About the author:
Abheeti Kathryn Pass is a freelance content creator, editor and blogger. In the case of this article, she writes both from a personal perspective, along with describing a phenomenon happening in West Australia right now due to the changes taking places after Covid-19 lockdowns, and also the borders being re-opened to the interstate mining community who are all seeking homes based in WA, creating massive housing shortages.
Many families in Perth, Western Australia are being asked to leave their rental properties due to the lifting of the Covid 19 moratorium.
The Residential Tenancy Moratorium measure introduced in April 2020, banned rental increases and evictions in some cases amid ongoing economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
There may well be home-owners who’ve suffered tremendously due to tenants abusing the unique Covid-19 moratorium situation by:
- not paying rent
- not taking care of and maintaining rental properties
- claiming falsely that they’re experiencing financial hardship in order to avoid their monetary responsibilities and so on, we can pretty much agree, that’s not most of us.
There are however many families who’ve honoured their contractual agreements:
- paying their bills
- reporting issues
- maintaining properties as their own homes (which, however temporary the nature of renting – these are our homes)
- living as caring members of the community
And yet, these families, along with the bad actors, are being asked to leave the properties without the usual option of renewing their leases.
Effectively it means that home owners who have leased their properties are asking good (and poorly behaved) tenants alike to leave their rental homes, so they can be released again onto the market at a much higher price.
Previous Rental Property (aka our home)
We were paying: $450.00 per week per week
New rent advertised: $545.00 per week
Almost 20% rent increase of $95 per week
How Much Can You Increase Rentals During A Tenancy?
For the lessor to be able to increase the rent during the term of a fixed term tenancy, the agreement must set out the amount of increase (e.g. $20 per week) or the method of calculating the amount of the increase (e.g. increase by CPI or a percentage amount).
Instead of negotiating a reasonable rent increase, based on the CPI or what tenants could potentially afford, rental prices are jumping to levels beyond the reach of most regular families.
“We’re going to see levels of insecure housing and homelessness that we’ve never seen before.”
~ Mark Glasson, Anglicare WA
Family Forced to Camp with Newborn Due to Lack of Rental Homes
One family was even featured in The Australian, since they’ve been forced to camp with their newborn and 3 other children due to a lack of housing, coupled with rent increases and a dire lack of housing available.
Costs of Constantly Moving
Between removalists, paying for disconnection and reconnection of utility bills, paying rental bonds (4 weeks’ rent in advance as a security deposit), plus 2 weeks’ rent in advance, costs for professional cleaners, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, mail redirection as well as hidden costs like purchasing additional furniture as the old pieces don’t fit in the new space, lost mail, stolen parcels from old/new properties etc… It’s expensive to move! Approximately a cost of 10,000 AUD (approz $7800 USD) each time you move house.
We’ve moved now 3 times in 3 years.
Apart from the tumultuous feeling of being uprooted from your family home at the apparent whims of a home owner who wants to:
- Live in the house
- Move their family members or friends into the house
- Renovate the house (often after refusing many requests for maintenance work and updates during tenancy),
what about the New Normal – the home owner who tosses families out in a houseless rental-depleted market because he/she can legally ask the next family for $100 more per week – amounting in our case to an almost 20% rent increase?
In some rural areas, people are seeing rent increases of over $1000 per week!
Landing at a time when literally thousands of other families are seeking the same type of properties, where at the rental home opens, there are families outbidding each other in a brutal war to win the tenancy, offering more rent, more weeks’ payments in advance, less demands for basic health and safety precautions.
It’s become a case of, take it and shut up.
This is happening all over the city, and there’s nowhere for renters or tenants to voice their grievances or give feedback regarding their experience and treatment by rental agencies, (and the home-owners who pay them), so that other renters and legal agencies can be made aware.
