Bondi listing: $1,250 a week for flat with construction noise and works spilling into living area

<span>A Bondi property is for rent at $1,250 a week while undergoing ‘extensive remedial construction’.</span><span>Photograph: Tamsin Rose/The Guardian</span>
A Bondi property is for rent at $1,250 a week while undergoing ‘extensive remedial construction’.Photograph: Tamsin Rose/The Guardian

Renters are being asked to shell out $1,250 a week to live in a three-bedroom Bondi apartment where scaffolding and boards block almost every window – and there’s construction noise from 7am weekdays and 8am Saturdays.

When Oliver came across the Bondi listing at the weekend – six months into his “gutting” search for a rental for his young family – he was shocked.

“Initially, when you see a property come up, you’re excited,” he said. “There’s actually a property that’s a bit above our budget and maybe, just maybe, there’s an opportunity there but then … it’s a construction site.”

The father of two found the listing at the Easter long weekend, reading that the apartment was undergoing “extensive remedial construction” works that extend into the living room and kitchen.

Due to the works, access to the balconies are not permitted and most of the building is clad in scaffolding. A temporary ply wall has been erected along one length of the living space.

Prospective tenants were told the “oversized” apartment – just “footsteps to surf” – was also subject to construction noise from “7am to 5pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays” and as such was being offered at a “significantly reduced” rate.

When it opened for inspection on Tuesday night, a handful of people showed up to view unit 8 at 232-234 Campbell Parade, managed by The Rubenstein Group – the realtors turned reality TV stars of Luxe Listings Sydney fame.

The agency declined to comment when asked what kind of discount had been applied to the property and how long most of the building would be a construction site.

An agent at the viewing told prospective tenants that the works were expected to wrap within nine months and then the rent would go up to about $2,700 a week.

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According to Domain, the property was leased for $1,980 a week in November 2020 and then again for an undisclosed amount in November last year. It was then relisted last month.

For Oliver and his wife – who asked not to be identified so as to not damage their chances when they eventually apply for a new home – it’s not even an option worth considering.

“It’s just insane,” he said. “How could you live there with a family, or how could anyone live there? I work from home so there’s no way. Pretty gutting.”

The Tenants’ Union New South Wales’ chief executive, Leo Patterson Ross, said the agent needed to be clear about how big the discount being applied was and consider if it should even be listed.

“It’s pretty unbelievable that somewhere with this amount of work and intrusion into your life can cost more than $60,000 a year,” he said.

While the price being asked for a property under construction shocked Patterson Ross, he said there were many worse out there and, speaking generally, there was little in the way of legal framework to stop “very poor quality properties” from being listed and snapped up due to the severity of the rental crisis.

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He’s one of many in the sector calling on the NSW Labor government to introduce its long-awaited rental reforms package, more than a year after Chris Minns took office.

The Greens’ housing spokesperson, Jenny Leong, noted the appointment of a rental commissioner, but said the government had so far failed to provide significant assistance to renters.

“If this property wasn’t in Sydney, you would think this advertisement was an April fool’s joke,” she said.

“We are now at a point in this rental crisis where landlords are trying to flog rooms in a construction site … the private market is failing.”

The state’s rental commissioner, Trina Jones, said landlords and agents were required to disclose material facts about a rental property before an agreement was struck. “In this case that would include telling the renter about ongoing or anticipated rectification work or major repairs that will happen during the tenancy,” she said.

There is no suggestion of a failure to disclose material facts for the Bondi listing.

The better regulation minister, Anoulack Chanthivong, said rectification works on buildings were important. “Being upfront and transparent about any material facts of a rental property helps to create a trusted rental system,” he said.

He said the government was focused on getting new houses built “because at the end of the day renters aren’t just being kneecapped by outdated rules, they’re being pressured by a failure to build homes for more than a decade”.