What with the housing market so crazy in Australia, particularly in the cities, even more particularly in Sydney, it’s no wonder that renting is in high demand. More and more baby boomer generation income earners are making top dollar, affording them the privilege of buying up investment properties. With their own homes paid up, they are free to invest in multiple homes. Meanwhile, first home buyers or people who’d love a home of their own (like us) are pushed out of the purchasing market. Forced to rent. I mean, having a family income of AUD$90k is now average. And a lot of average families are not qualified for mortgages of more then AUD$300k.
Given that, shouldn’t renting be made more attractive to the renter? Here in Australia, renters are still not allowed to do basic updates to a place for which they pay good money every month; in reality, paying off someone else’s mortgage. Renters are not allowed to paint. While, as a landlord myself (not in a major city, so I can’t demand high rent) I’d be cheesed off if my tenant decided on a goth scheme of paint or an obsession with deep purples and lime greens, I can’t see why we aren’t allowed to paint the place we have to call home.
It’s common for renters in America to paint (so I hear and read). Why is it not the same here? Why am I forced to work with decoupaged cupids above our bed, starfish and seahorses in the bathroom and dragonflies in the lavatory?? Why do I have to have the headache of trying to make my furniture work with different paint palettes and poor trim work?
Whilst we’re on the topic of us trying to make it more attractive to rent…
Renters here are subjected to three-monthly inspections by the real estate agent managing the rental property. By that, the agent comes around to check that the grass is mowed and the renters clean the inside of the houses. (For all they know, the place needs to be spick and span only once in three months.)
I once went to an open house for a rental (we were looking for another place) where the tenants kept snakes in the living room. There were four huge glassed enclosures for the snakes. And the place was filthy.
On the other hand, I clean. As a household, we are a tidy lot. Husband and I hate dirty and unkempt. So whether the agent comes to inspect, it’s always neat and clean. It may not be spick and span, but we’d have no problems passing inspections even if they were surprise ones. We don’t go punching holes in the wall from anger. We don’t run around the carpeted areas with red wine.
I’m sure I’m not the only renter in Australia who is particular and proud of their homes. Given this, doesn’t it make sense that those consistent with good housekeeping and have positive reports from one rental to the next be exempt from three-monthly intrusion?
Maybe the pride of the renter, the tenant, is not important in the scheme of things.
It would also be nice if landlords occasionally updated their properties. Our kitchen is still from the 1980s. When we were going to open houses to inspect more rentals, it was amazing what landlords were asking (because of the location) vs the condition of their houses. It is not okay to demand $550 per week for rent when your kitchen barely holds 4 plates, your kitchen sink is inadequate for washing and only has the one power point. It’s not okay when your toilets are STILL from the 1970s and you can’t be bothered to replace the toilet bowl for something bought this decade.
It’s high time for the Powers that Be for the Rental System in Australia to re-evaluate their laws, their understanding of the renters these days and make allowances for small updates – like paint.