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Couple's retirement plans "ruined" after investment fail

<p>A couple from Brisbane claim their retirement has been "ruined" after an investment went wrong. </p> <p>After first visiting Coffs Harbour in 1976, Raymond and Wendy Dibb saw potential in the area, land-banking 2.7 hectares of rural acreage in the late 1980s. </p> <p>The couple bought the land in Korora for $118,000 in 1988 and sat on it for decades, waiting for the day they could make their retirement fortune by subdividing and selling it off.</p> <p>However they never got the chance, as the land was compulsorily acquired by Transport for NSW back in 2021 in order to make way for the Pacific Highway bypass.</p> <p>The $2.2 billion highway is now currently being built over the top of the block, which will be the site of a major intersection when the project opens to traffic in late 2026.</p> <p>The couple believed the land was worth a hefty $5.5 million, although Transport NSW valued it at just $1.062 million back in 2021.</p> <p>A gruelling three-year legal battle finally ended in the NSW Court of Appeal on June 28th, with the Dibbs being awarded $1.359 million in compensation, although they argued they deserved more. </p> <p>“This was a pretty significant financial transaction that’s really gone bad for us,” Raymond Dibb told the<em> </em><a title="www.smh.com.au" href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/couple-loses-property-fight-after-highway-swallows-5-5-million-dream-20240703-p5jqrx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </a>“And it’s got nothing to do with our investment choices."</p> <p>“We’re talking about landowners just minding their own business, and someone comes knocking on your door, saying, ‘We’re going to take your land’”.</p> <p>Mr Dibb slammed the entire process of the acquisition, saying that he believed an independent body should conduct compulsory acquisitions rather than the government.</p> <p>In the Land and Environment Court, Justice Nicola Pain ended up increasing the couple’s compensation to $1.42 million after it was determined the land could have produced seven residential lots with less risk and cost.</p> <p>She found they were also entitled to money to cover fees and stamp duty on a replacement block for their land bank, which the couple argued they would need to buy to delay paying capital gains tax.</p> <p>Transport for NSW argued that they should not have been granted any money for stamp duty, with Justices Kristina Stern, Anthony Payne and Jeremy Kirk agreeing.</p> <p>This was stripped from the award and they refused to revalue the block of land. The couple were also ordered to pay the government’s costs of the two-day appeal.</p> <p>Mr Dibb is considering seeking leave to appeal against the High Court’s decision. He added that the couple’s retirement plans had been ruined by Transport for NSW, which originally offered just $470,000 for the land back in 2019.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said the government body “empathises with residents and landowners affected by property acquisitions” and said they always “try to minimise the need for property acquisition”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Airbnb launches real-life "Up" house - and it actually floats!

<p>Airbnb is taking its latest listing to the sky - literally. </p> <p>The accommodation provider has announced a partnership that will see the iconic house from Pixar's hit film <em>Up</em> being lifted into the air, balloons and all. </p> <p>In their ongoing quest to redefine hospitality, Airbnb has launched a permanent category called “Icons,” which features partnerships with brands and celebrities that promise unforgettable experiences.</p> <p>Suspended over the New Mexico desert with the aid of a crane, the property looks like an exact replica of the home and contains adorable easter eggs from the film - including the Adventure Book. </p> <p>“Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination — until now,”  Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement.</p> <p>“As life becomes increasingly digital, we’re focused on bringing more magic into the real world … we’ve created the most extraordinary experiences on Earth." </p> <p>The house offers a stunning view of the desert, which you can enjoy while sitting on replica's of Ellie and Carl's chairs or have breakfast with a view in the kitchen. </p> <p>Alternatively, you could look at the stars while sitting on the front porch - but don't look down because the adventure is out there. </p> <p>Of course there are questions about the logistics of the stay, including plumbing and electricity, but the accommodation giant has assured that the house is “fully functional,” connected to generators and utilities that will be seamlessly managed before and after its flight.</p> <p>Other fantastical listings include a replica of the mansion from the “X-Men ’97” cartoon, a stay at the Ferrari Museum in Italy, and Prince's house that was featured in the legendary film <em>Purple Rain</em>. </p> <p>Check out the <a href="https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/1126185893236246260?_set_bev_on_new_domain=1715826165_M2NkZDdkODdhMjcy&amp;source_impression_id=p3_1715826166_A20M4770EGAtl8AV&amp;modal=PHOTO_TOUR_SCROLLABLE" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Up</em></a> listing here, be warned the sweet listing may make you shed a tear or two. </p> <p><em>Images: Airbnb</em></p> <p> </p>

Real Estate

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“Greedy” landlord slammed for illegal act

