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Becoming a landlord while still renting? ‘Rentvesting’ promises a foot on the property ladder, but watch your step

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-graham-1264059">James Graham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>As home ownership moves further out of reach for many Australians, “rentvesting” is being touted as a lifesaver.</p> <p>Rentvesting is the practice of renting one property to live in yourself, while simultaneously purchasing an investment property somewhere cheaper and leasing it out.</p> <p>Ideally, “rentvestors” get to enjoy the capital gains on an investment property while living where they actually want to live, allowing them to cash in and upsize to their dream home later.</p> <p>It might seem like a savvy way to game the property market. But what are the risks of such an investment strategy? And how might broad adoption of this behaviour affect housing affordability in Australia?</p> <h2>A rising tide lifts all boats differently</h2> <p>The aim of the rentvesting game is to buy cheap property now, ride the expected capital gains, and move into a more desirable home down the track. The hope is that by climbing the first rung of the property ladder early, the whole thing won’t be pulled up out of reach.</p> <p>The first problem with this strategy, however, is that capital gains on housing are not always and everywhere equal.</p> <p>Generally, the cheapest properties available to rentvestors will be houses in the regions or apartments in the city. But both regional housing and apartment properties <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-20/house-apartment-price-gap-widens-record-high-property-market/103484076">tend to appreciate more slowly</a> than the inner-city houses rentvestors might hope to live in one day. They might get a foot on the property ladder, but the rungs themselves are slowly drifting apart.</p> <p>Would-be rentvestors should also be aware that investments by “out-of-town” buyers tend to generate <a href="https://academic.oup.com/rfs/article-abstract/29/2/486/1902789">much lower returns</a> – both capital gains and rental yields – than investments by locals. Out-of-towners don’t know the local market trends, don’t know which neighbourhoods to avoid, and aren’t able to monitor their investments as effectively from afar.</p> <p>Avoiding the regions by investing in city apartments presents its own difficulties. Large, unexpected maintenance bills and poor strata management are <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-21/a-world-of-hidden-charges:-strata-company-insiders/103617944">common complaints</a>.</p> <h2>Different costs lead to different returns</h2> <p>Perhaps the potential rentvestor should invest in something more straightforward instead, like stocks. After all, the return on equities in Australia has <a href="https://academic.oup.com/qje/article/134/3/1225/5435538">outperformed housing</a> in recent decades.</p> <p>However, it is much easier to borrow to invest in property than it is to borrow to invest in the stock market. And leverage is the investor’s secret weapon. For example, if house prices were to appreciate at 10% per year, then using a mortgage and a A$100,000 deposit on a $1 million property would earn you a 100% return on equity before costs.</p> <p>But while both investors and homeowners would earn that same basic return, their costs could be very different. For starters, property investors face capital gains tax on the proceeds of property sales, <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/investments-and-assets/capital-gains-tax/property-and-capital-gains-tax/your-main-residence-home/eligibility-for-main-residence-exemption">unlike those selling their primary residence</a>. Banks also typically charge <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/chart-pack/interest-rates.html">higher interest rates</a> on mortgages to investors than to homeowners.</p> <p>At times, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has also imposed caps on bank lending against investment properties, making it more difficult to find mortgage financing in the first place.</p> <p>Highly leveraged properties require mortgage insurance, too. Investors may need to take out larger insurance policies against the properties themselves, reflecting the higher risks associated with investment properties. Then, you also have to throw in property management fees, council rates, strata management fees and regular and unexpected maintenance costs.</p> <h2>Negative gearing offers little benefit</h2> <p>What about negative gearing? Property investors that generate losses on their property can deduct these costs against the tax bill on their other income.</p> <p>But negative gearing disproportionately benefits high-income earners with large tax bills. The <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-working-conditions/personal-income-australia/latest-release">median Australian individual income</a> is around $55,00, which generates a tax bill of about $8,000 – not a lot from which investment property losses can be deducted.</p> <p>The bigger picture is that while negative gearing helps defray the regular costs of managing a property, it doesn’t do anything to change expected capital gains.</p> <p>At the end of the spreadsheet tally, an investment property could end up earning rentvestors significantly less than they could have gained by simply buying their first home.</p> <h2>Effects on housing affordability</h2> <p>Rentvesting is new enough that its prevalence and influence awaits formal academic study. But economists might speculate about its implications for the housing market more broadly.</p> <p>The simplest analysis suggests that a rentvestor occupies one rental property while supplying an additional rental property to the market. If, instead, they had bought a home, they would vacate a rental property while removing another property from the market. In this case, even rentvesting en masse would have zero net effect on the housing market.</p> <p>But a more nuanced perspective might consider where rentvestors are renting and where they are investing. Perhaps they are most likely to rent properties in the already-crowded inner city, but purchase investment properties in regional areas where other first home buyers would like to live.</p> <p>This would increase demand for rentals in the city and reduce the supply of owner-occupier properties in the regions, worsening the affordability of both.</p> <p>Of course, if these rentvestors all eventually move up the property ladder – selling in the region and purchasing in the city – this effect would be reversed. From that longer-term perspective, rentvestors would ultimately have little effect.</p> <h2>We still need more houses</h2> <p>Rentvesting is not a panacea for Australia’s housing market woes. Potential investors should weigh the benefits of property investment against its substantial costs and risks. Additionally, they need to carefully consider the obvious alternative: simply buying their first home up-front.</p> <p>We have good reason to be wary of yet another get-rich-quick scheme involving the housing market. But initial considerations suggest that for the market overall, rentvestor behaviour is no worse than someone simply buying their first home, which we would otherwise encourage.</p> <p>Rather than criticising those seeking a way though our housing market morass, we might instead redouble our efforts to increase the supply of housing.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229116/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/james-graham-1264059">James Graham</a>, Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/becoming-a-landlord-while-still-renting-rentvesting-promises-a-foot-on-the-property-ladder-but-watch-your-step-229116">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Aussies lament the end of ancient "Beers for Garbos" tradition

<p>Here in Australia, where rubbish collectors are celebrated annually with a frosty brew (or six), a cherished tradition is facing its untimely demise.</p> <p>Yes, you guessed it right – the legendary "Beers for Garbos" tradition, where grateful locals adorn their wheelie bins with a six-pack of beer as a token of appreciation, is disappearing faster than a cold beer on a scorching summer day.</p> <p>For generations, Aussies have upheld this festive practice, a heartwarming exchange between citizens and their garbage collectors during the most wonderful time of the year. But alas, the tides are turning, and it seems the days of beer-topped bins are numbered.</p> <p>The alarm was sounded when a concerned citizen took to the virtual streets of Reddit to lament the decline of this time-honoured tradition. "I've been doing this for 20 years, only the last two years they don't seem interested. Is this a tradition we are losing?" cried out the desperate Redditor, faced with the heartbreaking prospect of having their VB left unwanted and <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">unclaimed</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">.</span></p> <p>Speculations ran wild in the digital realm, with theories ranging from light-fingered neighbours to the outrageous notion that beer might not be as popular as it once was. However, Veolia, the giant among waste management companies in Australia, quickly extinguished the fiery speculations.</p> <p>Veolia's chief operating officer of environment, Tony Roderick, delivered the crushing blow, confirming that the "Beers for Garbos" tradition had taken its last bow. The culprit? Health and safety concerns, the perennial party poopers of workplace festivities. Roderick explained, "Packages of beer become missiles in the cabin of the truck under emergency braking."</p> <p>Picture this: a garbage truck hurtling down the suburban streets, emergency brakes screeching, and inside, a symphony of exploding beer bottles. It's a hazardous scenario that even the most seasoned garbage collector might find hard to navigate. Moreover, Veolia has a company-wide dry workplace policy, dashing hopes of a beer-fuelled trash pickup.</p> <p>But fear not, for Roderick is not entirely Ebenezer Scrooge. He encourages alternative forms of gift-giving. "Should people want to leave a small gift for their local driver, it is possible to leave it at the local depot where the driver can collect it at the end of the shift."</p> <p>So, instead of a six-pack perched on the bin, envision a quaint scene of a garbage collector picking up a thoughtful gift basket at the depot – the stuff of modern Aussie holiday magic.</p> <p>As we bid adieu to the "Beers for Garbos" era, let's raise a glass in fond remembrance. May your wheelie bins be forever adorned with the spirit of giving, even if the contents are now strictly non-alcoholic. Cheers to a new era of sober, yet equally heartfelt, expressions of gratitude for our unsung garbage heroes!</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Home & Garden

