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Outrage over mould-stained shared bedroom priced at for $180 a week

Outrage over mould-stained shared bedroom priced at for $180 a week
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Read Time:3 Minute, 48 Second

A landlord has been slammed for advertising a shared bedroom on Sydney’s Lower North Shore for $180 per week.

Stained walls border the barely furnished room in the Chatswood share house, which social media users have dubbed less inviting than a prison.

“One bed in a shared room is available for a female. (The) other girl is an Aussie and she is very introverted, so you won’t feel disturbed,” the listing states, noting the two other rooms in the house are occupied by male residents.

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The price includes bills and bond, but commentators still lashed the price on Reddit — with one saying: “$180 for a SHARED room. Yeesh.”

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The basic living quarters were even compared to a jail cell.

“Prisons are cleaner and more inviting,” one person wrote.

“If I had a choice between living here and a prison, I would have a difficult decision to make,” another said.

NSW Tenants’ Union CEO Leo Patterson Ross told 7NEWS.com.au: “There are some pretty poor quality homes coming onto the market and, because of a lack of regulation, guidance, and binding minimum standards, there’s not a lot stopping it.”

The listing was shared on Tuesday via the administrator of a Facebook group for international students, largely from Bangladesh, in Australia. 7NEWS.com.au has also reached out to the landlord who submitted the listing for comment.

Patterson Ross said it’s common for international students in Australia to substitute living standards for location out of necessity, and noted the tight rental situation in Chatswood was partly due to its proximity to Macquarie University.

“People are pushed into it because they have limited time, and this is particularly an issue for international students who have study loads and limits on their working hours that mean they have very little time to travel,” he said.

“If you’re commuting an hour or two a day, that’s an hour or two that you’re not working, studying or sleeping.

“But what that means is that, because people can’t compromise too much on location, they compromise on quality.”

A shared room with stained walls advertised for $180 per week has been slammed for exploiting desperate tenants. Credit: Facebook

Sydney’s Lower North Shore is anecdotally understood to offer sub-standard rentals.

“It’s Chatswood, (I’m) surprised it isn’t a spot in a bunk bed,” one netizen wrote on the Reddit post of the listing.

“So this is one of those famous Chatswood (landlords). I’d heard about these places, jammed full of people, but not seen one. Judging by the mould, I’m glad I haven’t,” another wrote.

Feeding on desperation

Patterson Ross said because the room was listed on the “grey market” — distributed through unauthorised channels — it is possible both the operator and the tenants are unaware of their legal rights and obligations.

“They’re just taking advantage of people’s desperation for a home, and the lack of other options,” he said.

One Sydney netizen who reportedly lived with mould in her rental apartment for years, and experienced breathing difficulties and cold symptoms whenever she slept “near the bad spots,” commented on the Reddit post of the listing: “They know people are desperate.”

“The sheer audacity to list this without even trying to clean it,” she said.

“Of course we can’t report anything to the real estate (agents), though, or we risk getting on their bad side and losing our home.”

Eyebrow-raising standards are part of a larger problem amid a lack of a regulatory presence, Patterson Ross said.

“Whether that’s a regulator, sufficient rules around housing that empower the consumer … or someone who is going and looking at those providers independent of the consumer’s complaints,” he said.

“We haven’t recognised, and don’t treat, housing like an essential service in the same way we ensure people have energy and water.”

He said it’s as simple as renting not being taken seriously enough, given the well-known links between housing quality, and mental and physical health.

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