Soaring rents and record-low vacancy rates have contributed to the rental crisis across Australia in the past 12 months.
While renters face the pressure of finding a home, they have been ripped off by being forced to pay so-called background checks to help them secure a property.
On today’s Briefing, we talked to LiSTNR’s investigative journalist, Bension Siebert, about his investigation on real estate agents across the country.
His investigation has led to the South Australia government outlawing renters paying background checks out of their own pockets.
Listen to this LiSTNR exclusive episode below:
Last year, Siebert found out that real estate agents are using rental application platforms that pressure renters to pay for their own background checks.
Online rental application platform 2Apply has been using a ‘star rating’ system to assess rental applicants – and the rating is affected by whether an applicant pays $20 to $30 for their own background check,”Siebert said.
If renters choose not to pay the background check fees, the website will urge them to “stand out from the pack” and persuade tenants to pay to boost their star rating and “show you’re a great tenant”.
This LiSTNR exclusive investigation story revealed the SA government plans to outlaw charging people for their background checks during rental applications.
SA Minister for Consumer Affairs Andrea Michaels urged other state and territory governments should also make the practice illegal.
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