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"You are the problem": Landlord slammed over rent increase just before Christmas

<p>An Australian landlord has been slammed online for deciding to raise the rent on one of her struggling tenants before Christmas. </p> <p>The landlord from WA took to social media to try to defend her decision to slap her tenant, who is a single mother, with a $100 rental increase at the start of the festive season. </p> <p>The woman, who owns four rental properties, explained that the increase comes from the growing market value in the suburb the tenant lives. </p> <p>"I decided to increase the rent by $100 a week for my tenant, who is a single mum with two kids, on the basis a reasonable rental increase would have been an extra $140 a week," she began in the video shared to her X account.</p> <p>"I recognise that she probably couldn't afford that. So I came to the conclusion that $100 would be a very good deal considering the suburb and it would be one of the cheaper rentals on the market."</p> <p>The tenant said that she is unable to afford the steep increase, especially in the weeks before Christmas, and would have to decide between affording her rent and feeding her young children. </p> <p>"So now I'm in a position. Do I subsidise the tenant's rent and cop it out of my own pocket... or do I tell this tenant she can't afford this particular suburb and she should look for somewhere more reasonable," the landlord said.</p> <p>"It's a really tough decision and one that I am not taking on lightly and just further evidence that this housing crisis is really impacting people financially."</p> <p>In the end, she decided to increase the tenant's rent. </p> <p>"I increased the tenant's rent by $100 per week after I did further research. The rent is still $30-$40 per under market value. Now I'm learning you can't mix emotions with business," she said. </p> <p>The landlord has been rinsed online, with many people calling out her callous actions in the festive season, dubbing her as "greedy" and contributing to nation's housing problem. </p> <p>"Jesus, I cannot imagine increasing a rent by $100 a week- that would ruin anyone, let alone a single mum. What are you thinking of? Have some ethics," one person said.</p> <p>"You and the real estate industry are the problem! Hiking the rent based on your real estate greed. If you recognise the social issues why do you add to the problem?" another person added.</p> <p>A third person chimed, "Is this satire? Surely you aren't this much of an awful human being."</p> <p>"I fully understand it's your property - however to increase rent just before Christmas is a little heartless and $100 a week increase is tall during a cost of living crisis," a fourth person said.</p> <p>Others jumped to defend the landlord, claiming owning rental property is a business and not a charity. </p> <p>One person commented, "Take the emotion out of it! It's an investment property not a charity! As harsh as that sounds it's the cost of being successful. But, perhaps leave it until after Christmas though as a goodwill gesture."</p> <p><em>Image credits: X / Instagram </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Women forced to do shocking act for $100 rent reduction

<p>Two women in Queensland have claimed that they were forced to use a makeshift  "temporary shower" outdoors, while renovations are being carried out in the property's only bathroom. </p> <p>The pair, who were expecting a porta-loo style shower to use during the four-to-six weeks renovation, were horrified when they found out the makeshift shower was just a blue tarpaulin attached to the side of the house.</p> <p>Electrical cords and plumbing pipes can be spotted hanging down in front of the open cubicle, and has no curtain for privacy or a lock, raising questions for their privacy and safety. </p> <p>To make matters worse, the women revealed on Facebook that they initially tried negotiating for a rental discount of $200 per week during the renovations, but their landlord said "no way" offering only a $50 discount, "then $100 as final offer".</p> <p>Dr Chris Martin, Senior Research Fellow in the University of NSW's City Futures Research Centre, slammed the landlord for "a bunch of possible breaches". </p> <p>"There is a big question about whether the temporary arrangement meets the minimum standards that apply to rented premises in Queensland under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act," he told <em>Yahoo News</em>. </p> <p>"Those minimum standards include that the bathroom and toilet facilities must provide privacy and that a premise must be weatherproof and structurally sound, and there's a standard about security," he added. </p> <p>He also claimed that "there's a bunch of possible breaches of the minimum standards of this temporary arrangement," as intruders could also potentially get in. </p> <p>The Senior Research Fellow also slammed the $100-a-week reduction in rent, calling it "grossly insufficient".</p> <p>"What a professional landlord who takes a bit of pride in themselves as a reputable housing provider would have done, is hire one of those portable bathrooms that come on a little trailer with a little heater and hook it up, and also do a rent reduction for the hassle of having to trot out to the trailer to shower," he said.</p> <p>"That would be the appropriate response."</p> <p>He encouraged the tenants to speak to Tenants Queensland or a local tenants advice service about what to do, adding that they could say that the current temporary arrangements could be deemed "unlivable or uninhabitable". </p> <p>"I suggest they should also be telling the landlord that this arrangement may place the landlord in a further breach of the agreement and for the liability for an even bigger rent reduction and the prospect of compensation if they don't do this better,"  Dr Martin told the publication. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Money & Banking

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The debate: Should kids over 18 pay rent if they’re still living at home?

<p>Parents have shared their thoughts on letting their children live at home rent free, as the age old debate of paying board stirred up some strong opinions. </p> <p>A <a href="https://honey.nine.com.au/money/should-children-over-the-age-of-18-pay-board-if-they-still-live-at-home-reader-poll-exclusive/77876711-2950-4bf3-bb30-716442a6fd74" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>nine.com.au</em></a> reader survey asked the question: Should children over the age of 18 pay board if they still live at home?</p> <p>The responses were many and varied, as a whopping 72 percent of respondents said grown up kids should be contributing financially to the household. </p> <p>One person commented, "If children have employment, it's important that they clearly understand that life is not free and they need to budget, show accountability and responsibility."</p> <p>Another wrote, "If the children over 18 are working, then yes, they should contribute or give money to the parents to bank for them."</p> <p>Others said children shouldn't be expected to pay board, and would rather their kids save money for bigger financial commitments.</p> <p>"My parents did not charge me board even though I was working because they did not need the money and told me to save for my first car, which I did," one person shared. </p> <p>Another wrote their parenting tactic, writing, "I let my children not pay board. So they could save for a deposit on a house. They did and they all (3) have a house."</p> <p>Despite many people sharing their strong opinions on the matter, most respondents said it was not a black and white question, as many households have individual circumstances that affect their decision. </p> <p>"Depends on if they are working or not and what income the parents have. My son is 22 but unemployed due to health problem, we just pool our unemployment payment so it differs for each family situation, not a YES or No answer," one reader wrote. </p> <p>Another said it depends on their employment and study status, writing, "Yes if they're working almost full time, not if they're studying and just working part time to cover living expenses."</p> <p>The poll comes as Aussies have struggled with a rise in basic living costs, with <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/australian-household-spending-statistics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABS</a> data showing that Australian households spent a total of $1.2 trillion on what was classed as general living costs in 2022. </p> <p>This sum is close to $100 billion more than in 2021. </p> <p>The average household spent $130,353 in 2022, which is the equivalent of $2507 per week. This is a 20.4 per cent jump on the previous year.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Homeowners often feel better about life than renters, but not always – whether you are mortgaged matters

