A real estate agent has called out her landlord clients for jacking up the rent too much, with stunned tenants welcoming the ‘brutal truth’ of her comments.
Ping Han from Place Sunnybank in Macgregor in Brisbane’s south sent out a pointed newsletter to owners – which was posted to social media this week.
Ms Han said landlords should consider the plight of renters and not overprice their investment properties amid exceptionally low vacancy rates in the city.
She added some landlords may have missed the point about the affordability of their tenants amid the turmoil renters face.
‘This is what most landlords don’t like to hear about but most of the time it is also the brutal truth,’ Ms Han said.
Ping Han from Place Sunnybank said landlords should consider the plight of renters and not overprice their investment properties (pictured, the newsletter posted to social media)
The landlord email comes as Brisbane’s rental prices grew a whopping 24.8 per cent in the last 12 months to January this year
The bold comments come as SQM Research found Brisbane vacancy rates tightened to 0.8 per cent last January.
The numbers have been on a steep decline since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, while the city’s rent prices also grew a whopping 24.8 per cent in the last 12 months to January this year.
The real estate director said in the letter she has seen renters coughing up an extra $150 per week in the properties she manages, compared with last year.
Ms Han (pictured) said she felt the ‘conflict of interest’ between helping her clients as well as safeguarding renters
‘However, the tenant’s wages have not increased that much, with grocery prices also going up, many good tenant families have been through a real struggle,’ Ms Han said.
‘If you have a property online for rent and you have been waiting for weeks and there is no good application coming through, more likely you are overpriced,’ she added.
Ms Han told Yahoo News Australia she felt the ‘conflict of interest’ between helping her clients as well as safeguarding renters.
‘We have to do everything for the best interest of the client, which is the landlord, but we owe the duty of care to tenants,’ she said.
‘You’ve got to be fair and landlords have to be cautious that the poor tenants have reached capacity. It is very, very hard for them, and we’re seeing increased vacancies because of that.’
The real estate branch co-owner also said her firm has seen an alarming trend of break leases in January due to tenants being unable to hold up under the pressure of rising rents.
‘We experienced the largest number of break leases in January 2023 compared to prior years,’ she said.
‘Most tenants reported that with the current high rent they are no longer able to afford it in the long term.’
Instead tenants have been going on the hunt for their own property further away from the city ‘so they have an asset that belongs to them’, she said.
The real estate against said she’d had six to 10 break leases during a two to three week period which was ‘very unusual’.
‘A lot of tenants say, we would love to stay here and we’ve been with you for years but we can’t accept the rent, it’s outside of our capacity,’ Ms Han said.
Her comments were welcomed by weary renters on social media this week.
‘A [real estate] newsletter telling landlords their rent may be too high. Now just need the rest to follow,’ one post read.
‘I may need to look for a new place in a couple months. This agency will be the very first one I look at,’ one tenant said.
‘This is not what I expected to see from a real estate company,’ another wrote.
‘I was expecting something more along the lines of ‘make sure your tenants have two kidneys, so they can sell one when you increase the rent by $150 per week’.’
‘They’d want to be careful, they’ll get booted out of the real estate association for not being parasites,’ one commenter warned.
‘You know times are tough when property managers tell you the rent is too high,’ said another.
Meanwhile, SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said he had never seen such a large increase in rents with this current generation in the last year across Brisbane.
Ms Han said she felt the ‘conflict of interest’ between helping her clients as well as safeguarding renters (pictured, prospective tenants lining up for a viewing last month)
‘You know times are tough when property managers tell you the rent is too high,’ said one commenter on social media
‘The last time we had increases like 24.8 per cent in Brisbane, or indeed across the country, was way back in the 1970s,’ he told Realestate.com.au last month.
‘This is rampant rental price inflation that still hasn’t been taken into account by the ABS [Australian Bureau of Statistics] in their rental index series of the CPI.’
Soaring rents and a lack of properties to lease has plagued the country in the last 12 months.
Nationally, rents rose 6.7 per cent to a median of $495 per week in 2022, but the issue was much worse in capital cities.
In cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, higher post-Covid demand for fewer properties saw unit rents up by 9.3 per cent, while houses went up 8.3 per cent.