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The secrets we keep: What Aussie renters are hiding from their landlords

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Many Aussie renters admit to being less than truthful with their landlord, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 810 renters revealed a quarter (26%) have hidden parts of their lives from their landlord or real estate agent – equivalent to 754,000 people.

The research found 1 in 10 (10%) have concealed a pet, making this the most common fib among renters, followed by smoking or vaping inside (7%).

Hiding damage such as a hole in the wall or making improvements to the property without asking permission were each covered up by 6% of renters, respectively.

The data shows 5% of tenants sublet to an extra person without proper documentation or lease approvals, to make a bit of extra cash on the side.

A further 3% rented the space out on platforms like Stayz or Airbnb without permission.

Sarah Megginson, money expert at Finder, said lying to your landlord is a recipe for disaster.

"Hiding things from your landlord or real estate agent could be considered a breach of your tenancy agreement.

"Depending on the nature of the lie, breaching your contract could result in the loss of your bond, termination of your rental agreement or your landlord taking legal action against you.

"Whilst you might consider it to be a white lie, you run the risk of throwing yourself back into a highly competitive rental market with a black mark against your name."

A separate Finder survey revealed in the last 5 years, more than 1 in 3 (36%) renters have lost some or all of their rental bond.

Of those who didn't get their bond back, damage to the rental – including floorboards, carpet, and pet-related damage – accounted for 42% of lost bonds.

Aside from damage, an unclean kitchen or oven (16%) and unpaid rent (11%) made up the other reasons bonds weren't returned.

Megginson said honesty is the best policy for renters.

"For instance, in Queensland, if a tenant makes a change to the property without the landlord's consent, they can be required to reinstate the property to its original condition – even if the changes you made add value or amenity.

"Being dishonest can have tremendous negative consequences which could persist in the future.

"Disclosing issues up front can help you tackle the problem and save you money and heartache down the track," Megginson said.

Have you ever hidden anything from your landlord and/or real estate agent while renting?
Having a pet10%
Smoking/vaping in a smoke-free space7%
Hiding damage (e.g. holes in walls)6%
Making improvements to the property (e.g. installed an air conditioner, painted the walls, installed nails on the wall, etc)6%
Subletting to an extra person without proper documentation5%
Rented out on Airbnb, Stayz, etc without permission3%
Running a commercial business on the property2%
I've never hidden anything from my landlord and/or real estate agent74%
Source: Finder survey of 810 respondents who have rented or currently rent, May 2023

Here are 4 things renters can do about out-of-control rents.

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