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Fed-up Aussie landlord refuses to put up rent by $100 despite real estate agent pressure: 'Not all greedy mongrels'

Michelle said it's easy to point the blame at landlords for the rental crisis, but explained what is often pushing a rent rise.

An Australian landlord has announced to people across the country, "We’re not all greedy, hungry mongrels”. People are struggling to find affordable housing as rents rise in nearly every capital city in Australia and many have pointed their fingers at landlords, accusing them of squeezing tenants for every last cent.

But Michelle Schofield, who owns two investment properties in Queensland and NSW, told Yahoo Finance she continually rejects real estate agents who encourage her to raise the price on her rentals. She said there are many landlords like her who don’t want to scare off their tenants with a rental increase, even if it’s in line with the market.

“We're not trying to grab the money and we want people to stay in the house,” she said. “We don't want it to be vacant for one or two weeks or six months, or whatever.”

Michelle Schofield pictured in front of a flyscreen door. (Source: Supplied)
Michelle Schofield said not all landlords are greedy and she has rejected loads of suggestions to raise the rent on her properties. (Source: Supplied)

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Schofield said it’s easy to point the blame at landlords for the rental crisis because many people assume they are the only ones dictating rental prices.

But she said real estate agents often call her and say she could increase the rent by as much as $100 per week because the "market has moved". However, she understands many people are doing it tough at the moment in the cost-of-living crisis and pushes back.

“Not all of us are greedy tyrants, some of us have compassion,” she said. “I've kept my real estate below what [agents] have suggested for the last three years.

“Every time it's a $50 jump or $70 jump and I'll say, ‘No, $10 is fine or $20 is fine’, until that person moves out for their own reasons.”

She knows every homeowner will be in a different situation and might have to increase rent because of interest rates or inflation.

But for the ones who let real estate agencies dictate rental prices, Schofield called on them to not just blindly follow whatever property managers tell them needs to happen.

"I would suggest to landlords to have a bit of compassion or to delve into their real estate, and find out if they're putting it up to equal or to above market," she said.

"Because it's only when the market is pushed up that then everything else has to go up. If everyone had a little bit more restraint, then inflation wouldn't be as bad."

It’s also worth pointing out that not all property investors are sitting on massive portfolios either. It's a common misconception that landlords are counting their riches because they've amassed loads of properties.

Domain’s chief of research and economics, Dr Nicola Powell, told Yahoo Finance the largest portion of rentals are provided really by mum and dad investors

“They may have one or two rental properties and the sensitivities to changes in interest rates are actually quite evident,” she explained.

The Greens have been pushing for laws to cap rental increases to better protect tenants from unexpected financial pain.

While Schofield isn’t a fan of increasing the rent on her two properties by up to $100 per week each, she hit back against the idea of rental caps. She reckons it would be better to have smaller rental price increases spread out over the year.

“The problem with [rental caps] is there's a massive jump in a year whereas if we could put it up in six months, just $20 and then $20 in another six months," she said.

"That's $40, even if the market moves to $100. But if the market goes two years and it's $200 out of whack, we're gonna have to put it up like massively."

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