Category Archives: National Tenancy Body

“BOND BURGLARY”, the greatest heist of all

The latest statistics from Don't Rent Me show that a staggering 32% of all reviews in Australia include what tenants describe as false claims during and at the end of the lease that are designed to keep the tenants' deposit bond.

With 9 in 10 negatively geared houses being existing dwellings, it's not hard to imagine that many of the rented dwellings in Australia are quickly becoming dilapidated. Are landlords pulling off the greatest heist of all by using tenants' deposit bonds to maintain their ageing investments?

You would think this activity would be risky business for any real estate agent or landlord. What if they got caught out for making up claims in an attempt to effectively steal or otherwise deceptively obtain the tenants' deposit bond? Perhaps it is the thrill of pulling off something so risky and difficult that lures so many to try.

In fact, the reality is that there is no penalty other than a small amount of lost time.

For the few tenants who actually defend themselves at their state Tenancy Tribunal or Magistrates Court, they are surprised to find that there is no punishment for what, obvious to the tenant, is a blatant attempt at theft. It is simply passed off as a misunderstanding on the real estate agent's or landlord's part and everyone is free to go on their merry way.

It almost seems worth it! Except that it's disgracefully immoral, unjust, illegal and offenders should be identified and fined or otherwise punished.

Many tenants do not defend themselves due to a number of circumstances including Tenancy Tribunal & Magistrates Court fees (sometimes into the hundreds of dollars), loss of income, lost condition report, fear & mistrust of the judicial process and a lack of specific support, advice & representation for tenants, to name only a few. Tenants are guilty until proven innocent. It makes you wonder just how often this occurs behind closed doors...

Tenants also explain that real estate agent's and landlord's will often claim just enough so that it makes defending the claim financially unviable due to fees and loss of income. This could still range in the $500+ range or more depending on the fees and the tenants' income, information which the real estate agent and landlord are privy to knowing.

After spending some time reading reviews on the website it becomes quite evident that some real estate agents and landlords will use every excuse under the sun to try and substantiate a claim on part or all of the tenants' deposit bond.

"Shakira" writes:

Tried to keep our bond over a worn out patch of grass which we had stated on our entry report and a one cm patch of dust on top of a ceiling fan... read more

How can you protect yourself from bond burglary?

The Tenant Rights Party will introduce a National Tenancy Body with a mandate to handle tenant complaints, play an active role in dispute resolution, issue penalties to repeatedly offending real estate agencies & landlords and assist in the enforcement of tenant rights.

If it's fair that the state Fair Trading Departments will enforce the rights of retail consumers, then it is also only fair that the residential consumers (or tenants) are afforded similar protections under the act.

Please read about our National Tenancy Body, Anti Discrimination and Housing Affordability campaigns. We need you to join the fight for tenant rights!

CONFESSIONS of a real estate agent

​We call ourselves the "lucky country" but it seems as though the only people holding a ticket in the draw would be the childless, pet-free, middle-aged, heterosexual couple whose names imply they are not immigrants.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not that this "picturesque" (in the eyes of real estate agents) couple described above aren't deserving of a fair go either - but what about the rest of the Australians who don't fall within these parameters?

In a shocking confession from a real estate agent on a popular online message board, "EternityMiss" confesses to a tenant who is struggling to understand why he keeps getting rejected:

EternityMiss writes:

Heaps of reasons why and they don't have to tell you why. Typically we only look at the first 10 applications.

Look at the name to see if they are international. (Sorry but it happens. Deal with it)
Throw those away.

Next job status. Not employed/part time
Throw those away

Age – anyone under 25.
Throw those away.

Anyone who's applying as 'singles/two males /two females'
Throw those away

Anyone with kids
Throw those away

Anyone with pets
Throw those away.

Usually there's 1 or 2 left. Take them.

In response to EternityMiss, another user writes:

Don't you have a problem with what you've said in light of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, ss 20, 34, 38N, 48, 49N, 49ZQ and 49ZYO?

For instance, s 20(1) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 says:

"It is unlawful for a person, whether as principal or agent, to discriminate against another person on the ground of race:

(a) by refusing the person’s application for accommodation,

(b) in the terms on which the person offers the person accommodation, or

(c) by deferring the person’s application for accommodation or according the person a lower order of precedence in any list of applicants for that accommodation."

EternityMiss declines to comment any further, however, another user by the name of "RealEstateAgent" in the same thread responds in defence of EternityMiss, with the following:

EternityMiss is 100% accurate in her description of the housing rental market. You may not like what she is saying but its all correct.

... and another backing up EternityMiss comments:

It's there house they choose who lives there, he who holds the gold makes the rules.

This is apparently the sentiment shared by many real estate agents who are responsible for passing on applications to the landlord for consideration as a new tenant.

It's blatantly clear that real estate agents and landlords are using questions asked of tenants in their applications, for the very clear purpose of illegally discriminating against honest tenants.

While this is a clear violation of the law, proving discrimination in rejected applications is extremely unlikely, if not impossible to achieve. The fact is, real estate agents and landlords do not have to disclose why an applicant was rejected, nor would they be honest in their submissions. This much they are honest about.

Why the discrimination and what can be done?

The fact of the matter is that there is no reasonable excuse for discrimination based upon:

  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital or Relationship status
  • Whether or not the applicant has children & pets

Despite the fact some of these being already illegal, there are no laws which prevent these questions from being required on tenancy application forms or that could be inferred through other sneaky questioning.

It is very obvious that this loophole is being exploited by many real estate agents and landlords for what could only be the purposes of discriminating against a tenant.

Tenant Rights will address clearly discriminatory based questions in tenancy applications by including provisions in the National Residential Tenancies Act (see National Tenancy Body), which disallows any legal life-style based questions that should not impact an otherwise successful tenancy application.

Please read about our National Tenancy Body, Anti Discrimination and Housing Affordability campaigns. We need you to join the fight for tenant rights!