Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Real Estate Rort

9 Mar 2010Rort: to cheat, rip off, beat, defraud, hack or scam.

Talking with one of my ‘Facebook friends' the other day, I was advised of an Australia wide real estate agency that offers a service that assists people with disabilities, find a suitable rental home or property purchase.

Initially I thought, wow, what a great idea, finally someone has thought about how difficult it is for disabled people to find suitable affordable housing and decided to help.

However, when I looked into it further, I was shocked and horrified to learn that for this real estate agency to look for a suitable house for a maximum of 27 hours, it will cost a disabled person $2,200 for a rental property and $4,400 for a property purchase!

I thought, surely this would be refundable or there would be government assistance available, but no, when I called the real estate agency to check all the details, they said that the price is not negotiable, it is not refundable and there is no help from anywhere.

When I asked what this large fee was for, the agent simply said, “It's for our service.” The service she was referring to is finding a suitable property, organising any small modifications and applying for the property, once the application has been approved, payment is needed before the customer can occupy the premises.

I don't know if I'm over-reacting, but I think this is a blatant case of a successful company taking advantage of someone who is in desperate need.

As I have been in the situation of trying to find a suitable rental property many times myself, I know how difficult and frustrating it can get trying to find somewhere to live. Not to mention when you have real estate agents who don't seem to give a damn about your needs and are just interested in who's offering the highest price, you can never get them to call you back or give you a straight answer about whether a property has wheelchair access or not, I can say I would've been very tempted to use a service like this but could never have afforded to pay this much.

Not only does the real estate agency charge this much, but they also charge by the hour if they can't find a suitable property in the allocated 27 hours. The hourly rate works out to be almost $82 per hour! I don't think I even know anyone who makes $82 an hour, so how can they justify this price??

On their website, it states that they have helped over 100 disabled people successfully find a suitable property. Could you afford to receive this assistance?

If you have any thoughts on this service or, if you have used a service like this, please share your experiences. Also, please share your general experiences of trying to find a property suitable for someone with a disability.

If you would like to know more about the real estate agency I am referring to, please contact me.

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Previous Comments

lyn from Melbourne western suburbs posted on 30 Apr 2012
Sadly this agent is able to take advantage of the elderly & disabled because there is no site that I am aware of that provides accommodation exclusively for those with special needs.Last year I had to place my mother 87 into a nursing home so I advertised on Gum tree for an elderly or disabled person to share with my moderately disabled brother a near new two bedroom fully modified, granny flat, with well equipped kitchen, separate dinning room, cosy loungebathroom/laundry, huge amount of storage and wardrobe space, ceiling fans in both bedrooms,reverse cycle air con,phone,internet, own electronic entrance, court yard, excellent location minutes walk to shops, chemist doctors and transport $140 per week all bills included.I was shocked I didn't get one elderly or disabled person apply and unfortunately I had to give up looking for who I preferred and the guy that moved in is neither disabled nor elderly and has no need for,ramps,handrails, shower chair, walker,low benches,and modified toilet extra. Easter Sunday my brother had a stroke and he will not be able to return home and sadly will spend the rest of his life in a nursing home therefore I am again wanting to lease my mother and brothers much loved unit to an elderly couple or low care disabled person/s,I know there must be hundreds of people not ready for nursing homes and struggling to find suiTA-BLE affordable accommodation that would jump at this opportunity but I have no idea how to reach those that need this place the most. If you have any ideas where I should advertise please contact me Lyn email [email protected]

Andrew Hewitt from Sydney posted on 11 Mar 2010
As a person with a disability currently looking at rental properties for myself and my family, a service like this would really come in handy... but really what right do they have to prey on us people with disabilities when they know we struggle with landlords and agents? It's disgusting. Hate to think how many desperate people would struggle to get this money together just to get the help they need... This is where Housing NSW should step in... but sadly they make it harder and harder...

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