Proof of Good Behaviour During Tenancy
Everyone who rents out thie property, an expensive liability, wants to know that their prospective tenants:
- Make reliable payments
- Maintain the property in excellent condition
- Are quiet & neighbourly
When a tenant applies for a new rental home, they are requested to provide, (usually in writing):
- 2-3 character-references (both personal and professional)
- 3 months of bank statements to prove income (entire records of your personal payments released to random third parties – no mention of security nor storage nor timely destruction of your private information)
- Proof of employment (including a referral from employers)
- Referral from previous real estate agencies for last 3 years (in our case up to 2 different agencies)
Double that if there are two people (a couple) applying for a rental.
This means that even as a good player, if you had a terrible experience with a rental management agent, you as the tenant, have your future and home accessibility largely controlled by these agents’ good or poor favour and opinion, regardless of their level of professionality and with virtually no accountability reflecting.
So there’s a mountain of personal and professional rating of you as the tenant – your reputation is considered by every possible rental manager, other staff in the agency and property owners.
Property Management Reputation Register
Where is the register of reputations of both property management agencies and home-owners? To whom are they accountable to demonstrate decency, reliability, honesty and timeliness of interaction and affirmative actions in support of their tenants? (Their financial lifeblood.)
As a tenant, there is literally NOWHERE for your voice to be heard so that you can also post your experiences, good and bad, that you’ve had with a service provider or a home-owner.
There are government bodies and websites representing tenants. Generally, they’re so overloaded with gripes and complaints, that there’s no real assistance where you can actively SEE that the other party(ies) have been held publicly responsible for their unfriendly and unreasonable actions. You often must wait months for a response, there’s no record of agents’ reliability, not to mention the hours spent in writing our applications, providing proof of issues and so on.
It’s a slow-moving beast enslaved to the existing legacy system of laws and courts.
What Did My Agent Have to Say About Tenant Feedback?
When I approached my previous rental manager about an opportunity to give feedback about our experiences using their service, including the actions of the property owner, her response was dismissive at best.
Try googling it.
1. 2. 3. 4.
Perfect Use-Case for Whizzl
Report – Respond – Resolve – Rate
The Whizzl app was created as a response to frustrating ongoing problems faced by both tenants and property management agencies with regards to authentic feedback.
Tenants: feedback and ratings play an important role in consumer purchase decision-making processes.
For tenants and customers, often their feedback goes unresolved, ignored or lost in emails and paperwork so it never gets attended to or acknowledged.
We all know tenants and customers often won’t go back to a business whose staff doesn’t acknowledge or act on their grievances. Worse, they’ll generally speak poorly of that agency in daily interactions, especially on social media where the discussion is public and generally one-sided.
Unhappy customers = a failing business!
Real Estate Agency: property management agencies are inundated with administrative tasks. They often can’t make effective changes and sometimes cannot even attend to customer feedback meaningfully due to communication challenges between customers and management staff, and within the organisation itself.
“The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.”
This leads to low customer satisfaction, poor business reputation and ultimately reduced income.
Whizzl is redefining current feedback and rating systems using blockchain technology to create more affirmative action and satisfaction within communities.
How Does it Work?
Tenants post their feedback using their phone in residential communities, using the 4R simple process: Report, Respond, Resolve, and Rate.
Whizzl combines the ‘social experience’ together with feedback within communities to encourage tenants and users to give their reviews, while having the same experience as other types of social media. Anyone can use Whizzl because most people are already familiar with posting photos and text.
Current community clients include property management companies, builders, business owners, schools and universities, and NGOs.
- All businesses rely on sales
- Sales depend on customers
- Customers are always part of communities
- And communities need effective feedback communication methods to get their needs and wants heard!
Whizzl is the perfect effective response to this customer-business tenants’ feedback sales chain.
Whizzl gathers people’s voices in one place for the Department of Housing community on the platform so your community situation can be heard. Once we reach 500 feedback posts for example, we have a strong case to approach the department.
In this way, department is then compelled to look into the community created on Whizzl and start managing it effectively by:
- generating reports
- accessing transparent collective posts
- gathering suggestions and feedback
- make announcements to this community
- giving updates and so on.
Join the Department of Housing community on Whizzl and post your story.
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