A property manager has come under fire after appearing to boast about upping rent in an email to tenants.
Property investment firm Ironfish sent an email to its customers last week stating the highest weekly increase and average rent increase in Melbourne in June.
“Achievement in June: Biggest rent increase – $225 per week,” the email states, before adding that the company leased 1,103 properties in the last financial year.
The email also includes two references, one from a landlord and another from a renter, which suggests there was no target demographic for the email.
A renter who received the email posted a screenshot to reddit, with the caption: “My rent just went up $400 a month and the agency sent me an email bragging about it.”
The email is accompanied with a photo of two young children jumping on a bed, having a pillow fight with smiles on their faces.
It’s caused a stir online, with both tenants and landlords disapproving of the email, and many left shocked after reading its contents.
“As an owner and provider that’s cringe. If my real estate (agent) boasted like that I’d be out,” one user said.
“I received the same email and had the same disgusted feeling, and I’m an owner (just not with them),” said another.
“That’s just disgusting. They are literally celebrating ripping off desperate people. It’s just deplorable,” a third commented.
Meanwhile others have raised concerns about how much the rent had increased by.
“Can they actually do that large an increase? I mean legally? What do they have in your lease on how it’s calculated? Fairly sure Tenants Victoria may have a bit more to say about it,” one user commented.
“How can a $225 rent increase be justified?” another user questioned. “Heck, even $98 is a lot.”
“So nuts. Ours tried to raise it by $90 a month which I thought was ridiculous and we just said no and they agreed to stay the same if we signed a 12-month lease,” another said.
News.com.au has contacted Ironfish for comment on the email.
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, landlords are not allowed to increase rent during a fixed-term agreement unless stated otherwise, and have to give tenants at least 60 days’ notice.
The law doesn’t state how much a landlord can increase weekly repayments by however it should be changed in line with the consumer price index, average rent prices, by a fixed percentage or by a fixed dollar amount.
Renters also have the right to challenge their increase if they believe their repayments have been raised too high.
Despite the sharp increase stated in the email, data from CoreLogic suggests Melbourne has the cheapest rental market with a typical home costing a renter $480 a week.
The rising cost of living, low vacancy rates and increasing interest rates are some of the reasons why landlords are choosing to hike weekly rent repayments.