An Aussie renter is going viral on TikTok for exposing just how conniving real estate agents can be in their treatment of tenants, after their real estate agent accidentally sent them an email meant for the landlord.
TikTok user Dani @theaveragewifeaus shared screenshots of the email on the app, which she got from the Don’t Rent Me Facebook group, and called for media to cover the debacle because of how damn cooked it is. Ask and thou shall receive.
An anonymous poster from Victoria took to the Facebook group to share an email they received, in which the real estate agent tried to raise their rent and have them priced out of the home they live in — all because they asked that home to be maintained. Which, you know, is their basic right as a renter.
In the email, the tenant asked if they could renew their lease. The real estate agent appeared to have accidentally replied to the tenant instead of forwarding the email to the landlord.
“You’ll recall the discussions I had with you earlier in the year about the ‘high maintenance’ nature of this particular tenant,” the agent wrote.
“Out of all the properties I manage he has the most maintenance requests and occupies of the most of my (and therefore your) time. On one occasion (the aircon) he called every day for two weeks. The receptions (sic) are sick of him.”
The agent then suggested that “in order to play this smooth”, the landlord should “renew the lease but with an exorbitant increase” of $500 to $950 and “attribute it to the current rental market”.
“I don’t think we’d get this much if we relisted, but we’d certainly get a bit of a boost not to mention the peace of mind of having a better tenant,” the real estate agent continued.
“If he agrees to the increase it’s a surprise win”.
Wow. There’s so much to unpack here.
For starters, it is literally a landlord’s legal responsibility to maintain the home they lease out to tenants. Tenants are not being unreasonable when they asked for things to be fixed — that’s WTF they are paying for. That’s the agreement a landlord signs when they lease out a property to a tenant. We pay to live in their property, and in return, they make sure we can by keeping it functional. FFS.
Treating a renter like they are difficult or a bad tenant because they want their rights fulfilled and the property maintained is obviously cooked but it’s also dangerous — it’s this exact practice that sees people living in squalid conditions because they are scared that if they asked for issues in their home to be fixed, they’ll be kicked out of the home. In the case of this guy, this fear came true.
Furthermore, it is wild to me that the tenant is being painted as a villain for following up on their air conditioning maintenance, when the real estate agents are the ones who were two weeks delayed in fixing it. Like, what??
Also note the real estate agent’s use of “we” when referring to the landlord — their loyalties are so clearly aligned to landlords with no regards for their tenants that it would be funny if it wasn’t so alarming.
“The scam is out in the open,” the anonymous tenant wrote in a caption alongside a screenshot of the emails. “Given that they’ve admitted to a punitive increase because I’ve asked them to repair their broken down flat, can I take them to VCAT??”
The comments on the Don’t Rent Me post were outraged to say the least, with many suggesting the tenant take legal action by going to their tenant union, the ombudsman of their state, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), and even the prime minister.
“You have them by the balls… go for gold!” one person wrote in the Facebook group.
“Get a lawyer, call your local news station,” said another.
For the most part, people were calling for blood, and I don’t fkn blame them.
“Imagine needing shit fixed at a property you rent and have someone call you high maintenance! That’s disgusting!” a commenter said.
“This is why I never ask for anything to be fixed in fear that I will be evicted or something like this happening! (sic)” a second commenter said.
Let’s hope OP goes straight to VCAT and this real estate agent loses their job. Not that it will protect the rest of us from this stuff — just last week another real estate agent was flamed on Facebook for admitting to inflating the rental market.
We all know it’s an issue across the state, what we need is for it to actually be dealt with by our governments.