With the upcoming launch of several ‘rent-bidding’ apps in Australia, a specialist insurer has expressed concerned that the new tech will push renters into bidding more than they can pay for rental properties.
US-based Live Offer and Australian start-up Rentwolf will both roll out their platforms in Australia in the coming months, following US rent-bidding start-up Rentberry’s announcement of an Australian launch for this year.
Now, Carolyn Parrella, the executive manager of Terri Scheer Insurance, has joined other landlord insurance specialists in raising concerns that the looming rental revolution could cause renters to financially over-commit themselves in the process of a “rent auction,” Domain reported.
“Impulsive, eBay-style bidding on rental apps like Rentberry may see Australian tenants fall into financial difficulty when vying for their preferred rental property,” she said.
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“Tenants who use these apps could be lulled into the thrill of the chase and get caught up in the bidding process and commit to paying a rental amount that they can’t afford in the long term.”
Tim Manson, founder and chief executive of Property Connect, was quick to differentiate Live Offer with competitor Rentberry, saying that it’s “not a bidding system but an offer system.”
“When renters apply, they input their offer, and, as they are inputting, they see in real time how they are placed against other applicants,” Manson told Domain.
Both the Tenants Union of NSW and Victoria are advocating making rent bidding illegal. In Victoria, the topic is being reviewed by Consumer Affairs.
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