations were rejected.
According to Chantelle, the property has other issues that call into question the rent increase. For example, in a later video, she says she recently complained to her property manager about a bad smell permeating the building. A few days later, she received an email about the rent increase.
There are few routes for those stuck in Chantelle’s situation. While NSW tenants have the ability to challenge rent increases as excessive, “it is up to you to apply them and prove them with evidence about market conditions and other factors,” writes NSW’s tenants’ union.
As a result, the Tenants Union says it is “too difficult for tenants to challenge excessive rent increases,” and “the excessive rent increase provisions are underused: they account for only two percent of applications to the tribunal’s Tenancy Division.”
In the comments section below Chantelle’s video, users expressed their disbelief at both the original price and its increase.
“How is $4,600 a month affordable????” asked a user.
“As a landlord, I wouldn’t even think of increasing the rent of our property at the moment – let alone by that much!” exclaimed a second.
“Sorry, the price in REDFERN? That should be illegal in itself,” said a third.
Chantelle later posted an update video apologizing for the lack of updates and saying more information will be available in the coming weeks.
Commentators hope for a positive result.
“Hope it’s convenient for you,” shared one user. “The sheer greed of landlords is disgusting!! Legislation will soon ban this behavior!!”
We contacted Chantelle via email.
*Initial publication: March 17, 2023 at 8:00 am CDT
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.
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