Renters: What’s the problem?

Strata tenants and landlords get a lot of stick.  Tenants are blamed every time there is a problem (because owners never park in the wrong place, play loud music or keep barking dogs.)

Landlords are slammed for not taking part in owners corp affairs  or,  conversely, for being too involved in running buildings where they don’t live.

When it comes to the league ladder of strata pariahs, the chairman who rarely sets foot in the building he rules (often with a bucket of proxies) is up there with the party boys and girls who think apartments are akin to student flats and backpackers hostels.

But these are the extremes and our all-too-common negative attitudes to tenants and landlords don’t make much sense at all.

Tenancies make up about half the housing stock in strata and while negative gearing and our obsession with property investment pushes home ownership beyond the reach of many, you have to ask what’s wrong with renting.

All around the world there are people who’ve never owned a home and have no intention of ever doing so.  They can rent where they could never afford to buy and if it doesn’t work out, they just move on.

And landlords, in my experience, are more likely to support decisions that improve the value of their investment, unlike low-levies lurkers who won’t spend a cent while the building crumbles around their ears.

There are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of landlords and tenants are good strata citizens – otherwise we’d be living in complete chaos.

That’s why on November 2nd, when Strata Community Australia NSW hold their annual convention’s Owners Day, the panel for Flat Chat Live will include a representative of the Tenants Union to give renters’ point of view.

Flat Chat Live – where I put your questions to strata experts – was a huge success last year so this time we’re going for a double session.

There’s a lot more than that and it only costs $66 for the day (including lunch and morning tea). Log on  HERE for more information.

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