<p>A Victorian landlord has been slammed on social media after admitting to making her tenants pay an illegal pet bond amounting to $1000. </p> <p>The woman made the admission while replying to a post on a Facebook group for Victorian landlords after a member asked for advice about renting to tenants who have pets. </p> <p>"Not knowing everything but in my experience I would rather have pets than kids!" the landlord began. </p> <p>"I would ask for a pet bond. I have one it's $1000 for damages by the pet," she said</p> <p>Pet bonds are illegal in Victoria, and landlords who try to secure it illegally often describe it as a way to cover costs if their pet causes any damages to the property.</p> <p>When the poster replied saying that her tenant offered to provide a pet bond, but she knows they're not legal in Victoria, the landlord confessed that: "I know they are not legal but I always ask for them and my PM (property manager) has been great about them.”</p> <p>“I have lots of pets personally and don’t turn down animals. Again, kids have done more damage than animals in my experience,” she added.</p> <p>“Most renters are happy to do it as it means they can have animals.”</p> <p>In Victoria renters who want a pet on the property must ask the rental provider, and if they refuse the request, the landlord must provide a valid excuse, with assistance dogs being the exception. </p> <p>If a pet causes damages to a property, the cost of these damages can be taken out of the regular bond paid at the start of their tenancy, so a pet bond is not required. </p> <p>Western Australia is the only state where landlords can legally ask for a pet bond, but even then they can only charge a maximum of $260 regardless of how many pets there are. </p> <p>A screenshot of the landlords shocking admission was shared on X by by popular renter’s advocate, Jordie van den Berg with the caption: “Landlord: ‘yeah I know it’s not legal, but I do it anyway’." </p> <p>Outraged renters slammed the landlord's “greedy” and “vile” behaviour, with one calling it “emotional blackmail”. </p> <p>“‘Most renters are happy to pay’ – I’m sure none of them are happy but they need somewhere to live without having to give up their pet," one wrote. </p> <p>“I personally would not describe myself as ‘happy’ to be exploited over an illegal bond that I can’t dispute when you go ahead and invent some bulls**t to keep it because the alternative is that it’s almost impossible to get a rental with pets,” another added. </p> <p>“The most concerning thing is the manager, how many illegal bonds have they taken and where is the money being held? In the agents account, with the owner? It wouldn’t be with fair trading where legal bonds are lodged,” a third wrote. </p> <p>This comes after a recent Rental Affordability report shared by Anglicare Australia revealed that “the housing crisis is the worst it’s ever been." </p> <p>According to the report only 0.6 per cent out of 45,000 listings across the country were considered affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage. </p> <p><em>Image: Jordie Berg/ X/ Shutterstock</em></p>

Legal

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Sydney Airport launches massive auction of lost property

<p>Have you ever lost something at the airport? </p> <p>You're not alone.</p> <p>This year there were more than 2,500 unclaimed items left at the airport including electronics, jewellery and designer handbags, and now they are up for grabs for a fraction of their retail price. </p> <p>The airport has launched their annual online auction, with all the money raised going to the Harding Miller Education Foundation, which grants four-year scholarships to high-school girls with high academic potential who are experiencing disadvantage. </p> <p>Over the past decade, the auctions have raised $1.6 million for various charities. </p> <p>“It’s clear the public love nabbing a bargain in support of a worthy cause," Sydney Airport general manager of corporate affairs Josh Clements said. </p> <p>“There’s something for everyone with plenty of great tech, clothing, accessories and beauty products as well as a host of unique items like a massage table, an electric scooter, a leaf blower and a quintessential Aussie favourite, a jaffle maker (sandwich press),” he added. </p> <p>“It’s great to see these unclaimed items find new homes, while also supporting a charity that’s offering comprehensive scholarships to help level the playing field for high school girls facing disadvantage.”</p> <p>“Opening bids start at just $10, which means shoppers have a chance to grab a great deal while also supporting an impactful charity,” Theodore Bruce Auctioneers director, Casi Prischl, said.</p> <p>The auction runs until Sunday May 12, with the <a href="https://www.theodorebruceauctions.com.au/sydney-airport-lost-property-auction-2024a" target="_blank" rel="noopener">complete list of auctions currently open for bids below</a>: </p> <ul> <li>Tech & Gaming - Saturday 4 May to Saturday 11 May, closing at 10am</li> <li>Sunglasses, Bags, Scarves & Accessories - Saturday 4 May to Saturday 11 May, closing at 2pm</li> <li>Jewellery & Watches - Saturday 4 May to Sunday 12 May, closing at 10am</li> <li>Clothing - Saturday to May to Sunday 12 May, closing at 2pm</li> <li>Beauty, Alcohol, Home - Saturday 4 May to Sunday 12 May, closing at 4pm</li> </ul> <p>Goods can be delivered at a price, or picked up by appointment. </p> <p><em>Images: Theodore Bruce Auctions</em></p>

Money & Banking

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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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When is it a good idea to get a property appraisal?

