As a renter looking for a new property, I can testify that finding somewhere new to live is challenging.
Aside from the asking price there are so many factors to weigh up. Location, furnishings and the proximity to amenities are all important. Once you factor in the extremely tight rental market, the last thing I need is for the asking price to increase at the very last minute.
Rental bidding, put simply, is when either a tenant or an agent aims to negotiate the price of a rental property, rather than renting at the advertised price.
While it is still relatively uncommon in Australia, there have been a series of incidents over the past few years that have made me wary.
Late last year resurgence in rental bidding in was reported Queensland. More recently, Australian Property Investor reported rental bidding wars were starting in Darwin. Reports are also coming out of areas such as Mt Isa and Perth.
In each of these cases rental bidding has become more prevalent as the demand for properties has increased. And while most incidents appear to be tenants offering to pay more than the advertised price, there have also been complaints of agents contacting tenants and requesting they increase their rental offer.
So is it legal?
While most people consider it unfair, the short answer is yes, it is legal. However there are exceptions to the rule.
In Queensland the practice was banned in 2009 after new legislation was passed by the State Parliament. In Tasmania an industry code for rent bidding has been proposedfor the state’s real estate sector to give low income earners a fairer go when renting.
So if you are like me and searching for a rental property, it pays to make sure you aware of your rights before you get started. It’s also a good idea to:
- Decide how much you are prepared to pay before you start looking
- Set yourself a maximum limit and stick to it
- Be wary of high pressure tactics from agents.