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hiroaki-suenaga-1477343">Hiroaki Suenaga</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ryan-brierty-1477346">Ryan Brierty</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>Homeownership has long been thought of as the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-23/why-australians-are-obsessed-with-owning-property/8830976">great Australian dream</a>. For individuals, it’s seen as the path to adulthood and prosperity. For the nation, it’s seen as a cornerstone of economic and social policy.</p> <p>Implicit in this is the assumption that owning a home rather than renting one makes people better off.</p> <p>It’s an assumption we are now able to examine using data from the government-funded <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/hilda">Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia</a> (HILDA) survey, which for two decades has asked questions both about homeownership and satisfaction with life.</p> <p>The <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/4694137/ContinuingPersonQuestionnaireW23M.pdf">overarching question</a> asks "all things considered, how satisfied are you with your life? Pick a number between 0 and 10 to indicate how satisfied you are".</p> <p>We also looked at people’s satisfaction with their financial situation, their home and the neighbourhood in which they live.</p> <p>In a study published in the journal <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00420980231190479">Urban Studies</a>, we linked those answers to home ownership and characteristics including age and income.</p> <p>As expected, we found homeowners were generally more satisfied with their lives than renters. But we also find the extent to which they were more satisfied depended on whether or not they were still paying off a mortgage.</p> <h2>Mortgaged homeowners about as satisfied as renters</h2> <p>Outright home owners were 1.5 times as likely to report high overall satisfaction as renters. But home owners still paying off a mortgage were only a little more likely to feel high overall satisfaction.</p> <p>Similarly, outright owners were 2.3 times as likely to report high financial satisfaction as renters – but mortgaged owners were only 1.1 times as likely.</p> <p>When it comes to satisfaction with their home and neighbourhood, the differences were less extreme.</p> <p>Outright home owners were 3.1 times as likely to report high satisfaction with their home as renters, while mortgaged owners were 2.8 times as likely.</p> <p>Outright owners were 1.6 times as likely to report high satisfaction with their neighbourhood as renters, and mortgaged owners 1.4 times as likely.</p> <p>The results also varied with age and income.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="hK9Ua" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/hK9Ua/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>As shown in the graph above, outright owners were more likely to report high financial satisfaction than renters across almost the entire age range.</p> <p>But mortgaged owners only showed a demonstrably greater financial satisfaction than renters between the ages of 25 and 50.</p> <p>Beyond age 50, the existence of a mortgage debt burden appeared to cancel out any boost to financial satisfaction from homeownership. This potentially reflects the growing financial stress of making mortgage payments as retirement approaches.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="f2GSl" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/f2GSl/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>By income, mortgaged owners reported experiencing more financial satisfaction compared to renters the more they earned between A$80,000 and A$240,000. Outright owners experienced more financial satisfaction than renters up to A$320,000.</p> <p>Beyond these income levels, owners did not have greater financial satisfaction than renters, perhaps because high-earning renters have other sources of financial satisfaction.</p> <h2>How satisfied people feel beyond 60</h2> <p>In other respects, outright owners and mortgaged homeowners showed similar patterns, becoming more satisfied with their homes relative to renters the more they age up – until the age of 60. That’s when their satisfaction relative to renters declined, as illustrated below.</p> <p>This decline might reflect the growing physical burden of maintaining an owned home as people age.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="oLrHz" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oLrHz/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Our study has important implications. One is that age matters.</p> <p>Although older people consistently express a desire to <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/analysis/brief/whats-needed-make-ageing-place-work-older-australians">age in place</a>, we found satisfaction among those who owned vs rented their home declined beyond age 60. This suggests better integration between housing and care is critical to support people ageing in place.</p> <p>Another implication is that as low-income owners are more reliant on their homes as a source of relative financial satisfaction than high earners, they are <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-social-policy/article/housing-equity-withdrawal-perceptions-of-obstacles-among-older-australian-home-owners-and-associated-service-providers/268F54A8EAA1E9ECA118E243505AA9FD">more exposed</a> in times of crisis. They may face the risk of being forced to sell suddenly with little time to consider the consequences.</p> <p>And another implication is as the relative financial satisfaction of mortgage holders disappears after the age of 50, and as more of us approach retirement with mortgages intact, more of us will either <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00420980211026578">postpone retirement</a> or become dissatisfied.</p> <p>Our findings suggest the extension of mortgage debt into later life should be discouraged if the benefits of the Australian dream are to be preserved.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215147/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482"><em>Rachel Ong ViforJ</em></a><em>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hiroaki-suenaga-1477343">Hiroaki Suenaga</a>, Senior Lecturer School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ryan-brierty-1477346">Ryan Brierty</a>, PhD candidate, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/homeowners-often-feel-better-about-life-than-renters-but-not-always-whether-you-are-mortgaged-matters-215147">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Princess Diana's childhood home up for rent

<p>The house Princess Diana spent her childhood and teenage years in is now available for the public to rent. </p> <p>Althorp House, located in West Northamptonshire in England, is owned by Diana's brother Earl Spencer, who has lived on the sprawling property as custodian of the estate since 1992. </p> <p>The expansive property has been listed for royal fans with deep pockets to rent on <a href="https://www.elysian-estates.co.uk/althorp/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Elysian Estates</a>, an upmarket equivalent of Airbnb.</p> <p>Althorp House, which is a 90 minute drive out of London, was built in 1508 and has been in the Spencer family for 19 generations.</p> <p>Lady Diana lived in the 90-room stately home for most of her childhood and teenage years, before she married the then-Prince Charles in 1981.</p> <p>Not just one grand property, the estate covers 13,000 acres of countryside as it encompasses cottages, farms, woodlands and villages, which are open to visitors but only at certain times of the year.</p> <p>Now, the home is once again available to rent via Elysian Estates.</p> <p>"Althorp offers unparalleled levels of service, privacy and luxury to rival the finest properties anywhere in the world; yet retains the truly welcoming and homely feel that makes Althorp so special," the listing says.</p> <p>"Walk in the footsteps of kings and queens, feast or celebrate in spectacular surroundings, marvel at the sense of history and artwork, and slumber in pure luxury."</p> <p>In the main house, there are six state bedrooms to choose from offering "a level of opulence befitting royalty, with these very rooms playing as much a part of English history as any royal palace".</p> <p>Prices for the rental are not yet publicly available as an enquiry must be sent to reserve the opulent property.</p> <p>The listing stated that the stay includes "butler service, a team of private chefs and housekeeping, with a dedicated concierge service".</p> <p>Althorp is today most famous for being the final resting place of Princess Diana following her death in Paris.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Instagram</em></p>