<p>In the fast-paced world of real estate, finding a space that truly reflects your essence and aspirations can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Enter <a href="https://go.linkby.com/PXROBQFZ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Atlas by LJ Hooker</a>.</p> <p>At the heart of Atlas lies a profound understanding that a home is not merely a structure; it's a canvas upon which individuals paint their dreams and express their identities. This ethos is beautifully encapsulated in their brand message: "We understand that a home is so much more than real estate; it's a place to truly express yourself, to live the life you envision."</p> <p>What sets Atlas apart is its unwavering commitment to personalised service – especially when it comes to <a href="https://go.linkby.com/PXROBQFZ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">free property appraisals</a>. Unlike traditional real estate agencies, Atlas doesn't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they empower sellers to curate their own narrative, choosing elements of the brand that resonate with their unique lifestyle. Whether it's a sleek urban penthouse or a sprawling countryside estate, Atlas offers highly tailored marketing strategies that serve as a personal reflection of the property and its inherent allure.</p> <p>For those ready to embark on the journey of <a href="https://go.linkby.com/PXROBQFZ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">having their property appraised</a> – whether you're contemplating a sale, gauging investment opportunities, or simply curious about your net worth – Atlas offers a seamless pathway to success, as well as comprehensive advice on the potential benefits.</p> <p>At the core of any property appraisal lies a quest for insight into the local property market's heartbeat. Has your neighbourhood witnessed fluctuations in property values? Have recent renovations added significant value to your home? Are you considering upsizing, downsizing, or entering the investment realm? Or perhaps you're merely eager to unveil the hidden potential nestled within your property's walls.</p> <p>From the size of your property to the nuances of its structure and condition, every facet contributes to the appraisal process. Agents meticulously scrutinise elements such as property size, bedroom configurations, fixtures and fittings, offering valuable insights into your property's market positioning.</p> <p>Beyond tangible attributes, location exerts a profound influence on property values. Agents dissect the neighbourhood fabric, examining proximity to amenities, school catchments and transport accessibility. Additionally, factors like building structure, overall presentation and ease of access shape the appraisal narrative, underscoring the intricate interplay between tangible and intangible elements.</p> <p><strong>The crucial distinction: Valuations vs. Appraisals</strong></p> <p>It's imperative to <a href="https://go.linkby.com/PXROBQFZ/understanding-property-appraisals/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">discern between property valuations and appraisals</a>. While valuations offer an independent assessment of a property's value by certified valuers, appraisals provide a nuanced perspective shaped by local market dynamics and agent expertise.</p> <p>Embarking on the path to a property appraisal is easy. Simply <a href="https://go.linkby.com/PXROBQFZ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">book a consultation</a>, relax as they navigate through the intricacies of your property, and await their expert assessment.</p> <p>Armed with the insights garnered from your property appraisal, you're now equipped to chart your next course of action. Whether it's embarking on home improvements, contemplating a sale or recalibrating your financial portfolio, the appraisal serves as your guiding light.</p> <p>In a landscape defined by constant flux, the value of knowledge cannot be overstated. A property appraisal isn't merely a transactional ritual; it's a journey towards financial empowerment and informed decision-making. So, whether you're contemplating a sale or simply curious about your property's worth, take that pivotal step towards unlocking the true value of your home. After all, in the realm of real estate, knowledge is indeed power.</p> <p><em>For more information or to book your own <a href="https://go.linkby.com/PXROBQFZ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">free property appraisal, click here</a>.</em></p>

Real Estate

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World's most expensive house up for sale

<p>A French chateau, once owned by a member of the Rothschild family and, later on, the King of Morocco, has gone up for sale with a £363 million (AU$699) price tag. </p> <p>Chateau d’Armainvilliers located at Seine-et-Marne, 48km east of the Eiffel Tower, is the world's most expensive home. </p> <p>Built upon the foundations of a 12th century castle, the sprawling mansion boasts 1,000 hectares of land, 100 rooms across 2,500 square metres of living space, a private lake, and plenty of sequoia trees - the largest trees in the world. </p> <p>Ignace Meuwissen, a self-acclaimed "real estate advisor to the global elite" described the property as a display of "opulence and grandeur".</p> <p>"It is the most expensive castle in France and perhaps in the world. The price of €425million is justified by the property itself but also by the 1,000 hectare land which offers numerous possibilities," he told Paris Match magazine. </p> <p>"An investor could build thousands of apartments there if he wanted."</p> <p>The chateau was first bought by the Rothschild banking empird in the late 19th century, before King Hassan II of Morocco bought it in the 1980s. </p> <p>He then made the chateau more fit for a king, adding a hammam spa, a beauty and hairdressing salon, and a fully-equipped medical and dental facility.</p> <p>The Moroccan King  also added a basement level, which has a network of tunnels, kitchens, cold rooms, storage spaces and staff quarters.</p> <p>The lucky owner will also find Moroccan mosaics and wall tiles decorating the home, and for any avid equestrians, the home also has a stable big enough for 50 horses. </p> <p>However, some luxury property agents have expressed their doubts on whether the property would sell with its nine-figure sum, with one saying it was an "unrealistic" price tag. </p> <p>"It doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd Properties of this type could sell for 20-25 million, or even 30 million if we really fall in love with them. I’m not even sure that Vaux-le-Vicomte (a Baroque French château), which has no marketing plans, would sell at this price," one agent told French real estate publication <em>Le Figaro Immobilier</em>.</p> <p>Others were unsure whether the changes made by the King in the 1980s would suit modern tastes. </p> <p><em>Images: Whisper Auctions</em></p>

Real Estate

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If you squat in a vacant property, does the law give you the house for free? Well, sort of

