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Aussie landlord admits to charging tenants an illegal $1000 payment

Written by on May 9, 2024

A landlord has enraged Aussie renters after admitting to the illegal way she runs her investment property.

The admission came when the woman commented on a post in a Facebook group for Victorian landlords after a member had asked for advice about renting to tenants who have pets.

She revealed that, in her experience, she would rather have tenants who have pets over those who have children.

The landlord then goes on to recommend that the poster ask their tenant for a “pet bond”, which is illegal in Victoria and most of the country.

When landlords are trying to secure an illegal pet bond, it is often described to tenants as a way to cover costs if their pet causes any damages to the property.

After encouraging the poster to take an illegal payment from their tenant, the Victorian landlord then openly admitted to regularly doing so herself, with the help of her property manager.

“I have one, its $1000 for damages by the pet,” she said.

The poster then replied saying that while her tenants had offered to provide a pet bond, they are not legal in Victoria.

However, this was not new information to the fellow landlord, who confessed that she “knows they are not legal” but “always asks for them”, adding her property manager has been “great” about supporting her illegal activities.

“I have lots of pets personally and don’t turn down animals. Again, kids have done more damage than animals in my experience,” she wrote.

“Most renters are happy to do it as it means they can have animals.”

In Victoria, renters who want to have a pet on the property must ask the rental provider, though the landlord must have a good reason to refuse the request.

Assistance dogs do not count as pets and cannot be refused.

According to Tenants Victoria, if a pet causes damages to a property, then costs of those damages can be taken out of the regular bond paid at the start of a tenancy.

“If you pay a bond at the start of your tenancy that bond is held as a security in case there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy over cleaning, damage or unpaid rent,” the organisation states.

“If you have a pet and your pet causes any damage while you are at the property, the landlord can make a claim on your bond. A second ‘pet bond’ is not required and does not need to be paid.”

Western Australia is the only state where landlords can legally ask tenants to pay a pet bond, however, they can only charge a maximum of $260, regardless of the number of pets that will be living there.

This bond can then only be applied to the cost of any fumigation of the premises that may be required at the end of a tenancy.

Tenants cannot be charged a pet bond for an assistance dog.

A screenshot of the landlord admitting to the illegal act was shared to X – formerly Twitter – by popular renter’s advocate, Jordie van den Berg.

“Landlord: ‘yeah I know it’s not legal, but I do it anyway’,” he captioned the photo, with the post garnering dozens of comments from outraged renters.

One commenter branded the landlord’s actions as “emotional blackmail”, with another accusing her of “playing on people’s emotions for money”.

“‘Most renters are happy to pay’ – I’m sure none of them are happy but they need somewhere to live without having to give up their pet,” another wrote.

Furious commenters branded the property investor’s actions as “greedy” and “vile”.

“I personally would not describe myself as ‘happy’ to be exploited over an illegal bond that I can’t dispute when you go ahead and invent some bulls**t to keep it because the alternative is that it’s almost impossible to get a rental with pets,” one person said.

Another questioned where this $1000 “bond” was being held, as it was highly unlikely it would be through official, legal channels.

“The most concerning thing is the manager, how many illegal bonds have they taken and where is the money being held? In the agents account, with the owner? It wouldn’t be with fair trading where legal bonds are lodged,” they wrote.

The rental crisis is continuing to rage across the country, with a recent rental affordability report revealing it is the “worst it’s ever been”.

Anglicare Australia released its annual Rental Affordibility Snapshot last month, revealing that of more than 45,000 listings across the country, just 0.6 per cent were considered affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage.

Only 0.2 per cent were affordable for a person on the aged pension and 0.1 per cent for people on the disability support pension.

None were affordable for someone on the Youth Allowance support payment.

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“The housing crisis is the worst it’s ever been,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.

“This is not hyperbole. It is Australia’s new normal.

“We’ve never seen such bad results for people on the minimum wage, with affordability halving for a single person in the last two years.”