Real Estate

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The rental housing crisis is hurting our most vulnerable and demands a range of solutions (but capping rents isn’t one of them)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Roughly <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/housing/housing-occupancy-and-costs/2019-20">one in three Australians</a> rent their homes. It’s Australia’s fastest-growing tenure, but renting is increasingly unaffordable. From 2020 to 2022, our <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">research</a> found a large increase in the proportion of renters who said their housing was unaffordable.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="horizontal bar chart showing changes in Australian renters' assessments of affordability form 2020 to 2022" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Change in Australian renters’ assessments of affordability from 2020 to 2022.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Baker, Daniel, Beer, et al, forthcoming, The Australian Housing Conditions Dataset, doi:10.26193/SLCU9J, ADA Dataverse</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Australians are concerned about the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/05/rents-rise-again-across-australia-with-sydney-seeing-fastest-rise-in-20-years">pace</a> of <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/how-much-has-rent-increased-around-australia/8ljlnf0zm">rent rises</a>. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-meeting">says</a> increasing housing supply and affordability is the “key priority” for tomorrow’s national cabinet meeting.</p> <p>The crisis has impacts well beyond affordability. The rental sector is where the worst housing accommodates the poorest Australians with the worst health.</p> <h2>The unhealthy state of rental housing</h2> <p>Forthcoming data from the <a href="https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/ahcdi">Australian Housing Conditions Dataset</a> highlight some of these parallel challenges:</p> <ul> <li> <p>it’s often insecure – the average lease is less than 12 months, and less than a third of formal rental agreements extend beyond 12 months</p> </li> <li> <p>rental housing quality is often very poor – 45% of renters rate the condition of their dwelling as “average, poor, or very poor”</p> </li> <li> <p>poor housing conditions put the health of renters at risk – 43% report problems with damp or mould, and 35% have difficulty keeping their homes warm in winter or cool in summer</p> </li> <li> <p>compounding these health risks, people with poorer health are over-represented in the rental sector. Renters are almost twice as likely as mortgage holders to have poorer general health.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Measures that potentially restrict the supply of lower-cost rental housing – such as rent caps – will <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">worsen these impacts</a>. More households will be left searching in a shrinking pool of affordable housing.</p> <h2>It’s all about supply</h2> <p>Fixing the rental crisis needs more than a single focus on private rental housing. The movement between households over time between renting and buying homes means the best solutions are those that boost the supply of affordable housing generally. No one policy can provide all the answers.</p> <p>Governments should be looking at multiple actions, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>requiring local councils to adopt affordable housing strategies as well as mandating <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/analysis/brief/understanding-inclusionary-zoning">inclusionary zoning</a>, which requires developments to include a proportion of affordable homes</p> </li> <li> <p>improving land supply through better forecasting at the national, state and local levels</p> </li> <li> <p>giving housing and planning ministers the power to deliver affordable housing targets by providing support for demonstration projects, subsidised land to social housing providers and access to surplus land</p> </li> <li> <p>boosting the recruitment and retention of skilled construction workers from both domestic and international sources.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>The biggest landlord subsidy isn’t helping</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/taxation-statistics-2020-21/resource/ebbd32e3-4556-41e1-a8b9-33387457d518">1 million Australians</a> claim a net rent loss (negative gearing) each year. Even though negative gearing is focused on rental investment losses, it is not strictly a housing policy as it applies to many types of investment.</p> <p>The impact of negative gearing on the housing system is untargeted and largely uncontrolled. As a result, it’s driving outcomes that are sometimes at odds with the need to supply well-located affordable housing.</p> <p>The most impactful action the Australian government could take to deliver more affordable rental housing nationwide would involve refining negative-gearing arrangements to boost the supply of low-income rentals. These measures may involve</p> <ul> <li>limiting negative gearing to dwellings less than ten years old</li> <li>introducing a low-income tax credit scheme similar to the one in the United States.</li> </ul> <p>We can learn much from the US, where the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (<a href="https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/lihtc.html">LIHTC</a>) scheme subsidises the acquisition, construction and renovation of affordable rental housing for tenants on low to moderate incomes. Since the mid-1990s, the program has supported the construction or renovation of about 110,000 affordable rental units each year. That adds up to over <a href="https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-low-income-housing-tax-credit-and-how-does-it-work">2 million units</a> at an estimated annual cost of US$9billion (A$13.8billion).</p> <p>This scheme is much less expensive per unit of affordable housing delivered than Australia’s system of negative gearing.</p> <p>Closer to home, the previous National Rental Affordability Scheme showed the value of targeted financial incentives in encouraging affordable housing. This scheme, available to private and disproved investors, generated positive outcomes for tenants. The benefits included better health for low-income tenants who were able to moved into quality new housing.</p> <p>A <a href="https://cityfutures.ada.unsw.edu.au/documents/81/Next_moves_report.pdf">raft</a> of <a href="https://apo.org.au/node/260431">evaluations</a> have <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/267">demonstrated</a> the achievements of this scheme.</p> <h2>Crisis calls for lasting solutions</h2> <p>Short-term measures such as rent caps or eviction bans will not provide a solution in the near future or even the medium or long term. Instead, these are likely to worsen both the housing costs and health of low-income tenants.</p> <p>Reform focused on ongoing needs is called for. Solutions that can be implemented quickly include the tighter targeting of negative gearing and the introduction of a low-income housing tax credit.</p> <p>Talking about change, as the national cabinet is doing, will begin that process of transformation, but it must be backed up by a range of measures to boost the supply of affordable housing. This, in turn, will improve the housing market overall as affordable options become more widely available.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211275/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, Executive Dean, UniSA Business, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, Professor of Housing Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-rental-housing-crisis-is-hurting-our-most-vulnerable-and-demands-a-range-of-solutions-but-capping-rents-isnt-one-of-them-211275">original article</a>.</em></p>

Real Estate

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What are your rights as an Airbnb renter in Australia? A law expert answers 6 common questions

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-giancaspro-182268">Mark Giancaspro</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Airbnb has revolutionised the short-stay industry. Launched in 2008, it now eclipses the world’s biggest hotel chains. In Australia alone there are about <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-15/short-stay-rentals-airbnb-impact-on-australian-property-market/101019726">100,000 listed properties</a>.</p> <p>But in dealing with both a digital platform and a private owner (or “host”, in Airbnb-speak), your legal rights as a renter (or “guest”) can be unclear – at least without reading lengthy terms and conditions.</p> <p>This article answers six very common questions about using Airbnb in Australia. Please note that your legal rights may differ in other countries. Even if Airbnb’s terms and conditions are near identical – and they generally are – there may be differences in consumer laws.</p> <h2>What if an Airbnb property doesn’t match its description?</h2> <p>Airbnb’s <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/2908#6">terms and conditions</a> require the host to provide “complete and accurate information” about their property. Content, including photos, must be “up-to-date and accurate at all times”. Airbnb’s <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/2895/">Host Ground Rules</a> state that listings “should accurately describe the home and reflect the features and amenities that will be available”.</p> <p>If a property does not match its description or photos, <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/d/anz-prohost-resource-centre-support">report this to Airbnb</a>.</p> <p>False advertising will also likely breach the Australian Consumer Law, which prohibits (Section 18) commercial conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive. Report to the <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/about-us/contact-us/report-a-consumer-issue">Australian Competition and Consumer Commission</a> here.</p> <p>There are no specific provisions to claim a refund or a discount for misleading listings. Your only recourse would seem be to initiate the cancellation policy that applies to your booking.</p> <h2>So when can I get a refund?</h2> <p>If you cancel your booking or leave the property early, your refund rights are determined by your <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/149">cancellation policy</a> (see “show trip details”).</p> <p>There are various <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/475">policies</a> (from which a host selects when listing). Most allow full refunds if you cancel one to five days prior to check-in, while others require up to 30 days’ notice or only provide partial refunds.</p> <p>If the host cancels on you, they <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/990">may be penalised</a> by Airbnb.</p> <h2>Can an Airbnb host impose harsh and unreasonable ‘house rules’?</h2> <p>If an owner wants to make rules against visitors without their permission or how many times you can use the washing machine, they generally can.</p> <p>When you rent a property through Airbnb, you are entering into a private agreement with the owner. Under contract law, they can stipulate whatever terms they like, so long as those rules aren’t illegal.</p> <p>What Australian Consumer Law does prohibit are <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/business/selling-products-and-services/contracts#toc-unfair-terms-in-standard-form-contracts-">unfair terms</a> in standard form “consumer contracts” – which an Airbnb contract likely qualifies as. An unfair term is one that:</p> <ul> <li>causes a significant imbalance in your rights and obligations</li> <li>is not reasonably necessary to protect the host’s interests</li> <li>would cause you detriment (financial or otherwise) if it was enforced.</li> </ul> <p>The problem is that you will need to sue the host (that is, initiate civil litigation) to prove this.</p> <p>Your best option is to carefully review the rules before you confirm your reservation. Once you confirm, you are legally agreeing to all of the host’s terms whether you’ve read and understood them or not.</p> <p>If you disagree with a rule, ask the host to waive or amend it. If they won’t budge, your choice is to book or not.</p> <h2>What are the boundaries for an Airbnb host/owner?</h2> <p>Hosts are <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/3057">required</a> to ensure every property is secure and safe. Airbnb’s Community Policy states properties must be properly lockable and free of hazards, and hosts must be responsive and willing to answer guest queries within a reasonable time.</p> <p><a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/3060?_set_bev_on_new_domain=1691395791_NmY1ZDNmZjQxZjQy">According to Airbnb</a>, a host cannot physically intrude or interfere with your stay. They can only re-enter their property (or a guest’s room in a shared stay) if there is an emergency or with express permission.</p> <p>In a shared stay, the host must not enter the bathrooms or guest bedrooms when the guests are inside. The host is also forbidden from sharing private details, photos, or videos of you without consent.</p> <p>Where your safety is threatened, you should contact law enforcement and notify Airbnb. If you decide to leave, you may be entitled to a partial refund. Your rights depend on the cancellation policy applying to your booking (discussed further below).</p> <h2>If I am injured in or get sick because of an Airbnb property, can I claim compensation?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/2908#4.2">Clause 4.2</a> of Airbnb’s terms and conditions states that, by staying at a listed property, you acknowledge and “freely and willfully” accept the risk of “illness, bodily injury, disability, or death”.</p> <p>Further, clause 19 contains a broad disclaimer absolving Airbnb of any liability for “personal or bodily injury or emotional distress” incurred in using its services. Clause 20 also contains an indemnity preventing you from making any claim against Airbnb in relation to your stay.</p> <p>This gives Airbnb legal protection. But you may make a claim against the host.</p> <p>The first step would be to formally write to the host outlining your claim. Airbnb may also assist with any disputes. If this fails, you can sue the host but whether the cost and effort is worth it will depend on the extent of your injury or illness.</p> <p>If you do make any claim against the host, they will likely rely on Airbnb’s insurance. Every Airbnb host is insured up to US$1 million (about A$1.5 million) through Airbnb’s <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/3145">Host Liability Insurance Programme</a>. This covers any bodily injuries incurred by guests (or others) and damage to or theft of any property belonging to a guest (or others).</p> <p>There are some exceptions to what Airbnb’s insurance will cover, such as intentional violence, mould and communicable disease. If you want compensation for something the host is personally liable for, you are more likely to have to take legal action, using a lawyer. Consider the costs carefully.</p> <h2>What’s the maximum cleaning/damages fee an Airbnb host can charge?</h2> <p>Cleaning fees are <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/2812">set by the host</a>. Airbnb provides a <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/help/article/3171">pricing tool</a> to help them calculate a reasonable fee – generally <a href="https://www.igms.com/airbnb-cleaning-fee/">based on size and facilities</a> – but there is no maximum, presumably on the rationale that market forces (and reviews) will deter hosts from charging too much.</p> <p>Nor is there a maximum damages fee. You can formally <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/d/anz-prohost-resource-centre-support">dispute the amount</a> with Airbnb, which will determine if it is reasonable, relying on information provided by both parties.</p> <p>Charging exorbitant prices is not illegal though Australian Consumer Law does prohibit “<a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/business/selling-products-and-services/unfair-business-practices#toc-unconscionable-conduct">unconscionable conduct</a>”. But, again, you need to initiate legal proceedings and have a court agree you deserve compensation.</p> <h2>Where to go for help and advice</h2> <p>You can <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/d/anz-prohost-resource-centre-support">contact Airbnb</a> for any account, listing, or reservation-related questions. Online forums can also be useful for advice and support.</p> <p>You can report consumer complaints to the <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/about-us/contact-us/report-a-consumer-issue">Australian Competition and Consumer Commission</a> but the federal regulator does not resolve individual complaints or provide legal advice on your rights and obligations. For preliminary advice go to the following state and territory consumer advice agencies:</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="lhlWv" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/lhlWv/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><em>Please note this article does not constitute legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult a lawyer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211026/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-giancaspro-182268">Mark Giancaspro</a>, Senior Lecturer in Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-your-rights-as-an-airbnb-renter-in-australia-a-law-expert-answers-6-common-questions-211026">original article</a>.</em></p>

