The Sydney rental market can feel like a losing battle. Even if you are able to secure a lease, paying sky-high rent is no guarantee of quality.
Lack of renter protections and tight rental market over the last 10 years has meant landlords and agents can largely ignore requests for repairs in an effort to save money, while the rental properties fall further into disrepair. 44% of renters fear retaliation from landlords for enforcing repair requests through no-grounds evictions or rent increases.
Paying high costs for low-quality housing, with no avenue to enforce your rights is a great source of pain and stress for renters.
Online rental listings often mask any issues with the property, as they are almost exclusively posted by landlords and their agents, so a physical inspection is often the only way to find out if there are any issues with the property. Even then, it can be hard to find hidden defects like plumbing issues, mould, and noise with a short inspection before signing a lease.
Learn more about this Social IssueHousing Stress
Young adults under 35 are overwhelmingly Private Renters, with 65% of Singles and 58% of Couples under 35 renting. Low-income young adults are renting at even higher rate, 70% and 82% respectively, and pay 57% of the income on average towards rent.
Single and earning very low incomes, they cannot afford to compete with other high-income renters, and may face discrimination from landlords when applying for a lease on their own. Young adults also lack the experience and knowledge needed to navigate the housing system and enforce their rights.
Most young people in Sydney are avoiding renting altogether, with 80% of 18-24-year-olds and 25% of 25-34-year-olds estimated to be living at home in 2016.
Those who move out generally seek out housemates to share costs and improve affordability. However, conflicts with housemates and lack of sub-tenant protections can mean having to move more often and increase their risk of falling into homelessness.
Renters may need to do a dozen inspections before finding the right home. Keeping track of which properties you have inspected and when is hard enough, but how do you even compare them objectively?
Most rental postings contain limited information, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking and some photos. But rarely do they contain more detailed information that renters want to know, has there been any mould? Do the appliances work? How much noise to expect?
The Rental Quality App will allow renters to prepare simple, and easy to use checklists they can use during their inspections. Checklists can be customised to capture all the features you are looking for, and allow you to quickly compare price AND quality to find the best value for money.
The app can also help you record rental listings, manage inspection times, compare rents, and calculate a suitable budget.
Renters are often at a disadvantage in negotiations because they simple do not have all the information, and landlords and agents won't tell the whole story to maximise rent.
By using the checklists, the data stored can be used by other renters inspecting the same property. This can include information about quality, but also photos, and comments. Renters can access more information about the property that wouldn't be available on a rental listing, and weed out bad housing without investing time and energy into an inspection.
At scale, the data generated by users of the app can show what renters want when renting, give a snapshot of the quality of rental properties across Sydney, and guide policy decisions.
The rental system in NSW is complex and difficult to navigate. Young Adult renting for the first time often struggle to understand how to secure a lease, what the responsibilities of a tenant and landlord are, and how to enforce their rights.
They may only seek help when their situation has reached crisis levels and they face eviction, because they what they needed to do to avoid the situation or did get the information at the right time.
As the app is designed to be used at the beginning of the rental journey, before any lease is signed, the app can integrate with training material and resources to guide Young Renters through the rental system every step of the way and avoid common pitfalls.
If they do run into a problem, they will know to access to information or be connected to advocacy services directly through the app.
When you are paying half your income in rent, you would expect a certain level of quality in living conditions, but that is not the case in the Sydney.
This Rental Quality App may not directly reduce the price of rentals, or directly improve the quality of housing available, however, it we can shift the balance of power and help renters get the most value for their money by:
The next steps in developing this Design are:
If you are able to assist us in developing this Design, we would really appreciate you reaching out for a chat.