From the desk of REINSW... AGENTS THE TARGET OF ABUSE AS 'RENTAL RAGE' BREAKS OUT IN NSW Released 24 September 2008 The rental squeeze is now so bad that real estate agents are facing abuse and event threatening behaviour from prospective tenants who are unable to secure accommodation. Evidence of ‘rental rage’ comes as the REINSW released the latest August rental vacancies data that showed no overall improvement in the number of available rental properties in Sydney. Rental vacancies for August 2008 stand at 1.2% which is unchanged from July. “The situation is now so grave that we are unfortunately experiencing incidents of rental rage with real estate agents saying they are being abused and threatened,” said REINSW President Steve Martin. 1 in 3 or 32% of agents who participated in special survey by the REINSW said that they or their staff had been threatened or abused over the phone by potential tenants within the last month. And in an indication of just how strong demand is for rental properties, 9 out of 10 or 90% of those surveyed said they received between 5 and 10 applications for every rental property. It is important to note that the ABS shows Sydney's population growing at more than 1400 per week, which is almost double the number of rental properties (739) available at the latest survey date of 15 August. “These are very disturbing findings and when you look at the specific incidents referred to by our members you get a very real insight into what is happening at the rental coal face,” said Mr Martin. “Some of the more extreme examples of ‘rental rage’ reported verbatim by our members include: “Constant abuse from irate want to be tenants” “Tenants have made threats and been abusive as a result of having their applications rejected” "This [abuse] happens on a daily basis” “Have been abused for increasing rents. One client who was in arrears threatened to hang himself in the house if I evicted him as that would ensure no one else would want to live in it” "Tenant harassed (staff) so badly at our reception desk that the police were called" "Many very aggressive and beyond a joke" “Whilst it does not excuse such behaviour, it is clear that much of it is being generated by the rental vacancy crisis which continues to grip NSW. “People have become so desperate to secure a property that our members have been offered bribes and even had prospective tenants break down because they 'cannot compete with the number of people looking for properties'. “Unfortunately the situation is unlikely to improve with no overall change in the Sydney rental market with a rental vacancy rate for August of 1.2% which is the same as the July result. Whilst the situation in the Inner and Outer suburbs of Sydney improved slightly, Middle Sydney recorded the worst result with a 0.1 percent drop in rental vacancies to 1.2% ‘Inner’ Sydney rental vacancy levels rose 0.2 % to 1.4%, whilst ‘Outer Sydney recorded a 0.1% increase to 1.1%. Rental vacancies in Newcastle rose slightly by 0.1 to 1.6% but remain well below the high of 3.1% recorded in May. Wollongong has recorded a fall of 0.2 percent to 2.1 percent for August whilst Central Coast has also declined, down 0.1 to 3.1%. “The new Rees Government has a big job on its hands to reignite investor confidence in the property market in order to reverse the downward spiral in available rental properties. “REINSW has recently written to the new Premier outlining our ideas on how we can get investors back in the market and we look forward to meeting him and briefing him on our proposal," said Mr. Martin. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- I must say that property management has never really appealed to me as a career- it's a thankless job with high turnover of staff, and stories like this only confirm it for me!