Legal

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Return and Earn is a great way to recycle

<p>When you recycle your eligible bottles and cans through Return and Earn, the material that is used to make the bottles and cans stay in use for as long as possible and are turned into new products, rather than ending up in landfill or polluting waterways.</p> <p>The scheme has already more than halved the number of drink containers littering our parks, waterways, or ending up in landfill compared to before the scheme was launched in December 2017.</p> <p><strong>What happens to containers returned through Return and Earn?</strong></p> <p>Have you ever wondered what happens to the containers once they are returned through the scheme?</p> <p>All containers returned through Return and Earn are recycled. The containers are picked up from the return points and trucked to a sorting facility where the containers are processed depending on the material type. Cans are crushed and baled into a giant cube, glass bottles are crushed into small particles called cullet; and plastic bottles are sorted by type and colour and shredded into smaller flakes before being turned into pellets.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68727" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/crushed-cans-770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>The giant cubes of Aluminium cans are melted, rolled into sheets, and sent to manufacturers to be turned into new cans or other products – some even go to make up aeroplane parts!</p> <p>Glass cullet is melted and mixed with raw materials before being blown into a new glass bottle and sent to drink companies.</p> <p>The plastic pellets are melted down, moulded and blown into new plastic bottles, ready to be bought be retailers.</p> <p>The new bottles and cans made from the recycled materials are filled by the beverage companies, labelled, capped, and ready to be consumed.</p> <p>By using the recycled material from Return and Earn, we save water, energy, and landfill, as well as reducing the carbon emissions that would be used if new raw materials were used instead. This conservation contributes to a more sustainable and efficient economy.</p> <p><strong>Keeping materials in Australia</strong></p> <p>The purity and quality of the material from Return and Earn plays a crucial role in establishing local recycling facilities so most of the key materials stay in Australia.  A key milestone was the opening of the Circular Plastics Australia plant in Albury, NSW, in March 2022. This state-of-the-art PET plastic recycling facility is a joint venture between waste industry and beverage industry partners and is the largest of its kind in Australia.</p> <p>The facility reprocesses 100% of the PET (one of the materials that make up plastic containers) collected through the Return and Earn network of over 600 return points and uses the materials to remake new bottles and other food-grade plastic packaging.</p> <p>All glass collected through the Return and Earn network is also being reprocessed in Australia and contributes to the growing demand of locally sourced glass to use in making new bottles and other products.</p> <p>Having facilities in Australia means that the cycle of making a new container from the recycled material is fast. Plastic bottles can be back on the shelf in as little as six weeks and glass bottles in four weeks. Now that’s recycling at its best.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68725" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/what-happens-when-you-return-and-earn-journey-image_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="846" /></p> <p><strong>Do you recycle?</strong></p> <p>It’s easier than ever to recycle your empty containers through Return and Earn. We have over 600 return points across Australia, and we continue to work with businesses and local councils to identify more sites.</p> <p>Every container counts – recycling is an important way to reduce the load on our natural resources and keep valuable waste on the path to being remade into new products and used again. These small acts can make a big impact.</p> <p>If you’re not interested in returning the containers, consider leaving them out for others in your neighbourhood that are collecting them, or donate them to a charity or community group who is fundraising through the scheme. If you are unable to give them away, place your empty drink containers in your yellow lid recycle bin.</p> <p>For more information about Return and Earn, and to find your nearest return point visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/">returnandearn.org.au</a></p> <p><strong>Case Study: </strong><strong>Sharing the dignity through recycling</strong></p> <p>Semi-retiree Wendy Pluckrose from the far north NSW coast has supported Share the Dignity for years, so when she discovered Return and Earn it seemed an obvious way to raise some extra funds as well as protect the environment.</p> <p>Share the Dignity is a women's charity in Australia, that works to make a real difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough.</p> <p>Wendy has installed bins at home and at local shops and restaurants to collect eligible drink containers.  Most days she collects between 100 – 500 containers, and in the last year has raised nearly $3,500 from around 35,000 containers recycled through Return and Earn.</p> <p>“Return and Earn is just free money!” Wendy said. “It’s a little bit of effort, but it makes a big difference.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68728" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/share-the-dignity-photo-article-770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="733" /></p> <p>With the containers collected so far, not only is the refund going towards buying women’s sanitary products to women experiencing hardships, but it has also contributed to protecting the environment.</p> <p>By recycling 35,000 containers to be remade into new containers rather than using virgin materials, the environmental savings calculated by the <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/impact-calculator/">Impact Calculator</a> include 206,000 litres of water; 46 gigajoules of energy that equates to six months of energy consumption for a household; and 2,100 kilograms of material entering landfill. The carbon emissions avoided equates to keeping two cars off the road for 18 months.</p> <p>To learn more about Return and Earn, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/">head to their website</a>.</p> <p><em>Images: Return and Earn.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys list multimillion-dollar home

