” THEIR SLEEPING IN KITCHENS AND LOUNGE ROOMS”
High-rise towers have become the new frontier of a thriving illegal rooming house market as “profiteering” operators prey on struggling foreign students. International student groups said a lack of affordable housing was leaving young foreigners living in Australia with “no choice” but to pay to live in slum-like housing.
” A bad reputation for Australia as a country, and its education institutions”.
Blatant overcrowding is also frustrating other tenants of high-rise buildings, who often have to wait in line to access their lifts and are being “tailgated” by swarms of other residents who do not have their own key.
A state government spokeswoman said “there are laws in place to regulate apartment safety and occupancy levels which allow council officers to inspect apartments without consent if they are believed to be unsafe” but it is not happening.
illegal accommodation resulting in overcrowding is a problem for landlords and owners in residential towers impacting rental returns and capital growth of their properties.
Subleasing and illegal accommodation typically results in the property being poorly kept, causing significant and costly damage. Overcrowding creates a fire risk, which has resulted in a few cases of apartments in Melbourne catching fire in this year alone. Poor hygiene and security risks for residents are also significant issues.
Property managers are well aware of warning signs that indicate subleasing and monitor websites that are notorious for advertising illegal subleasing.
“All of that aside, it is illegal for anyone in a residential tower to sleep in non-habitual rooms such as the living room, where many people are now paying hundreds of dollars a week to sleep.”
Authorities also believe some of Melbourne’s illegal rooming houses are organised overseas, including through foreign-language websites, making it harder for the ringleaders to be discovered.
Even the tenants do not always know who they are paying because they are asked to deposit their rent into postal boxes or to hand money to the maintenance person.
Signs have been found on the back of apartment doors by council workers warning housemates not to speak to anyone who comes to the door.