This week I came across a story that was covered on multiple major news platforms where a Sydney renter takes her TikTok followers on a tour of the studio apartment, she pays $500 a week for.
This apartment, according to all the headlines was sparking outrage!
I saw another story about a Melbourne CBD apartment that’s by-line read “it’s like something out of a horror movie”.
I’m finding that rental property horror stories seem to be trending as the clickbait flavour of the month.
Now if you are silly enough to scroll through the comments, and obviously I am, you will see that its all the landlords fault.
“The landlords should be ashamed of themselves”, “how do the owners sleep at night?” and “interest rate rises do not cause this BS”, to quote just a few.
Now some of these properties clearly do have some maintenance issues.
Owners that don’t properly maintain their investment properties are my pet hate, so they won’t get a lot of sympathy from me on that front, but I do think the outrage is a little misguided.
Having spent many years living in a few studio and micro apartments in a Melbourne in my youth, I know very well the reality of living small.
Crappy apartments are not a new invention, there was a time when the best I could afford was a $200 a week windowless studio, and I felt like I was being truly ripped off also.
In times of crisis there are always opportunistic individuals that pop up to exploit the needy.
Trying to rent out a garden shed, or a back yard to pitch a tent, that deserves outrage.
The biggest circles on the Venn diagram of blame should be labelled supply and demand.
In 2021 when I was working in Melbourne our agency had over 100 vacant rental properties. Owners were reducing their rents by hundreds of dollars a week and even giving out rent free periods just to entice anyone to take them.
In just a few short years the pendulum has swung from a crisis of demand to a crisis of supply.
Now I am not sure where it will swing next, but weather you fall on the side of supply or demand one thing I know for sure is that we are all in this together.
The rental housing crisis in Australia is a multifaceted issue that cannot be attributed to a single cause or group of people.
While it may be tempting to click on those sensational headlines, we need to keep in mind that they’re often oversimplifying a more complex issue.
If you ask me, I find it outrageous that we are getting our news from TikTok, but maybe I am just getting old.
Good luck out there everyone.
Written by Ben Broadley