<p dir="ltr">TV presenter power couple Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys have listed their Double Bay terrace for sale. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple placed their home on the market for $4.5 million, as they start the search for a bigger and better family home for them and their two sons. </p> <p dir="ltr">The four-bedroom terrace with two-and-a-half bathrooms in Epping Rd is scheduled to go under the hammer on August 22nd with a $4.5m price guide via Oliver Lavers of The Rubinstein Group.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stefanovic, a co-host of <em>First Edition</em> on Sky News Australia, and Jeffreys, co-host of <em>Today Extra</em> on Channel 9, had bought the home on a 186 sqm block for $2.7m in 2016.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their seven years at the home, the couple have made a range of improvements including adding off-street parking, and created an impressive outdoor entertainment area with inbuilt seating and barbecue in the rear courtyard.</p> <p dir="ltr">The impressive property boasts open plan living areas, polished timber floors, marble finishes in the kitchen, and underfloor heating in the bathrooms. </p> <p dir="ltr">Two master-sized bedrooms open to balconies, alongside a third on the upper floor, and a versatile fourth bedroom could serve as an office.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple met in 2014 when they were both colleagues at Channel Nine - she was working on <em>The Today Show</em> while he was a foreign correspondent for <em>Nine News</em>, and they bumped into each other in the station’s carpark. </p> <p dir="ltr">Two years later in 2016, Stefanovic popped the question in a French vineyard, and they were married the following year in Kangaroo Valley.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple have two sons - Oscar, who was born in early 2020 and Henry, who arrived a little more than a year later.</p> <p dir="ltr">With their sons growing up and needing more space, the family are looking for a bigger home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au / Instagram</em></p>

Real Estate

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Returning and Earning for your community

<p>Charities and community groups across NSW are cashing in empty drink containers to support their important work in the community, all with the added benefit of helping the environment. It’s an easy win-win to fundraise through Return and Earn, and it makes donating to a local charity or community group very easy.</p> <p>Return and Earn is the incredibly successful container deposit scheme in NSW, where 10 cents is refunded for every eligible drink container returned for recycling through the network of 600+ return points across the state.</p> <p>Since launching over five years ago, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a> has become an important and well used channel for charities and community groups fundraising to support a range of local and broader causes. Groups such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, animal rescue organisations, and fire and rescue services are just a few of the many different cohorts that have partnered with Return and Earn and relied on the generosity of NSW citizens to help them do vital work in their communities.</p> <p>“We’ve seen many groups really embrace the scheme, showing a humbling passion for giving back to the community – whether it’s to help fund an event for a local club, or to donate to a charity,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change.</p> <p>“Some of these groups have raised a lot of money from recycling drink containers through Return and Earn. Often local residents and businesses are handing over their containers or donating their refunds to support the cause, proving there is enormous goodwill in the community.”</p> <p>The Gerringong Lions Club recently celebrated one million containers collected, raising $100,000 that was donated to a variety of causes including medical research, local sporting facilities, as well as helping both Australian and oversees Lions Clubs provide relief during catastrophes.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67811" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Gerringong-Lions-Club-image-2-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>The Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year.</em></p> <p>The COVID shutdowns and restrictions put a halt to the activities that would normally bring funds to the club. Return and Earn was the only means for the club to generate an income to help the community during this time.</p> <p>As routine users of the scheme, the Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year, all the while making positive impacts to the environment.</p> <p>Bruce Ray is a past president and active member of the club, and says he gets a sense of satisfaction knowing they are helping the community while also looking out for the environment.</p> <p>“We have the bins at the hotel, the bowling club, and campgrounds. The club also provides the container collection bins for events such as weddings and uses them at local New Years’ Eve events,” said Mr Ray.</p> <p>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club is also using Return and Earn to support the work in their community. They partnered with the local Girl Guides who help the club sort through any drink containers collected. They’ve now raised more than $25,000 since they began in early 2020.</p> <p>Club Secretary Gordon Hill said that one of the benefits for the Girl Guides is the real-world experience in seeing how much locally created waste can be recycled.</p> <p>“It also provides a healthy opportunity for a challenge to see which girls can pack the most containers during a 1.5 to 2 hour session. The record currently stands at 3,080, but the challenge continues,” Gordon added.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67813" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Cobar-Rotary-Club-image-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club has partnered with the Girl Guides to help with sorting!</em></p> <p>Since Return and Earn launched in December 2017, over $42 million has been raised through donations and return point hosting fees. The funds have made a significant difference to individuals and groups who have received the support.</p> <p>“There are a lot more collection drives in the community that we don’t track, so the total fundraising amount is in fact even higher,” Ms Smalley said.</p> <p>“We encourage all our Return and Earn users to consider donating containers to a local charity or community group either at the nearest Return and Earn machine or using the Return and Earn app.</p> <p>“And if you’re a member of a group looking for an easy and effective way to fundraise, consider Return and Earn where you can double the benefit by raising funds while also helping the environment.”</p> <p>Every Return and Earn machine features a local donation partner, to whom users can donate part or all of their refunds to. The charity listed changes every six months to give as many groups as possible the opportunity.</p> <p>Charities and groups can also elect to be listed on the Return and Earn app, allowing anyone using the app at a machine or automated depot to donate direct to their favourite charity. There are currently over 170 charities featured on the app.</p> <p>When using a Return and Earn machine, select donate, then select which of the charities listed you want the funds to go. If you’re using the Return and Earn app, simply select donation as your payout option and then select the charity or group you would like to donate your refund to.</p> <p>“Contributions don’t need to be big to make a difference. It can be as easy as collecting a few eligible drink containers and donating them to a charity, helping local communities thrive while looking after the environment.” said Ms Smalley.</p> <p>For more information on donating through Return and Earn visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/donate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">returnandearn.org.au/donate/</a></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Grandparents to the rescue in the face of soaring rents

<p>As the cost of living in Australia continues to rise, taking rental and property prices up with it, younger generations are facing a whole new host of challenges when it comes to putting a roof over their heads. </p> <p>But for one woman from New South Wales’ Blue Mountains region, the answer lay closer than she ever could have anticipated. </p> <p>As 24-year-old Isis Pattison told ABC’s <em>Hack</em>, she had been looking for an affordable rental in her local area for months when she lost track of how many applications she’d submitted, and the entire ordeal had become “ridiculous” - until she’d taken her grandmother, Debbie, along with her. </p> <p>Debbie explained that her granddaughter had been looking at a yurt that “was round and connected by a little pathway. And they wanted $370 a week for it”, and that she had been shocked by the cost. </p> <p>Her solution? Offering Isis a place in her own home, so that she could “save that $370”.</p> <p>And Isis’ financial boost wasn’t the only benefit to come of the whole arrangement, with Debbie noting that she’d “been on my own now for nearly eight years. It’s been very lonely and expensive on my own.” </p> <p>She’d been hit hard by the cost of living crisis too, she revealed, admitting that she had been struggling to make ends meet between bills and essential home items, including everything from food to electricity and heating. At the worst of it all, the grandmother had even feared she may have to sell the home she’d been making for herself since 1981.</p> <p>But things had picked up for Debbie with the arrival of her new roommate, as while Isis wasn’t paying rent at her grandmother’s, she was helping out with the bills, paying half. </p> <p>“It's a big help,” Debbie said. “I'm grateful and happy that she's here. I think my standard of living is a little bit better. I've got the heating on now.”</p> <p>For Isis, who intended to return to university and undertake a nursing degree, her grandmother’s generosity meant more than just extra dollars in her savings account, too.  </p> <p>“I think it really works for us as well, because we’ve always just had a good connection,” she shared. “We understand each other, which makes it a lot easier.”</p> <p>And they aren’t the only ones who’ve turned to multigenerational living to combat the crisis, with the University of New South Wales’ Edgar Liu revealing that “one in every five people” have returned home since the COVID pandemic swept the country. </p> <p>Unsurprisingly, the most common reasons behind the moves were the cost of living and related finance woes. As Liu explained, “that encompasses a whole range of things from sharing bills, or finding better value and sharing costs."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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House with "free" rent listed with major catch

