Tenants stir controversy by saying they don’t pay rent by overcharging roommates

An Australian tenant has been brutally shamed after publicly kicking himself out while paying full rent while his four housemates live for free.

For two years, the man has been the sole leaseholder for a rental property in the inner west of Sydney, Australia, while renting out four rooms to people who inadvertently covered the entire cost of the house.

With the lease almost due for renewal, this week the principal tenant began to panic after subletters indicated they wanted to stay on the lease.

“Taking advice. I am currently the main tenant of a five-bedroom house in the inner west. I have rented out to four other people and have been doing so for two years. The lease is up for renewal and the other tenants are all Want to sign,” the post read.

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The post sparked a heated debate on the internet.
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“The problem is, I haven’t been very transparent about the relative rental contributions and my rent is actually completely covered by them.

“How do I go about navigating this situation?”

The advice was the last thing the tenant received, his post receiving hundreds of comments from furious members of the community, some accusing him of “stealing” and “fraudulent”.

“Yeah dude, that’s s-t f-ked up…. You’ve been stealing too much from these guys for two years,” read one response.

“From those with whom you live no less! Lying about total rent is grounds for NCAT [New South Wales, Australia Civil and Administrative Tribunal] Case. I hope they see it, and I hope they get every cent back,” said another.

“For those saying it is not illegal, lying to others for financial gain is fraud, which is illegal. The financial gain here is paying their rent for them,” said someone else.

“At a low estimate you have deducted at least $50 per person per week. You have stolen over $20,000,” wrote another.

However, there were some who did not see anything wrong in what the tenant was doing.

“I really don’t understand the problem here – you’ve rented a place and are renting out rooms, you can charge whatever you want,” wrote one.

“Although it’s morally shameful, it’s not illegal. It’s basically the same as landlords using tenants to pay their mortgages,” said another.

Leo Ross, CEO of the Tenants’ Union in Australia, confirmed that subletting was not illegal as long as the main tenant had the landlord’s permission.

Legalities aside, he said renters were struggling with the ethics of the issue.

“I think people are struggling with the culture or the ethic around shared housing, where people see it as sharing resources and helping each other,” he told ABC News.

“It’s an insult to the share housing culture, but it’s very different from the legalities.”

And it’s a task that Mr. Ross believes is much broader than many people think.

“I’ve certainly heard from a number of people whose main tenants were either putting together enough money to cover the full cost of the house or subsidizing themselves, so they were paying significantly less, usually For the biggest room,” he said.

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