Landlords seeking to exploit victims who have lost their homes in the bushfires by lifting rental prices have been warned they will be named and shamed.
NSW premier Barry O’Farrell said price gouging would not be tolerated by the government and the Office of Fair Trading would be cracking down on the practice.
The warning comes after Mr O’Farrell was alerted to a landlord in the Lower Blue Mountains who sought to increase their rental charge because "there will be a lot of people who’ve lost their homes looking for temporary accommodation".
“This sort of low act will not be tolerated and I warn people even thinking about it that the NSW government will come after you,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Anyone seeking to cash in on this crisis is a heartless grub. Just don’t do it,” he said.
“Not only will they be named and shamed, they’ll face a fine of up to $220,000 or $1.1 million for corporations."
Mr O’Farrell added that the minister of fair trading, Anthony Roberts, had ordered his inspectors to be on the ground in the bushfire zones to be on the lookout for price gouging.
“Whether you’re a landlord, tradesman, or retailer, don’t try it on because it won’t be worth it,” he said.
“In the case of tradespeople, it could also result in the cancellation or suspension of your licence.”
Mr Roberts said Fair Trading has set up a hotline so anyone aware of price gauging or who has concerns about conmen moving into bushfire areas should call 1800 213 428.
“Fair Trading will also seek to work with the Real Estate Institute,” Mr Roberts said.