<p>A dilapidated house has been leased for free, offering prospective tenants 12 months of free housing. </p> <p>However, the three bedroom house in south-west Sydney must undergo a full renovation before anyone can move in. </p> <p>Originally posted on Domain, the house has been deemed "currently uninhabitable", with the listing quickly going viral before being taken down. </p> <p>The listing read, “3 bedroom family home perfect for the growing family, nestled in a quiet yet convenient location being close to all the wonderful amenities such as transport, parks, schools, shops in need of a renovation.”</p> <p>Hidden deep within the listing was the information that the house is not currently fit for anyone to live in, with the tenants being expected to front the cost of the entire renovation. </p> <p>“Property is currently uninhabitable - work is required before moving in. The landlord does not have the funds to renovate the property,” the listing said.</p> <p>The listing agent described it as an opportunity for a “savvy minded person or persons with trade knowledge and experience”.</p> <p>The successful tenant will be required to pay for the “full renovation at their own expense”, and in return will receive a three-year lease at the property with the first year coming with no charge. </p> <p>However, they will then need to pay for the second and third years of their lease, with the rent "negotiable" at $650 a week. </p> <p>The listing quickly went viral, with commenters calling out the landlord's "audacity" to ask such a task of a renter that only receives one year of free housing for all their hard work. </p> <p>“Next they will tell you to build a house which you can then rent back,” one person said.</p> <p>“Wow. Just when you thought the audacity was at its most audacious,” another person commented.</p> <p>On Reddit, commentators also pointed out the new tenant would need to spend thousands on the renovation, making the one year of free rent basically worthless. </p> <p>"What a steal. Instead of paying $33,800 a year (the $650 they want after the first year) you get to spend 100-200k+," someone said.</p> <p>"If the landlord is tight on money and doesn't have the funds to renovate, they should just sell the place," another commented.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Domain</em></p>

Real Estate

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What made rents soar? It might have been COVID, and pairing off

<p>So, you think you know why rents climbed.</p> <p>You probably think was skyrocketing interest rates and a tsunami of migration.</p> <p>It’s true that interest rates have jumped more over the past year than at any time on record, and it’s true that migration has roared back – in the six months to September 2022 (the latest month for which we’ve official figures) arrivals exceeded departures by <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/national-state-and-territory-population/sep-2022">170,000</a>.</p> <p>But here’s the thing. Advertised rents began climbing sharply in <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/insights/where-rents-prices-are-really-skyrocketing-in-some-cases-by-600-a-week-more/">late 2021</a> – six months before the Reserve Bank began pushing up interest rates, and at a time <a href="https://theconversation.com/top-economists-expect-rba-to-hold-rates-low-in-2022-as-real-wages-fall-175054">when it was forecast not to</a>.</p> <p>And “net migration” was <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/national-state-and-territory-population/sep-2021">negative</a> back when rents were taking off – meaning the number of arrivals didn’t even match the number of departures.</p> <h2>It’s supply and demand</h2> <p>Something else made rents move.</p> <p>As it happens, there’s no particular reason to think interest rates would have quickly affected rents even if they had been climbing. If higher rates force some landlords to sell, and they sell to other landlords, the number of properties for rent won’t change. If those landlords sell to owner occupiers who would otherwise rent, they cut both the number of rental properties and the number of renters.</p> <p>What matters for rents, as for any price, is the demand for and the supply of the product being priced. More demand (more renters wanting properties) and the price climbs. More supply (more properties available for rent) and the price falls.</p> <p>On the face of it, neither demand nor supply was changing much during COVID as rents started climbing. Australia’s population was growing more slowly than at any time <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2023/sp-gov-2023-04-05.html">in modern history</a>. And, as best as we can tell, the number of properties available for rent was climbing, <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/industry/building-and-construction/building-activity-australia/latest-release">albeit weakly</a>.</p> <p>What did change during COVID, according to the research department of the Reserve Bank, was the <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/mar/renters-rent-inflation-and-renter-stress.html">average number of people per household</a>.</p> <p>The change doesn’t sound big – the average fell from a bit above 2.6 residents per household to a bit below 2.55 – but applied to millions of households it meant about <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2022/sp-ag-2022-05-25.html">140,000</a> more houses and apartments were needed than would have been.</p> <h2>Average household size (capital cities)</h2> <p>The sudden change was awfully for hard for the building industry to respond to, especially when it was laid low by COVID.</p> <p>Why did we suddenly want to live with fewer people?</p> <p>The head of the Bank’s economic division, Luci Ellis, thinks it was COVID itself, and lockdowns. We suddenly became more precious about sharing space.</p> <h2>‘Love the one you’re with’</h2> <p>Ellis says proportion of Australians living in group houses declined and stayed low. Faced with the choice of living with a large number of housemates and just one other person, perhaps a romantic partner, a lot of renters left group houses and <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2022/sp-ag-2022-05-25.html">shacked up with each other</a>.</p> <p>As she put it last year, "On the question of who you would rather be locked down with, at least some Australians have voted with their removalists’ van, by moving out of their share house and in with their partner."</p> <p>There’s more to it of course, but where the supply and demand for anything are roughly in balance (rents had been increasing by <a href="https://theconversation.com/rent-crisis-average-rents-are-increasing-less-than-you-might-think-189154">less than 1% per year</a> in the four years before COVID, and fell in the first year of COVID) any sudden change in either supply or demand can move prices quickly.</p> <h2>Advertised rents aren’t typical …</h2> <p>Having said that, for most renters prices are still moving slowly. Advertised capital city rents are up <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/insights/where-rents-prices-are-really-skyrocketing-in-some-cases-by-600-a-week-more/">13%</a> over the past year, and advertised regional rates up 9%. But average rents (the average of what all renters pay) are up only 4.8%. </p> <p>The rents charged to ongoing tenants climb <a href="https://theconversation.com/rent-crisis-average-rents-are-increasing-less-than-you-might-think-189154">much more slowly</a>than the rents charged to new tenants, in part because landlords often like their tenants, and in part because for the first year renters are usually on fixed contracts.</p> <p>But over time as renters move home, and landlords become less squeamish, more and more renters tend to pay the rents advertised. It makes the increase in advertised rents an unwelcome sign of what’s to come.</p> <h2>… but they’re a sign of rents ahead</h2> <p>And it might get worse. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe says population growth is set to climb to <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2023/sp-gov-2023-04-05.html">2%</a> – near the peak reached during the resources boom.</p> <p>We won’t be able to build houses anything like that fast. Lowe says the last time Australia’s population surged it took about <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2023/sp-gov-2023-04-05.html">five years</a> for housing supply to fully respond to housing demand.</p> <p>We’ve ways of dealing with it of course. One is to re-embrace group homes, another is to delay moving out of our partents’ homes, or to move back in.</p> <p>But even if this does happen, Lowe says, with typical understatement, that rent inflation – ultra-low before COVID – is likely to stay “quite high” for some time.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-made-rents-soar-it-might-have-been-covid-and-pairing-off-203542" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Real Estate

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"It’s just about their greed”: Pauline Hanson slams Pay The Rent initiative

<p dir="ltr">Pauline Hanson has blasted a new proposal that would see Australian homeowners pay “rent” on the land they own to First Nations Australians, calling the idea “outrageous”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The initiative, called Pay The Rent, proposes a weekly payment from non-Indigenous homeowners to a “Sovereign Body of First Nations people” who will decide where the money is allocated without the input of the government.</p> <p dir="ltr">The body, which is driven by the motto “saying sorry isn’t enough”, aims to turn the scheme into an organisation that encourages all Australians to “honour the legacy of the Elders” by doing their part for the land through financial donations.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is a somewhat more just way of living on this stolen land,” its website states.</p> <p dir="ltr">While there have been no official calls to make the scheme government policy, ex-Greens senator Lidia Thorpe and feminist author Clementine Ford have backed the initiative.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite some support for the scheme, Pauline Hanson has been vocal in her disapproval, going as far as pushing others to sign a petition to “Stop the Rent Tax”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her party has also released a statement branding the scheme as “deeply flawed and unjust” and a “distraction” from the real issues faced by the Indigenous community. </p> <p dir="ltr">Now, in her latest address to the senate, Hanson doubled down on her criticism of the plan, claiming it was “offensive” towards white Australians.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The idea that non-indigenous Australians should pay rent to indigenous Australians is offensive and outrageous. Australia belongs to all Australians regardless of race. Let's reject this discrimination and focus on real problems affecting all Aussies! <a href="https://t.co/67oTXL5G8f">pic.twitter.com/67oTXL5G8f</a></p> <p>— Pauline Hanson 🇦🇺 (@PaulineHansonOz) <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulineHansonOz/status/1638050131122733056?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 21, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“The idea Australians should pay rent for living in their own country is offensive, it’s based on the idea that only Aborigines (sic) own Australia. They don’t,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was born here and no self-identifying Indigenous Australian including those with minute amounts of Indigenous heritage has more right or connection to this land than I do.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Senator Hanson continued by claiming all Australians had contributed to the nation’s achievements, failures and values, suggesting the scheme would be “discriminatory” towards the non-Indigenous community.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The only good thing about the race-based rent idea is that the activists who want it reveal their true motivation,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s not about justice or redress, it’s about money. Other people’s money. It’s just about their greed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She continued her speech by slamming the Voice to Parliament, insisting it would be a gateway to giving the body a reason to introduce similar plans to the Pay The Rent initiative. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s only a matter of time before non-Aboriginal Australians are forced to pay yet more tax, a race-based rent tax,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As usual the Aboriginal industry will keep all the money and truly disadvantage Aborigines (sic) and remote communities will continue to suffer poverty, unemployment and crime.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While some agreed with Hanson’s opinions, those in favour of the initiative argued it was the least that could be done to support the Indigenous community.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It‘s their land – they never ceded ownership. After they suffered a century of genocide – rent is the least we should give them,” one comment read.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

