By RACHEL CLARK
Dealing with a dodgy landlord is almost like hearing an old wives’ tale, believing that these stories we hear could never happen to us – until it does.
That situation that became a reality for Rachel Black. Having not rented a house in 15 years, until a work opportunity came up in Sydney, she decided to rent a property in the Inner West. At first, Ms. Black believed that renting had improved since she was young.
“I was shocked to find that after all of this time, things had actually gotten worse,” she said.
Tenant blacklists run rampant throughout Australia – allowing for landlords to see if an applying tenant has a record of damaging property or defaulting on rent payments. But, there no equivalent for landlords
Meaning, when a potential tenant applies for a property they are unable to know if a landlord or managing agent has a history of shonky behaviour like invading the tenant’s privacy or not making repairs.
Appalled by this issue, Rachel has started a petition for a government funded database called the ‘Landlord Non-Compliance Registry’. She hopes a registry like this would make the rental market become more transparent for both tenants and landlords, while also making agents and landlords more accountable for their action.
“Renting a property is more of an investment than buying a car, it being more expensive, and has a higher impact on your life – you wouldn’t buy a car without checking it first” she said.
“The NSW civil and administrative tribunal will still let dodgy landlords get away with what they are doing and in some instances, enabling them to make money out of the system. Australia has laws in place to protect landlords and tenants, but the NCAT and Fair Trading aren’t enforcing them.”
Attempts in the past have been made for a rental review platform about landlords and managing agents which end up failing due to a lack of funding. In some instances, the platforms failed after being sued by privately owned databases that blacklist tenants.
This has caused an on-going cycle of tenants not knowing if the house is safe or if the landlord obeys the law, which gives landlords all the power.
Ms. Black thinks it’s time for the government to step up and create a government run registry to stop “dodgy landlords.” She said her petition has received backing from a number of landlords and managing agents as well as earning support in parliament from Greens member, Jenny Leong, and member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.
The petition can be signed on the NSW Parliament website.