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathy-sherry-466">Cathy Sherry</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>Nothing excites law students like the idea of a free house. Or alternatively, enrages them. It depends on their politics. As a result, academics condemned to teaching property law find it hard to resist the “<a href="https://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MelbULawRw/2011/28.html">doctrine of adverse possession</a>”. The fact that a person can change the locks on someone else’s house, wait 12 years, and claim it as their own, makes students light up in a way that the Strata Schemes Management Act never will.</p> <p>The idea of “squatters’ rights” has received a lot of media attention recently amid the grim reality of the Australian housing market. It fuels commentators such as Jordan van den Berg, who <a href="https://www.instagram.com/purplepingers/">critiques bad landlords</a> on social media. Casting back to his days as a law student, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/article/jordan-was-fed-up-with-australias-empty-houses-his-proposal-has-led-to-death-threats/stx6rv6fl">he’s promoting</a> the doctrine of adverse possession as a way of making use of vacant properties.</p> <p>As interesting as the doctrine is, it has little relevance in modern Australia. While it is necessary to limit the time someone has to bring legal proceedings to recover land – typically 12 or 15 years, depending on which state you’re in – most people don’t need that long to notice someone else is living in their house. If a family member is occupying a home that someone else has inherited or a tenant refuses to vacate at the end of a lease, owners tend to bring actions to recover their land pronto.</p> <p>So where did this doctrine come from, and what has it meant in practice?</p> <h2>Free house fetching millions</h2> <p>In unusual circumstances, people can lose track of their own land.</p> <p>Just before the second world war, Henry Downie moved out of his house in the Sydney suburb of Ashbury. Downie died a decade later, but his will was never administered. At the time of his death, a Mrs Grimes rented the house and did so for a further 50 years. Downie’s next of kin did not realise they had inherited the house or that they were Grimes’s landlord.</p> <p>Grimes died in 1998 and Bill Gertos, a property developer, saw the house was vacant. He changed the locks, did some repairs, then leased the house and paid the rates for the next 17 years. He then made an application under <a href="https://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/rpa1900178/s45d.html">NSW property laws</a> to become the registered proprietor. At this point, Downie’s next of kin became aware they may have been entitled to the property and disputed Gertos’s claim.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2018/1629.html">court held</a> Gertos had been “in possession” of the property since the late 1990s. The next of kin had a legal right to eject him, but they had failed to do so within the statutory time limit of 12 years. Gertos had the best claim to the house. He <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/6-malleny-street-ashbury-nsw-2193-2015821514">promptly sold it</a> for A$1.4 million.</p> <p>Outrageous as this may seem, the law encourages caring for land. If you fail to take responsibility for your land, and someone else does, you can lose it.</p> <h2>An old English tradition</h2> <p>Gertos’s jackpot was unusual, and adverse possession has always been more relevant in a country like England.</p> <p>First, for much of English history, many people did not have documentary title (deeds) to their land. People were illiterate, parchment was expensive, and documents could disappear in a puff of smoke in a house fire. The law often had to rely on people’s physical possession of land as proof of ownership.</p> <p>Second, as a result of feudalism, vast swathes of England were owned by the aristocracy. They and their 20th-century successors in title, often local councils, had a habit of forgetting they owned five suburbs in London.</p> <p>In the post second world war housing crisis, thousands of families, and later young people and students, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b017cfv4">squatted in vacant houses</a> owned by public and private landlords who lacked the means or motivation to maintain them.</p> <h2>A sign of the times</h2> <p>In contrast, in Australia, for most of our settler history, governments of all political persuasions actively prevented the emergence of a landed class.</p> <p>But now, courtesy of tax policies that <a href="https://www.quarterlyessay.com.au/essay/2023/11/the-great-divide">encourage investment</a> in residential real estate, we have a landlord class of Baby Boomer and Gen X investors. That has caused housing market stress as younger people cannot make the natural transition from being renters to homeowners. They are outbid by older, wealthier buyers whose tax benefits from negative gearing increase with every dollar they borrow to buy an investment property.</p> <p>Money flowing into the market then means that landlords’ greatest benefit is capital gain rather than income, and thanks to John Howard, investors pay <a href="https://theconversation.com/stranger-than-fiction-who-labors-capital-gains-tax-changes-will-really-hurt-109657">no tax</a> on half of that gain.</p> <p>Finally, an almost exclusive reliance by government on the <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/post/for-more-affordable-housing-we-need-more-public-housing/">private sector</a> to provide new homes – which it will only do if it is making a profit – has left many people in deep housing stress.</p> <p>While squatters in Australia are likely to find themselves swiftly subject to court orders for ejection, van den Berg’s rallying cry indicates just how inequitable the housing market has become. Baby Boomers and Gen X should be on notice – young people want their housing back. <!-- 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/227556/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/cathy-sherry-466"><em>Cathy Sherry</em></a><em>, Professor in Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</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/if-you-squat-in-a-vacant-property-does-the-law-give-you-the-house-for-free-well-sort-of-227556">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Property tycoon sentenced to death over $27 billion fraud

