Like many cities around the world, Sydney, Australia is going through a rental crisis.
The problem is multifaceted. First, Sydney has low available housing stock, with under 2% of its rental stock available for rent. This has resulted in such a competitive market that one listing agent claimed they received over 100 applications for each available unit.
Second, New South Wales, the Australian state that contains Sydney, has failed to adequately regulate rental prices. While there are restrictions on how often rent may be increased, there are no limits on how much a landlord can raise one’s rent in the state.
Now, a Sydney, Australia-based user on TikTok has gone viral after sharing their own rental increase story.
In a video with over 4 million views, TikTok user Chantelle (@chantellecschmidt) alleges that her landlord in the Sydney suburb of Redfern raised her rent by $700 AUD fortnightly, or about $470 USD every two weeks. This is an increase of about 36%, putting her new rent at a total of $5,590 AUD, or $3,755 monthly.
“That’s a considerable and confronting increase for a three-bedroom house, shaking out to be an extra $230+ per room,” Chantelle reads from an email to her property manager.
@chantellecschmidt Please, humour me more about the market. #rentnegotiation #tribunal #rentalcrisis #sydneyrentalcrisis #rentalproperty #housingcrisis ♬ original sound – Chantelle Schmidt
While Chantelle tried to negotiate and even found a comparable house for less money as a point of comparison, the landlord did not budge. In the end, Chantelle’s negotiations were refused.
According to Chantelle, the property has other issues that bring the rental increase into question. For example, in a later video, she says that she had recently complained to her property manager about a bad smell that was permeating the building. A few days later, she received an email about the rental increase.
There are few routes available for those stuck in Chantelle’s situation. While NSW renters have the ability to contest rental increases as excessive, “it is up to you to apply and prove it with evidence about market conditions and other factors,” writes the Tenants’ Union of NSW.
As a result, the Tenants Union says that it is “too difficult for tenants to challenge excessive rent increases,” and “the excessive rent increase provisions are little used: they represent just two per cent of applications to the Tribunal’s tenancy division.”
In the comment section under Chantelle’s video, users expressed disbelief at both the original price and its increase.
“How is $4,600 a month affordable?????” asked a user.
“As a landlord I could not even think about increasing the rent of our property right now in this current climate – let alone by that much!” exclaimed a second.
“I’m sorry that price in REDFERN? That should be illegal within itself,” stated a third.
Chantelle later posted an update video apologizing for the lack of updates, saying that there will be more information available in the coming weeks.
Commenters are hoping for a positive outcome.
“I hope it’s favourable for you,” shared a user. “The sheer Greed from landlords is disgusting!! Legislation will outlaw this behaviour soon!!”
We’ve reached out to Chantelle via email.