Qld estate agency told landlords to raise rent by 20%

A Brisbane estate agency has urged landlords to raise rent for tenants by 20% because now is apparently the perfect time. Someone give me some AJAX so I can eradicate this scum.

Ray White West End emailed landlords asking if their properties were ‘sublet’. He then suggested raising the rent on their properties by more than 20%. For your information, inflation is around 6%. A bit of a gap there.

“Many landlords do not receive the information needed to make an informed decision,” the email reads, per Guardian Australia.

He then noted that some landlords had been advised to increase rent only by only $5 to $20.

“Our property managers have reviewed all of our lease renewals and have recommended an average rent increase of 17% on leases renewed in October and November of this year,” the email reads.

“As we anticipate lease renewals in December, the average lease renewal recommendation is above 20%. This can add up to $10,000 per year in additional rental income.

Oh yeah, let’s raise people’s rent by $10,000 a year! Never mind that wages have stagnated and we are in a cost of living crisis. Now is definitely the time to make housing even more unaffordable!

Sure, that’s shabby on any timeline, but it’s particularly cooked for suggesting rent hikes now that Australia is in the grip of a rental slump that has only gotten worse.

The Queensland Government is literally set to host a housing summit this week due to rising homelessness – but of course, let’s wring those tenants for all they’re worth!

The email goes on to suggest that the tenants “agree” with the rent increases, which they called “fair and reasonable”. I’m pretty sure that tenants forced to pay skyrocketing rents at the risk of not having a place to live should be considered “exorbitant” or “a hostage situation”, which is not pleasant.

“On average apartments in West End/Highgate Hill/South Brisbane/Brisbane CBD rent for a room from $480 to $520+ [a week and for] two bedrooms $675 to $850+ [a week]“, continues the e-mail.

“If you’re not hitting those rents (at a minimum), you should ask yourself why?”

Jesus fucking Christ. How did we get to a point where landlords are encouraged to think about why they aren’t making life as difficult as possible for their tenants?

Senior Estate Agent for Ray White West End Luke O’Kelly justified the email and said rent affordability would worsen “if investors lose faith in the Brisbane market”.

“Over the past 12 months, Brisbane has seen one of the strongest population growths in the country and this has been most clearly manifested in the growth in rents,” O’Kelly said.

“At the moment Brisbane does not have enough accommodation for those who want to live here…with rents rising so rapidly, Brisbane needs more property investors.”

Just for the record: one in five empty homes in Australia is actually in Queensland. The state faces the worst rental crisis in its history although 87,000 homes in the state are empty. So no, it’s not that there aren’t enough houses for the burgeoning population, it’s that they’re being hoarded.

Managing Director of Tenants Queensland Penny Carr criticized the email as a demonstration of “opportunistic price pricing”. It’s honestly reminiscent of when everyone wanted to buy COVID tests, so vendors were selling them at extortionate prices. Except it’s housing and the consequence of rising prices is homelessness.

“Rents are currently unaffordable for people and tenants have to absorb the increases for fear of not finding another property or becoming homeless,” she said.

“We should only allow rent increases above the CPI if they are justifiable and there has been major work done on the property or something has needed to be replaced.”

Greens Critic for Housing and Homelessness Max Chandler Mather also criticized the “glaring” price spike.

‘It’s this kind of blatant price hike that shows exactly why we need a national two-year freeze on rent increases,’ he told Guardian Australia.

Bring in a national rent freeze so we can crush these landlords like the parasites they are.

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