<p>A Vietnamese billionaire was sentenced to death on Thursday in one of the biggest corruption cases in history, an estimated $27 billion in damages - a figure equivalent to six percent of the country’s 2023 GDP. </p> <p>Truong My Lan, chair of major developer Van Thinh Phat, was found guilty of embezzlement, after looting from one of the country's biggest banks, Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) for over a decade. </p> <p>“The defendant’s actions... eroded people’s trust in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and state,” the verdict read at the trial in Ho Chi Minh City. </p> <p>After a five-week trial, 85 others were also charged for their involvement in the fraud, with charges ranging from from bribery and abuse of power to appropriation and violations of banking law. </p> <p>Four were given life imprisonment, while others received jail terms ranging between 20 years and three years suspended. Lan's husband was Hong Kong billionaire Eric Chu Nap Kee, was sentenced to nine years in prison.</p> <p>Lan and the others were arrested as part of a national corruption crackdown.</p> <p>Lan was initially believed to have embezzled $12.5 billion, but on Thursday prosecutors have said that the total damages caused by the fraud now amounted to $27 billion. </p> <p>The property tycoon was convicted of taking out $44bn in loans from the bank, according to the <em>BBC</em>, with prosecutors saying that $27 billion of this may never be recovered. </p> <p>The court ordered Lan to to pay almost the entire damages sum in compensation. </p> <p>It is also <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-68778636" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> that she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime. </p> <p>“In my desperation, I thought of death,” Lan said in her final remarks to the court, according to state media. </p> <p>“I am so angry that I was stupid enough to get involved in this very fierce business environment -- the banking sector -- which I have little knowledge of.”</p> <p>Police have identified around 42,000 victims of the scam, and many of them were unhappy with the verdict. </p> <p>One 67-year-old Hanoi resident told the AFP that she had hoped Lan would receive a life sentence so she could fully witness the devastating impact of her actions. </p> <p>“Many people worked hard to deposit money into the bank, but now she’s received the death sentence and that’s it for her,” they said. </p> <p>“She can’t see the suffering of the people.”</p> <p>The resident has so far been unable to retrieve the $120,000 she invested with SCB. </p> <p>Police have said that many of the victims are SCB bondholders, who cannot withdraw their money and have not received interest or principal payments since Lan’s arrest. </p> <p>Authorities have also reportedly seized over 1000 properties belonging to Lan. </p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

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"Out-of-touch" Project stars slammed over clash with renter advocate

<p>Social media users have slammed <em>The Project </em>hosts,  following their recent interview with a renter advocate who encourages Aussies struggling with the housing crisis to squat in empty homes. </p> <p>Jordan van den Berg,  founder of the S*** Rentals website shared a video over the weekend outside a rundown house in Chadstone, Melbourne, saying: “Are you sick of rich people hoarding empty houses during a housing crisis? I know I am." </p> <p>“Here’s how you can do something about it.” </p> <p>He then encouraged people to submit information on empty homes in their suburbs via a form on his website, which he plans to promote on his socials so those struggling to find a home could squat in them. </p> <p>“Fun fact – squatting in Australia is not necessarily illegal, which is the best type of legal, especially if the front door doesn’t actually lock," he said. </p> <p>On Monday, he appeared on The Project to talk about his controversial plans, and was grilled by the show's hosts. </p> <p>“I know we’re in a pretty serious housing crisis, but do you really think encouraging people to squat in private properties is the way to fix it?" asked co-host Sarah Harris. </p> <p> “Let me answer your question by asking you a question. Do you think it’s right we have thousands of vacant, abandoned homes while we have people living on the street?” van de Berg replied. </p> <p>Harris said she didn’t and asked whether the solving the housing crisis should be focused on policy instead.</p> <p>Later in the interview, panellist Steve Price casted his doubts on whether there actually were a lot of vacant homes, but van de Berg replied that he'd received over 300 submissions from Aussies about empty homes in their suburbs. </p> <p>van de Berg also said that desperate people are even squatting in abandoned properties, and added: “If someone needs a house, they can reach out to me and I’ll send them [details about] an empty home."</p> <p>Harris was shocked that people would “basically camp out in abandoned houses with no power" which van den Berg argued that “camping out inside” was likely better than sleeping on the streets or in a park.</p> <p>Co-host Waleed Aly then asked whether van de Berg  was encouraging people to break the law, but he pointed out that squatting – done properly – isn’t technically illegal.</p> <p>The interview has been slammed on social media, with Writer and comedian John Delmenico posting on X: “Watching the rich out-of-touch panel on the Project realise in real time that not everyone is rich is so bizarre.</p> <p>"Especially the part where Pingers has to explain that being in a house is safer than sleeping on the street. How do they host the news with no connection to reality?”</p> <p>Others agreed mocking the panellists’ shock that “shelter without electricity is better than no shelter with no electricity”.</p> <p>“She was laughing at the fact that ppl would camp out in abandoned houses with no power/water, until he put her in her place by reminding her they’re better off camping under shelter than outside. Mic drop moment," one wrote. </p> <p>“Homelessness exists … it’s quite a big problem actually," another added. </p> <p>However, a few others agreed with the <em>Project</em> hosts. </p> <p>“Encouraging people to squat, who does he think he is?" one wrote. </p> <p>“He thinks he’s doing a good thing, but he’s given absolutely no critical thought to the implications of encouraging people to take over ‘empty homes’," another added. </p> <p>Leo Patterson Ross, chief executive of the Tenants Union of NSW, said that van den Berg was “drawing attention to issues that government should be acting on”.</p> <p>“In the middle of a housing crisis with growing levels of homelessness, we should be looking to ensure homes are not left vacant,” Patterson Ross said.</p> <p>“If a person leaves a property unattended and empty for 12 years, then I think many of us would agree it seems fair that the community can reclaim usage to provide a home, whether that be individuals or government.”</p> <p><em>Image: The Project</em></p>