News

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Landlord rents out balcony for $300 a week

<p dir="ltr">As the housing crisis in Australia continues, one landlord has decided to capitalise on the desperation of renters by leasing a balcony for $300 a week in a bizarre listing. </p> <p dir="ltr">The landlord shared the “room” on Facebook, sharing photos of the enclosed balcony with city views, obscured by tarps and heavy curtains, along with a peculiar list of questions for prospective tenants. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Man Private Room Sydney Cbd. 1 boy only. $300/week,” the ad read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Quick response 04******** Please kindly send me your information.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The ad then prompts tenants to list what items they will be bringing into the apartment, before the landlord asks applicants to provide their nationality.</p> <p dir="ltr">The balcony room is in Haymarket’s Miramar building in the Sydney CBD, although any views of the city skyline have been obstructed with silver tarpaulin, while the glass sliding doors leading to the actual apartment were concealed by blue curtains.</p> <p dir="ltr">A blue single mattress has been squeezed into one corner of the balcony room, opposite a small desk and TV, with both walls adorned with tropical-themed art.</p> <p dir="ltr">When the landlord was contacted on the phone by news.com.au, they answered several questions before refusing to speak further with a female journalist. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said he had received “a lot of interest” and several calls about the property, though wouldn’t specify how many people had been in touch.</p> <p dir="ltr">A three-bed, two-bath unit in the building sold for $1.15 million in September last year, while the estimated rental income for a two-bed, one-bath unit is $810 per week. </p> <p dir="ltr">Even a parking space in the Miramar can be rented out for $650 a month.</p> <p dir="ltr">The listing comes amid unprecedented pressure on the Sydney rental market, with record-low vacancy rates pushing prices sky-high. </p> <p dir="ltr">The median rent for a house in Sydney reached a record high of $650 per week at the start of the year, while the median rent for a unit was also at a high of $550. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tenants have little choice but to pay up, with the national vacancy rate at just 0.9 per cent.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Real Estate

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The most feel-good way to recycle

<p>Long-time Return and Earner "Scooter Dave" has been a keen participant in the NSW container deposit scheme <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">since the program started, and the Illawarra local has returned 500,000 containers in that time.</span></p> <p>Dave gets about on a scooter and any day when weather and health permits, he completes his route to collect rubbish from Windang Bridge in Shellharbour. Along the way he picks up eligible drink containers from residents and businesses who keep them in their yards ready for his scooter collection service. </p> <p>He has donated all of the $50,000 in refunds to many charities, including the Smith Family, the Sydney Children’s Hospital, and children’s ward in Wollongong, bushfire appeals and the Illawarra Convoy. </p> <p>“It gives me something to do, and I know that I am doing something to help people," says Scooter Dave. "People always say that there should be more people like me. There are, but they aren’t cleaning up rubbish like I am.” </p> <p>In a world that’s becoming more eco-conscious, we’re seeing more and more initiatives implemented to reduce the impact we’re having on the planet – from the single-use plastic bans to adopting reusable packaging and recycling. </p> <p>Recycling remains one of the best ways to help protect the environment. The benefits of recycling include reducing the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill or as litter in our local environment, and reducing the need to extract raw materials from the earth to create new products such as mining raw aluminium to create cans. And with <a style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;" href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">there are even more direct benefits for you.</span></p> <p>Return and Earn is one of many drink container return schemes that have been adopted around the world, where customers who return their used eligible drink containers for recycling can collect a refund.</p> <p>“With Return and Earn, you earn a 10c refund for every empty can, glass or plastic bottle, carton, juice box or popper that you return through one of its 600 return points across NSW.</p> <p>“Since the scheme launched five years ago, over 8.6 billion containers have been returned for recycling by the NSW public resulting in over $860 million in container refunds back in people’s pockets,” says Danielle Smalley, CEO of Exchange for Change, scheme coordinator for Return and Earn.</p> <p>The scheme is entirely funded by the beverage industry, aiming to place responsibility for container recycling firmly back with the industry. </p> <p>The scheme targets commonly littered items and includes most 150ml to three litre plastic, glass, aluminium, steel, and liquid paperboard containers. Eligible containers featuring the 10 cent refund mark can be redeemed for the refund.</p> <p>“Return and Earn is an extraordinary example of how individual action can have a collective impact,” says Smalley.</p> <p>The environmental benefits of the scheme have exceeded expectations – reducing the volume of drink container litter by 52 per cent compared to pre-scheme levels and sending over 755,000 tonnes of material to be recycled.</p> <p>Plus the Return and Earn app makes recycling your containers even easier because you can check the map to see where the nearest return points are to your location and make sure they’re open. Another fantastic feature on the app is the container checker which helps you avoid taking containers that are not eligible. Simply scan the barcode on your container and the app tells you if it can be returned for recycling at a return points. If not, they can go straight into your household recycling bin.</p> <p><strong>Choose your recycling experience</strong></p> <p>To return your containers, you can choose from four types of return points, depending on what suits you and what is nearby.</p> <p>There are Return and Earn machines - a self-service option where you return your containers one-at-a time. You’ll receive a receipt which is redeemable for cash at the partner redemption location or payment straight to your bank account by downloading the Return and Earn app. There are also Return and Earn Centres which are larger format indoor locations featuring multiple machines inside.</p> <p> <img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/01/Tomra1.png" alt="Return and Earn" width="741" height="423" /></p> <p>For larger numbers, heading to your nearest automated depot is your best option. Here staff will take your bags of eligible containers and process them in their automated counting system called a singulator. Once counted, they’ll provide you with your cash refund. </p> <p>Even local businesses are taking part, with some corner stores, newsagents, fruit shops and some Surf Life Saving Clubs able to take your containers and give you your refund.</p> <p>To find your nearest return point, visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/return-points/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.returnandearn.org.au</a>. </p> <p><strong>Top tips for returning and earning</strong></p> <p>When you’re ready to return your first collection of containers, here are some tips to make your experience even easier:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Download the Return and Earn app:</strong> use the app store available on your mobile phone. </li> <li><strong>Sort your containers before you go:</strong> if you’re using a Return and Earn machine, sort your glass containers from your plastic bottles and cans as these are return using separate chutes on the machine. If you’re using an automated depot or an over-the-counter return point, there’s no need to sort. </li> <li><strong>Check if your containers are eligible:</strong> Use the Return and Earn app to check if your containers are eligible for a refund. And make sure they’re uncrushed, with the barcode visible and keep the lid on.</li> <li><strong>Plan your trip:</strong> make sure to check opening times of your nearest return point via the Return and Earn app or website. You can even optimise your trip by checking the busiest and quietest times to visit.</li> </ul> <p>With these tips under your belt, you can make the most of your Return and Earn experience and reap the benefits for your wallet and for the environment.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OYDROMQIDbU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn.</a></p> <p><em>All images: supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a>. </em></p>

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