It has never been a better time to be a tenant in some parts of the county, with landlords offering sweeteners to lure tenants on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Closed international borders, lockdowns and job losses have led to an exodus of renters in some areas, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, resulting in a glut of vacant rentals.
While less competition has given tenants the upper hand, the situation hasn’t been so positive for landlords.
“We have seen vacancy rates rise and days on site too, so undoubtedly some people have been unable to rent out their properties, which has meant a significant loss for most landlords,” said director of economic research at realestate.com.au Cameron Kusher.
As a result, a number of rentals currently listed on realestate.com.au are being offered with sweeteners such as free wifi, TV subscriptions and, in some cases, free rent.
The developer of West Side Place, a newly-constructed apartment complex anchored by the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Melbourne’s CBD, has flexed even more creativity offering personal health coaching as part of a $2,500 incentive package.
Far East Consortium’s rental package includes relocation fees valued at $1,500, end of lease cleaning fees for the tenant’s last residence valued at $500, a $150 voucher for the in-house cafe Merriment and personal health coaching valued at $350.
The company’s head of strategy and partnerships Australia Jessica Campbell said the majority of new tenants at West Side Place have moved from the outer suburbs.
“The package was designed to encourage people to consider a move to the CBD or to upgrade to a new or larger apartment. Tenants have loved it,” Ms Campbell said.
“It also supports all the investors who have recently settled by attracting tenants to the new precinct and giving them the best chance at securing a good quality tenant as quickly as possible in a changing market.”
These types of deals in inner-city areas are likely to continue, said Mr Kusher.
“In inner-city apartment markets that tend to be dominated by international arrivals there is still likely to be intense competition to secure tenants, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we still see incentives in these markets.”
Here are just some of the rental sweeteners popping up in listings on realestate.com.au and flatmates.com.au at the moment.
Temporary free rent
A number of rental listings across Australian cities are currently being offered with one or two weeks of free rent. Searching tenants need to type ‘free rent’ into the keyword search tool on realestate.com.au’s homepage to find these deals.
The two-bedroom home at 2/41 Canberra Street in Melbourne’s hip Brunswick is being offered for $350 per week with two weeks of free rent. It’s a short walk to Sydney Road and Moreland and Anstey train stations.
An apartment at 19/20 Murray Street in Bronte, in Sydney’s popular eastern suburbs, comes with one week rent free. It’s a short distance to Bronte Beach and is available furnished or unfurnished for $375 per week.
Paddington in Brisbane is a top choice for tenants and the landlord of this quaint three-bedroom home will knock off one week of rent if the tenant signs up to a 12-month lease. The home at 212a Given Terrace is a short stroll to shops and cafes and has recently been renovated.
Free TV subscriptions
The listing on flatmates.com.au includes Disney+, Amazon Prime and Netflix. If that’s not enough, there’s also a PS4 and Switch included.
Rent is just $200 per week – sounds like a top deal.
Reduced rent in exchange for dog caring
Dog lovers in Perth will be jumping at this opportunity on flatmates.com.au. This three-bedroom home has had its weekly rent reduced by half to $250. It also includes Netflix and a new bathroom.
In exchange for this deal, the new tenant will need to look after Seamus, a 10-year-old Wheaton Terrier whose owner’s health has deteriorated and has had to go into full-time care.