Greedy bastards


I’ve spent the last twenty years of my life paying rent to landlords—and the last eight or so for both a place to live and a studio in which to work. And once again, I’ve been forced to get on the rental house search merry-go-round. I’ve spent a lot of depressing Saturdays looking at overpriced slums, but this morning has the distinction of being the most depressing of them all.

Sydney is a city obsessed with property and obsessed with money. But even I was surprised at the absolute shitboxes some people are attempting to rent at the moment, and the outrageous amounts of money they are asking for them. For a start, prices seem to have jumped 20% in the last nine months. What most amazes me however, is the complete lack of effort these landlords put in to make a house liveable before trying to get tenants. Houses smell, have plaster flaking from the walls, have shoddy built-ins made of unpainted chipboard and interior windows covered with brown paper. And this crap is described as ‘charming’. I saw a tiny passage which would hardly fit a chair described as a ‘study’. I’ve seen bathrooms that you wouldn’t let a dog use. There was a time that some attempt to make a place liveable was necessary to rent it; that time seems to have gone.

Sydney is trapped between obscenely high prices and the lack of a long-term rental culture. And for a couple trying to find a decent house to live in and unwilling to spend the ridiculously huge sums of money needed to buy a place, it’s a getting to be a hard place to live.

Update: Well, that weekend was the proverbial straw; it’s time to give landlords the finger and buy our own place. We’ve already seen the mortagage broker … and it’s not quite as scary as I’d imagined. Now, in defiance of the Sydney zeitgeist, I’ll try not to mention property again.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Annie
    Jun 04, 2005 @ 12:20:24

    I think that if someone is in a position to own a rental property there is a moral obligation to make it liveable. You’re exploiting people otherwise. It should be clean and in a good condition. There are tax advantages for spending money on mainatining it so what is wrong with all these nasty landlords?

  2. UniversalHead
    Jun 04, 2005 @ 16:36:29

    Landlords? Exploiting people? Surely not! Now that a couple of weeks have passed since my post however, I notice that many of these cesspits are still up for rental, or have gone down in price, so perhaps these bastards are finally getting what they deserve (or not getting what they think they deserve, you might say).
    I started a whole new runaround today, the looking – for – a – place – to – buy runaround. And I must admit, it’s much nicer to be on the buying end than the renting end, especially since Sydney finally seems to be calming down a little property price-wise.
    Oops, I said I wouldn’t talk about property didn’t I?

  3. Annie
    Jun 06, 2005 @ 12:06:40

    Good luck Pete and I hope you have a good experience. And remember, if all else fails you can always move to Perth.
    It’s lovely here! Honestly!