A group of Western Australian tenants has started a new Facebook page allowing tenants to speak out about their rental problems.
One of the administrators, who wished to remain annonymous, told Residential Property Manager that the site, Real Estate Agent Problems Western Australia, started in response to personal problems they had each faced when dealing with agents.
“I’ve seen a lot of friends having a lot of issues with real estate agents, and yes they can ring the consumer protection, they can ring REIWA [Real Estate Institute of Western Australia] but they get very vague answers and they might not necessarily be getting advice on what these agents are doing," she said.
“I’m not saying all real estate agents are bad, but most of them just think they’re queen bees and can treat people so badly.
“Some tenants do deserve it and we are going to allow real estate agents to put up stories about horror tenants.”
She said the aim of the site was to support people who were experiencing rental difficulties, and it had already gained some support from real estate professionals who were posting on the page.
She said she invited real estate agents to post on the wall and the posts would not be deleted.
Director of RE/MAX WA Geoff Baldwin said he believed every person had a right to express their opinions but was concerned that agents were being named on the forum.
“Everyone will have their side of each story, but I think it is important to allow the other side to respond,” he wrote on the Facebook wall.
“If you are serious about lifting standards, either do not allow the naming of agents or at least notify those agents via email that they have been named on this page.
“As an agent, I'd always be happy to defend ‘genuine’ gripes but right now this just looks like another place for people to bag agents without their knowledge, which is certainly not right and not very courageous - it's not going to help anyone.”
The administrator said names of real estate agents would not be allowed, but they would identify areas.
Heather McPherson of Sara Muir Real Estate, who has responded to posts on the Facebook page, told Residential Property Manager she supported the group.
“A lot of property management issues come from a lack of communication; the owner doesn’t know the rules around the Residential Tenancies Act, and the tenants don’t know what their rights and obligations as tenants are,” she said.
“I think it’s a good forum, as long as there’s no naming and shaming of agents without the agent being able to have their side of the story told as well.
“I think it’s good, especially if it’s more about tenants asking questions about 'can I do this? and can I do that?' and where they stand in regards to renting a property.”