Rant: Abuse of power comes as no surprise

Yes, this is a rant about real estate agents.

Why do real estate agents feel that they can treat tenants in such a disrespectful way?

I have pondered this in some depth and have finally come up with an answer. Real estate agents treat renters so badly simply because they feel
that they  can.

Myself, and almost all the people I know renting, have had similar experiences of receiving unjust treatment.

Renting is no longer a stepping stone on the way to buying your own home. The majority of us in Sydney are now renting long term and, barring  massive correction in the property market, possibly forever. 

Hence, the place that you rent is now very
much your home.

The renting environment in Sydney is toxic. The rental market is tight, the prices are sky high and rising daily, and real estate agents treat you like some sort of subclass.

I am a single working parent renting in the Inner West. I pay my rent (60 per cent of my income) on time, take very good care of the property and have made no great demands. I recently received an abusive phone call from my real estate agent threatening immediate eviction, out of the blue, with no warning. There had been a banking error, partly mine, partly theirs, which after recovering from my shock I resolved the following morning. I wrote a letter to the agent expressing how unnecessary their behaviour had been and how distressing it is to be threatened with eviction. Is it possible that they could admit their responsibility in the banking error and henceforth treat me with some dignity and respect? No, not at all, my real estate agent is a bully and replied to my letter with another threat to put the matter on my record. I am not an irresponsible teenager renting in a group house, I work hard to provide a home and security for my daughter and I do not feel that I deserve to be treated in such
a shabby way.

People of Sydney, fellow renters and people of decency, I really think change is needed. It would be lovely if real estate agents would develop a conscience overnight but I am not holding my breath for this to happen. It is a sad part of the human condition that some will always exploit and treat others badly if they feel that they can get away with it. For the most part they are getting away with it.

So people let’s see some change.

It is time to bring our laws and guidelines into line with the reality of renting today.

Words by Claudia Hill

For more information about tenancy rights in NSW head to: www.tenants.org.au