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Tenant tripwire: Almost 1 in 3 renters avoid their landlord for fear of increase

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Aussie tenants are keeping matters to themselves in hopes of evading a rental increase, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,073 respondents – 394 of whom rent – revealed almost 1 in 3 (27%) have avoided contacting their landlord or real estate agent because they were worried about having their rent put up.

Almost half (42%) of Australian tenants said they struggled to pay their rent in October, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker.

Richard Whitten, home loans expert at Finder, said the housing crisis has caused distress among renters.

"Tenants are living in a state of fear that should they do or say something wrong, they will be faced with a rental increase – or worse, be forced out when their lease is over.

"Many don't have the funds to spare and are already going beyond their means to keep a roof over their heads."

Millennials were the most likely of all generations (38%) to say they were reluctant to contact their landlord or real estate agent for fear of a rental increase, compared to baby boomers (9%).

Whitten said bending the truth could do more harm than good.

"Not disclosing issues like property damage or mould upfront could come with serious consequences, including breaching your tenancy agreement.

"You're better off negotiating a rental increase than ending up back on the property market with a black mark against your name."

Whitten said as a general rule, minimising your rental costs is one of the biggest ways you can save money.

"This isn't always possible with many forking out more than 30% of their income to secure a place.

"While there's a lot of variation between regional areas of Australia, if you can get out of the big cities you will undoubtedly find cheaper places to rent.

"Renting with someone else is a privacy trade-off, but will save you money on rent and utilities, too."

Finder's research found almost 1 in 4 (24%) have never needed to contact their landlord or real estate agent to fix anything, while 48% say they are fine to do so.

Have you ever avoided contacting your landlord or real estate agent to fix something in your property (e.g. leaky dishwasher, etc) because you were worried about them increasing your rent?
No, I have never needed to contact my landlord to fix something24%
No, I am fine contacting my landlord if I need something fixed48%
Source: Finder survey of 394 Australian renters, August 2023

Finder's renting guide can help you know your rights and navigate the rental market.

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