SumOfUs, an international consumer group with more than 170,000 members in Australia has called on the New South Wales Government to ban the spread of “pernicious and mercenary” new rent-bidding apps.
They say the apps – US-based Rentberry and local apps Property Connect and RentWolf – will push up rental prices by forcing applicants into rent-bidding wars.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced plans to outlaw the “scourge” of rent-bidding last year while existing Queensland legislation prevents their use in the State.
Nick Haines, Senior Australian Campaigner for the global organisation said, “We keep hearing that the property market is overheated. Rent-bidding apps are the equivalent of pouring petrol on the bonfire. Everyone has the right to have a roof over their heads, and these apps put that even further out of reach for people who already face a ruthlessly competitive housing market.
“These cynical apps are here to cash in on a crisis. The only people celebrating their arrival in Australia are the Silicon Valley tech-bros who designed them.”
Mr Hains also called for the Berejiklian Government to follow Victoria’s lead and introduce legislation to ban rent-bidding apps before they become too widespread.
“There aren’t many levers Governments can pull to curb runaway rental housing costs – but this is one of them – and their failure to do it will mean that their constituents will soon face even higher rents and increased discrimination from landlords.”
The NSW innovation minister, Matt Kean, told The Guardian the government would keep a “close eye” on rental bidding apps.
- Census data shows almost a third of Australians are now renting, with year-on-year rental prices rising in most capital cities
- Rentberry boasts that the app pushes up rents by an average of 5%
View the petition here: http://sumofus.org/ban-rent-bidding