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Inside the alleged hide out of Samantha Murphy's accused killer

<p>The Scotsburn property where Samantha Murphy's <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">accused killer</a> allegedly hid in is up for sale with a $1million-plus price tag. </p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson was staying at the property when he arrested on March 6, after police stormed in with a search warrant. </p> <p>The 5.46 hectare property is located about 18km away from central Ballarat, where Stephenson was believed to have been partying the night before he was accused of murdering Murphy. </p> <p>Stephenson is believed to have been living between this property and another one located less than 100m away on Yendon No 2 Road with his girlfriend prior to his arrest. </p> <p><em>The Daily Mail </em>reported that a for sale sign was recently spotted at the property, which has four bedrooms and is advertised as featuring "a renovated galley-style kitchen, a generous lounge room with plenty of natural light, two living areas including a family/rumpus room for shared moments."</p> <p>"A school bus passing the front door adds to the convenience for families," the ad read. </p> <p>The property is also described as practically off-grid, with solar power and an underground bore water supply. </p> <p>It remains unknown how long Stephenson had lived at the home. </p> <p><em>Images: McGrath Ballarat/ InsideLook- Real Estate Media</em></p>

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Better Homes and Gardens star's dream rural property up for grabs

<p><em>Better Homes and Gardens </em>star Charlie Albone and his wife interior designer Juliet Love, have listed their dream Ourimbah home. </p> <p>The 2.07ha property located on the Central Coast has been listed by McGrath Gosford agents Peter Morris and Nate Waters with a $3m to $3.2m price guidance.</p> <p>The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home sits deep behind a gated entry, which ensures privacy and is surrounded by plenty of greenery with its garden alcoves, a stunning wisteria-covered arbour, fruit trees, and a few garden beds for vegetables. </p> <p>There is also a feature dry-stone wall fire pit built by Scottish stonemason Callum Grey, that's perfect for winter and colder nights.</p> <p>The English cottage-style home  comes with a separate self-contained unit that includes a bedroom and kitchenette. </p> <p>The home is every animal lovers' dream with five paddocks that come with animal shelters, plumbed water troughs and a three-stall stable. </p> <p>For those hot summer days, whoever the new owners are can dip into the saltwater pool located on the property. </p> <p>The property is equipped with 100,000-litre tanks and has town water. </p> <p>Albone and his family bought the property in 2012 for $840,000 which means that if it was sold at the price guide then it's almost four times the original price they bought it at. </p> <p>The top acreage sale at Ourimbah currently sits at $3,725,000 for a 13.93ha Dog Trap Rd six-bedroom house, which sold in 2021.</p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au</em></p>

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Is Valentine’s Day worth the romantic investment? Here’s what we can learn from economics

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selma-wather-1510222">Selma Wather</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p>Expressing affection can be expensive. Spending on heart-shaped gifts, romantic cards, chocolates and flowers (other gifts are available) to celebrate Valentine’s Day has reached <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/510981/valentines-day-total-spending-great-britain/#:%7E:text=In%20the%20United%20Kingdom%20%28UK%29%20alone%2C%20Valentine%E2%80%99s%20Day,increased%20by%20just%20over%20300%20million%20British%20pounds.">close to £1 billion</a> in the UK.</p> <p>So the value of Valentine’s to retailers seems clear enough. But just how valuable is the annual ritual to consumers? What return can you expect for the money you invest in that bouquet of roses or candle lit meal?</p> <p>Broadly speaking, and depending on your relationship status, buying into Valentine’s Day traditions suggests two possible scenarios. You might be sending a card or gift to a potential partner to inform them of your interest; or you might be giving something to your current partner to remind them of your continuing love.</p> <p>Research suggests that both options have intrinsic economic value.</p> <p>For those seeking to express interest, sending a card is like dipping your toe into what economists might refer to as the “marriage market” – the search for someone you like, who likes what you have to offer in return.</p> <p>This search can happen smoothly, with plenty of information about your potential match, or it can be paved with obstacles, where you may not know much about who is available, and <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1703310">learning about potential partners</a> takes time.</p> <p>So suppose you are searching for a partner, and comprehensive information about potential matches is not freely available. What do you do?</p> <p>One option might be to put all your hopes into meeting someone on your daily journey to work. You pray that one day, just like in the movies, you will simply bump into “the one”.</p> <p>A second option might be to focus your search on single work colleagues, or people you know socially, and send Valentine’s Day cards to those you are attracted to.</p> <p>The option with the highest chance of success is the second one. You are using reliable information – knowledge of who is single. And sending a card to them can provide them with important information about you – that you’re also single, and that you’re interested. This is why research suggests that sending a Valentine’s Day card can be a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2938374?origin=crossref">logical investment</a> of time and money.</p> <h2>‘Match quality’</h2> <p>Fast forward five years or so and imagine you are happily married to the recipient of one of those cards. Is it worth repeating the gesture now that you’re settled down together?</p> <p>Economists think of marriages or partnerships as having an inherent “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2006.00385.x">match quality</a>”, which reflects how good (or bad) your relationship is – and the likelihood of you breaking up.</p> <p>If match quality falls below the level of happiness you might expect to have if you were to leave, a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2759255">separation may well follow</a>. But many studies also show that <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2535409">match quality is malleable</a> – that it can change, for better and indeed for worse, over time.</p> <p>You can invest in trying to improve match quality in various ways. It might be starting a family, sharing hobbies and interests, or gestures such as cooking a special meal or exchanging gifts on the 14th day of February. Improving your match quality <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228431914_How_Does_the_Change_of_Marriage_Quality_Affect_Divorce_Decisions">directly reduces the probability</a> of a separation.</p> <p>Then there’s the question of commitment – the willingness to stay in a relationship rather than walking away. And again, gestures can make a difference.</p> <p>Imagine you have just started a new job, and your employer asks you to complete an intensive training session in your free time, for a skill that would only be useful for that particular role. If you expect to hold the job for a long period, you might happily invest your time. But if your employer is struggling financially and redundancy is on the cards, you are much less likely to agree to perform the task.</p> <p>Relationships work in a similar way. People are more prepared to invest in things like having children or buying a house together if they expect the relationship to last. Given that commitment is not guaranteed by a marriage certificate, people <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=950688">need to find other ways</a> to signal their continued devotion.</p> <p>Celebrating Valentine’s Day is one way of making such a signal. It can show faith in your shared commitment, signify that you wish to continue investing in the relationship and improve match quality, further stabilising the partnership.</p> <p>So even if deep down you think that Valentine’s Day has become over commercialised and meaningless, research suggests it makes good economic sense to send that card.<!-- 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/223128/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/selma-wather-1510222"><em>Selma Wather</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</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/is-valentines-day-worth-the-romantic-investment-heres-what-we-can-learn-from-economics-223128">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Zimmerman founder sets new price record for Bondi home

