Cant get a lease on an inner city place Post Header

By Carla O’Hara and Brian Hudson

The Sydney branch of Nationalist Alternative is currently engaging in a campaign to reach out to help young Australians in the dire predicament of finding and securing a lease on inner city accommodation.

A rental crisis is not just looming its occurring right now and many Aussies are increasingly finding themselves outmanoeuvred and ousted from an ultra competitive, inner-city rental market. Forced into unsuitable accommodation, including squats, the idea of plentiful, cheap, and geographically close student accommodation is as dead in the water as a free university education.

Local students are totally marginalised in the struggle for increasingly scarce resources, including accommodation and casual work.  This effectively means they are being forced out of their traditional living space in the pursuit of Australia’s third largest export: Education.  This is the white-elephant standing in the room no one is willing to address.

In 2009, Melbourne University students with no alternatives for accommodation resorted to squatting, only to be faced with eviction by the university. Squatting is becoming more common among students and the financially disadvantaged in Australia’s capital cities. In Blacktown alone, the Department of Housing has 1800 people on a waiting list for a home, while St Vincent De Paul has recorded a six fold increase in homeless families as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) begins to bite.

Australia was in a housing shortage as early as 2006, in the wake of house prices lowering and the home sales market stagnating. Fewer people are now buying homes, and the statistics show that 1 in 4 Australians are faced with the prospect of securing a lease.  Net population growth fuelled by immigration is currently at 170,000 per year and rental prices are increasing rapidly as demand for rental units is outstripping supply. In 2008, The Australian Property Monitors (APM) showed there had been double digit rental increase in each Australian capital city as a result of the rental crisis.

Reminiscent of the Great Depression in 1930 are the long queues of hopeful tenants lining the streets for inner city leases. It is not unusual for the number of people turning up to a rental inspection to vastly outnumber those of a sales inspection.  Some real-estate agents have reacted to this purely as an economic opportunity using what are now called “rental auctions”, which see potential tenants bid against one another for the opportunity to secure a rental property. Effectively this puts local students out of the market, and this sordid profiteering means the inner Sydney rental market is a barbaric free-for-all in which the biggest wallet wins.

The executive officer of the ACT Tenants Union, Deborah Pippen, said the rental auctions are unfair. “It leads to an uneven playing field for tenants. It artificially drives up rent prices,” she said.

To add to Aussie rental woes are media reports of ruthless real estate agents who force evictions to gain commissions from new tenants.  This high demand/high turnover/high stakes situation is the reality of inner city renting today. Agents end tenancies without grounds to simply profit a 1st week re-letting fee, a fee that all agencies charge landlords upon signing up a new person.

This is only the surface of the anti-social behaviour of which some in the Real Estate industry engage in. Any other industry which impacted so negatively on people would be judiciously scrutinised, yet despite the obvious problems, the Real Estate Industry seems to enjoy a privileged position.

Real Estate is the only profession in which you don’t need a university education.Real Estate agents, rather than providing a service Cant get a lease on an inner city place NatAlt Green 225worthy of the fees paid to them, are exploiting their position as property middlemen to pit renters and buyers against each other purely to profit even further.

The Real Estate industry has been turned into a business which uses fear, uncertainty and doubt, and blatant lies to manipulate the market.  This can be seen in the current real estate climate, with buyers and renters being given the impression that it’s ‘now or never’, while at the same time, admitting to sellers that the market is shaky.  This climate of doubt and fear, of promises of easy wealth, takes a fair share of responsibility in creating one of the biggest economic and social problems facing the country, that being housing affordability and the subsequent housing shortage.

The rental market has become so tight in Melbourne and Sydney with vacancy rates at historic lows of 1 percent; landlords can be scrupulous in their tenancy requirements. Some like Kerry Arbon who had been on a Melbourne apartment hunt for over five weeks, said he had applied for about a dozen properties without success. Despite a well-paid job and a good reference from a previous landlord, Mr Arbon said he believed he had not been short-listed for any of the properties. For hopeful tenants, being turned down is a real and daily occurrence.

Nationalist Alternative is aiding younger and disadvantaged supporters and members by securing lease contracts on their behalf, and co-ordinating individual students into collective houses.  Nationalist Alternative is also building networks that seek to cut out the rental agent middleman, reducing costs for landlord and tenant.

In this way, Nationalist Alternative is committed to supporting struggling Australians such as local students, who may be suffering financial hardship, through no fault of their own under the excesses of liberal democracy, of which the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is but a symptom.

Australians interested in more information, please contact Nationalist Alternative via the ‘Contact’ section of the website.

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