A real estate company exposed celebrating a rental price increase of $225 a week as an “achievement” in an email to customers that apologized.
In a statement to Nine from its spokesperson, property management firm Ironfish said it accepted “the tone of the update was insensitive.”
Last week, a tenant shared a screenshot of an email update from Ironfish, posting their numbers for June.
“June Achievement: Largest Rent Increase – $225 per week,” the flyer reads.
Below the details is a photo of children fighting on a bed.
The user posted the email on Reddit with the comment: “My rent just went up $400 a month and the agency emailed me bragging about it…”
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The email also told recipients that the average weekly rent increase was nearly $100 per week and revealed comparative increases in asking prices: “July 2021 through December 2021: $393. January 2022 through June 2022: $460”.
The Reddit thread exploded in response.
An Ironfish spokesperson told Nine that an email of apology was sent to recipients and that the company acknowledged the difficulties in the housing market.
The spokesperson said Ironfish had “kept tenants and landlords informed of supports for those in financial difficulty” and advised owners of properties whose tenants were experiencing financial hardship to offer rental discounts.
The rent increase mentioned in the original email was applied at the end of a rental agreement, after a discount period during the pandemic, the spokesperson said.
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“Ironfish apologized for a recent email newsletter that highlighted rental price increases, sending recipients an apology,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“We know that many of our clients, tenants and landlords, have experienced intense stress and financial hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic and accept that the tone of the update was insensitive.
“We will ensure that our future content is more carefully reviewed and provides better information to all of our customers. The update highlighted a rent increase of $225 per week – in context, this was due to a new rental and an adjustment from a previously updated Covid rent, returning to normal and current market rates.
“The pandemic has been a difficult time for renters and also for landlords, as closings have hit and vacancy rates have increased.
“Recent rent adjustments follow substantial declines over the past two years, and median rents in Melbourne’s CBD remain below pre-Covid levels.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, Ironfish has kept tenants and landlords informed about support measures for people in financial difficulty. We have advised landlords to engage with tenants in financial difficulty and offer rental discounts We have facilitated many substantial rent reductions and have also assisted landlords and tenants in compiling and accommodating applications for Covid relief support packages.”
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Reddit replies to the original email included some from owners (not associated with Ironfish).
“Landlord here, it’s not justified. It shouldn’t even be legal to raise the rent so much for the same tenant. Different if new tenants come in, but it’s an outrageous amount,” one user commented.
Another said: ‘I’ve been a landlord for a few years and won’t raise the rent (much to the chagrin of the property management company) – the tenants have been there for 12 years and keep the place immaculate, always pay on They have young children, both working in low-paying jobs, doing their best.
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A renter called the email ‘cringe’ and a landlord remarked: ‘I got the same email and had the same feeling of disgust, and I’m a landlord (but not with them).”
Data from leading national real estate agency Ray White shows advertised rental prices rose nearly 14%, outpacing CPI rental price increases of 1.6%.
At the same time, the nationwide vacancy rate this month tightened to a record low of less than 1%, according to Domain.
The lack of listings increased competition and rising interest rates – with costs being passed on from landlords to tenants – along with inflation, continued to weigh on the rental market to a critical point.