<p>Simone Zimmerman has set a new home price record for Bondi, and she didn't even need to take out a mortgage. </p> <p>The fashion guru and founder of Zimmermann has splurged $30 million for her four-bedroom, three-bathroom home just moments away from the iconic Bondi Beach. </p> <p>“This ocean front executive residence is tucked away in a quiet street only moments to the iconic Bondi Beach and all it has to offer,”  the listing for the beachside home read. </p> <p>According to property records, the home - which is located just behind the popular Bondi to Bronte walk - last sold for $5.75m in June 2008.</p> <p>The fashion mogul is reported to have bypassed local real estate agents, purchasing the home directly from a local investor. </p> <p>No major changes have been made to the home since, but prior to Zimmerman's purchase it was being rented out at $4,400 per week. </p> <p>According to PropTrack the median house price for Bondi is around $3.75m, which went up by 4.7 per cent over the past year. </p> <p>The stunning home features 4 double bedrooms, all with large built-in wardrobes and a separate study perfect for the business-woman. </p> <p>It also has a gourmet kitchen with a stainless-steel benchtop and large open dining room. </p> <p>The lounge room opens onto a large deck with beautiful ocean views and plenty of natural lighting. </p> <p>This comes after the luxury womenswear label sold a majority stake in its company to private equity investors in August last year. </p> <p>Sisters Simone and Nicky Zimmerman are founders of the brand, which initially began as a stall in Sydney’s Paddington market, before the sisters opened their first local shop in Darlinghurst. </p> <p>It now operates across 58 global destinations in the USA, UK, Europe and China, with the sisters now having an estimated net worth of around $1bn each. </p> <p><em>Images: Realestate.com.au</em></p>

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"Too good to be true": Bank teller saves couple from losing $40k

<p>A Tasmanian couple have been saved from losing $40k into an online investment scam after a bank teller noticed the red flags. </p> <p>The couple visited the NAB branch in Rosny, Hobart after their account was blocked during an attempt to transfer the money to an ‘online investment firm’ in Perth. </p> <p>The payment was the first of two instalments that they were set to pay the "firm" but NAB Customer Advisor Erin Bugg saved them from a massive loss. </p> <p>Bugg became suspicious of the firm after they promised a 12 per cent return on their term deposit  and a guaranteed pay out if the firm went bust. </p> <p>“If there was a scam red flags bingo card, ‘online investment opportunity’ would be top of the list,”  the NAB Customer Advisor said. </p> <p>“Immediately, alarm bells went off for me. It sounded like an investment scam and I was concerned this couple could lose their life savings.” </p> <p>The couple, however, insisted that they weren't being scammed so Bugg decided to look into the matter further and found a website and article about the firm. </p> <p>When she looked into the rates they offered she realised it “was literally too good to be true." </p> <p>“No one likes to be told they’re being lied to, especially when they feel like they’ve done all the right things. They had done their own research, and even spoken to the company on the phone,” she said. </p> <p>She added that "alarm bells" started ringing when the wife explained that a man from the firm kept calling her to thank her for the investment and encourage her to open an account. </p> <p>The couple then rang the "firm" in front of Bugg to try and convince her it was real. </p> <p>“I declined to speak to the ‘firm’, but I could hear them telling the customers, ‘Oh, NAB always flags us as a scam’,’”  she recalled. </p> <p>NAB’s fraud team then informed them that the firm had a bank account at another bank, and to call the bank to confirm whether it was legit. </p> <p>After calling the other bank, they found that the account was not connected to the investment firm and suggested them to not transfer anything. </p> <p>“It was such a relief to hear from the customer that they’d avoided being scammed,” Bugg said. </p> <p>This comes after Scamwatch received  over 7,000 reports of investment scams collectively costing Aussies  over $275 million in the last year. </p> <p><em>Image: NAB </em></p>

