Renters Claim Syd Realtors Asked Them About *Checks Notes* Their Tattoos & Social Media Profiles

confused nick young meme

In his week’s edition of real estate agents being dickheads, renters claim they’re being asked to provide their social media accounts, 12 months’ worth of bank statements and even details about their tattoos.

Yes, you read that correctly: tattoos. Even my deeply conservative nonna who has a conniption at the mere sight of inked skin would think that’s a bit bloody extreme.

Ness, who didn’t provide her surname, told the Guardian she was applying for a place in Kirrawee in Sydney’s south for herself and her husband, who works as a tattooist.

Ness said the real estate agent called to ask if he had neck tattoos, and she lied and said he didn’t. Her rental application was approved less than half an hour later.

I … what? Why on Earth are renters’ tattoos of concern to real estate agents? Is the implication that tattooed tenants are less worthy of housing than their ink-free counterparts? Make it make sense.

In further suss news, Ness said she and her husband were asked to include their social media accounts in their rental application.

I honestly don’t understand how a potential tenant’s social media presence is in any way relevant to their desire to find a rental. Did the real estate agent want to do some snooping before approving the lease? How about they mind their own dang business!

Paris Zarmairian, a consultant and advocate in the disability sector based in Sydney, told the Guardian her real estate agent asked her to hand over 12 months’ worth of bank statements as part of her application for a rental. Surely that’s a tad excessive, no?

“I had supplied invoices, plus a letter from an accountant that I had previously used to apply for a loan at Toyota, and that was recent, it was only written end of last year … and a bank statement for the last couple of months,” she said.

“They said that that wasn’t enough. ‘How does that prove if you have been paid?’

“The information was more than what Toyota wanted for my business car loan.”

Zarmairian wound up applying for another rental ‘cos being asked for that kind of information felt “incredibly invasive”. Good for her.

Considering how many fkn cyberattacks have been hitting Australia, it’s extremely concerning to know that real estate agents are just asking for data willy-nilly.

According to Bronwyn Bate, a PhD candidate at Western Sydney University’s Urban Research Program, real estate agents should be looking for “a tenant’s ability to pay the rent on time and their ability and/or willingness to care for the rental property”.

However, her research published in The Conversation found there are six things tenants do which can “affect the ability to secure a rental property”. These include dressing appropriately, submitting an application free of spelling and grammatical errors, and being flexible about the length of the lease and rent.

Not all potential tenants have the means to offer more rent, and people who aren’t proficient in English might find it challenging to submit an error-free rental application — the system just isn’t fair at all.