The Australian dream is steadily shifting from home ownership towards tenancy, with almost one third of the nation renting – and that proportion is steadily rising.
However, a survey of more than 1000 would-be tenants, conducted by online start-up Rent.com.au, revealed that two thirds of all respondents found the application process to be “very stressful,” while a staggering 36 per cent endured at least three unsuccessful applications.
Kuldip Paul, a post-graduate student from India, is currently staying in university accommodation in Melbourne’s inner-northern suburb of Carlton but says it’s an expensive, short-term solution.
He has been frustrated by the difficulty of the application process so far.
“You might see a property you like and then you have to register for an inspection which might be seven days away, then you email the agent and they may not respond,” Mr Paul says.
“What’s more, you know lots of people are applying for the same properties, so you never know where your application stands.
“And the whole time, you’re homeless. When you arrive in a new country, you can’t afford to stay in a hotel for a month.”
Single mother Tabatha Wieczorek recently moved to rural New South Wales because of affordability issues in Newcastle.
She now enjoys a good relationship relationship with her real estate agent and landlord, but has previously moved 19 times since 2006, with tenancies cut unexpectedly short.
“I moved house the day my seven-year-old was born, she’s never had stability,” Ms Wieczorek said.
“I’ve taught my kids to respect where they live and I take care of the property, but I don’t have a chance compared to renters with no kids.
“If you’re in a place, and you think you’re going to be there for a while, you settle in, then suddenly you have to get out and you can’t afford to move, so you end up leaving furniture and stuff behind.
“If I take care of the house, I should get a bit of leeway. If I’m a good tenant, I should be able to just walk into any real estate agent and say ‘here’s my record,’ and have a house within a week.”
Greg Bader, CEO of Rent.com.au and former CEO of iiNet, said his company’s goal was to make long-term renting easier, providing an end-to-end online service that streamlines the process for tenants, agents and landlords.
“The industry is very heavily regulated, and all of those regulations create paperwork,” Mr Bader says.
“Nobody likes paperwork. It’s stressful for all parties, but they are a reality of life. We thought if we could improve that, it would make a huge difference, and that’s where Renter Resume came in.”
The Renter Resume allows prospective tenants to upload references, employment details and ID to the Rent.com.au app then automatically add them to every application. Landlords can then access these records easily.
“Renter Resume is meant to be just like your CV,” Mr Bader adds. “You create it once and then use it over and over, whenever you apply for a property.
“For agents and landlords receiving applications, they have all the information they need, and for prospective tenants, your good record is right there for everyone to see. You’re better presented.”