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Real estate agency slammed for "greedy" rental increase

<p>Real estate agency Nelson Alexander has come under fire after increasing the weekly rent to one of their vacant properties on the day of the viewing. </p> <p>The property, located in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, had a scheduled viewing on Thursday and many hopeful tenants were keen to check it out. </p> <p>Unfortunately, their interest came at a cost, as the agency sent out a text just hours beforehand saying that they were increasing  the weekly rent from $600 to $650 due to "overwhelming" demand.</p> <p>Journalist Jacqueline Felgate shared the text on social media, and many branded the agency's move as  "greedy" and "disgraceful" and even accused them of perpetuating the rental crisis. </p> <p>The exact location of the property and the number of bedrooms it has <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">is unknown, and after receiving all the backlash, the ad has since been pulled. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The real estate agency also apologised and said that </span>they "do not solicit or encourage any form of rental bidding".</p> <p>"Whilst the current issue at hand is not a breach of legislation, it fell short of our commitment to fair and transparent practices," the statement read.</p> <p>"We are deeply aware of the moral and social responsibility we have to our community during these challenging times."</p> <p>They also added that they are currently reviewing their processes to "ensure this doesn't ever happen again". </p> <p>It is unclear whether the property has been put back on the market and for what price. </p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: Instagram</em></p>

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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>

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"Is this legal?" Residents outraged over demanding aircon letter

<p>Residents in a Sydney unit complex were left outraged after they were asked to turn off their air conditioners overnight.</p> <p>A letter placed inside the elevator of the 18-floor apartment building states that the utility can only be used “during the following times."</p> <p>“Weekdays 7am to 10pm, weekends and public holidays 8am to 10pm,” the letter said.  </p> <p>“At other times than this, please turn off your air conditioners, especially after 10:00 PM every day.”</p> <p>The letter, which was posted on Facebook, received a lot of backlash from other residents and renters</p> <p>One resident who lived in the 1960s building for a decade said it was the first time she had heard of such a request.</p> <p>“Can anyone please let me know if this is legal? Can they actually force people to not run their own AC units?” the person asked. </p> <p>Many other renters expressed their annoyance, with one joking that they'd have to pry the aircon off their dead hands. </p> <p>“Anyone else feel like we are in a Nanny State?” one wrote. </p> <p>“To be honest with 30°c nights they can pry my aircon from my cold dead heads,” another quipped. </p> <p>One Facebook user also commented that building developers might be to blame. </p> <p>“I think the strata builders got a bit cheap and installed less expensive aircons and therefore they are too loud. Bet if they had decent ones, the tenants wouldn’t have to suffer hot nights because of the noise,” they said. </p> <p>A few others commented that it might not just be a request from strata, but local councils that are enforcing new noise pollution restrictions which affect aircons. </p> <p>City of Sydney, Inner West, and Penrith councils, are a few of the local governments which require the airconditioners to be turned off 10pm to 7am during the week and until 8am on the weekend, the same time requested on the laters. </p> <p>The local governments also recommend that residents and developers purchase high-quality airconditioners that won't cause noise pollution or disturb neighbours. </p> <p>“Even if you’ve been told that it complies with noise requirements, it doesn’t mean it’s going to suit every location all the time,” the Inner West Council website read. </p> <p>The letter comes as Sydney battles its second heatwave in the span of a week. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Getty</em></p>

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Three-bedroom home on the market for unbelievably cheap price

<p>A three-bedroom home located on the border of Victoria and South Australia is up for sale for just $65,000. </p> <p>But there is a catch to future homeowners who want to experience the “quiet and cheap country living”, as they might need to be handy with a hammer. </p> <p>“If you’re a handyman and willing to put some elbow grease into it, then this one might be for you,” the listing read. </p> <p>The home itself is located on two plots of land measuring 2,100m2 in Serviceton, Victoria, and is only 16 minutes away from Bordertown, South Australia. </p> <p>“Being on two titles, you can utilise both or sell the vacant allotment as all the dwellings are on one,” the listing read. </p> <p>It also features a large lounge room with wood-fire heater, and a centrally located bathroom with a bath and vanity. </p> <p>There's plenty of room to cook in the massive kitchen, despite it needing a lot of work, it features a formal dining area that has a sliding servery window which connects to the lounge room.</p> <p>Outside, the future homeowner can find a large shed, rain water storage, and a gate that opens up to a park. </p> <p>“It went under contract ... an hour and a half (after it was listed),” Ray White agent Hayden Obst told<em> 7News</em>. </p> <p>The condition of its electrical, plumbing and appliances are unknown, but people are still expressing their interest.</p> <p>Despite this, many people from different parts of the country and a few investors are still calling the real estate agent, just in case the contract falls through. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News.com.au</em></p>

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