The rental market is being squeezed and some landlords think they can take advantage of their market power over tenants.
RentRabbit.com.au said they had noticed an increase in renters furious that mould had been left to run rampant in the property and their landlord had refused to remove it.
RentRabbit co-founder Ben Pretty said tenants were fighting back by leaving scathing online reviews of rental properties, likely making it harder for landlords to fill vacancies once the market turns.
“Almost every day, we receive comments from frustrated tenants, who can’t understand why landlords keep hiking their rent yet refuse to properly maintain their property,” Pretty said.
“The average tenant is a reasonable person who understands that, from time to time, problems will occur.
“In those situations, they quite rightly expect the landlord to take the problem seriously and solve it within a reasonable timeframe. If that happens, they appreciate the landlord’s service. But if it doesn’t, they have every right to be upset.”
Pretty said if mould was left untreated, it could cause serious health risks and should be dealt with appropriately.
“The feedback we get from renters is they believe landlords should have a legal obligation to disclose any known mould problems when advertising a property,” Pretty said.
“Or if a mould infestation breaks out after they move in, they believe landlords should have a legal obligation to fix the problem, as part of their duty of care.”
Pretty said there were some dodgy landlords who believed they could “get away with treating renters like dirt”.
“But what they don’t realise is that, sooner or later, we’ll shift to a tenants market, because these things always move in cycles,” Pretty said.
“Once vacancy rates increase, dodgy landlords will find they’re no longer able to fill vacancies, because renters check reviews. When that happens, they’ll only have themselves to blame.”
What to do if you believe you’re being treated unfairly
Tenant rights differ from state to state, but general information can be found at the Tenants Union website.
Generally speaking, landlords are required to present the property in a reasonably clean state and keep up with any maintenance needed.
As a tenant, you can complain to the tenancy tribunal in your state: