Sydney is full of dodgy rentals, but one particularly ridiculous (or should that be Riddikulus?) listing in the city’s CBD has had Sydneysiders up in arms.
Australia is in the midst of a housing crisis – and nowhere is that felt more keenly than in Sydney, where property prices, weekly rents and mortgage payments are higher than anywhere else in the country. The closer you get to the CBD, the worse things get.
For renters, it’s got to a point where having five or more flatmates in small properties has become entirely normal (our former editor James was living in an Inner West terrace with eight other flatmates during COVID, which should give you some indicator of what some Sydneysiders are resorting to).
The rental situation has got leaseholders across Sydney turning wintergardens and studies into extra rooms to try and cram more flatmates and ease the weekly burden… And most of the time, that’s fair play.
But this listing, which popped up on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree before making its way to Reddit and getting totally rinsed, really takes the cake.
The listing, which has now been taken down (presumably because the poster has been sufficiently shamed… Or because someone’s actually taken it), described it as “fully furnished” and “needing one extroverted person for [their] own small, long, narrow, single bed room at CBD George Street area. Short term preferred.”
Let’s call it for what it is: it’s the cupboard under the stairs in an apartment.
The dystopian listing continues: “the ‘Harry Potter’ room with a single bed snuggedly inside also has a tension bar desk, a huge external double storage cabinet and white/pink neon lights for internal atmosphere,” it cheerily advertises. The fact that they even brought up the Harry Potter comparison themselves is pretty shocking.
But here’s the real kicker: they want $300 a week for it. Apparently, that includes all bills and WiFi, they only need 2 weeks bond, and that there’s a “car park space available for an extra $60 per week.” It begs the question: why not just sleep in your car space? You’d get more room…
Other amenities include a washing machine and electric clothes dryer, as well as use of the balcony. The building also boasts a full gym facility, pool, spa, sauna plus a table tennis and pool table area. Don’t worry guys, it’s not just a cupboard! (Can you tell I’m being sarcastic?)
“We are a household of busy workers but when situation permits after working long days love to lay back, have a few drinks together, chat about everything and even sometimes going out together to have fun at local city night clubs and restaurants,” the listing signs off with.
In the UK, they’d call it a ‘box room’. In Hong Kong, they’d call it a ‘coffin cubicle’. Whatever you want to call it, it’s totally ridiculous and dehumanising – especially in a city like Sydney, where space isn’t at a premium as it is in other major cities.
It’s the $300 a week that really gets me. If it was $300 a month, you could argue that it’s a bit of a steal – you know, if you were okay living under the stairs. But $300 a week?
Consider that the average rent for a unit in Newtown – the Inner West’s most popular suburb for renters, barely 5km (or a few train stops) from the CBD and one of Sydney’s cultural hotspots – is $500 a week. Most people don’t rent a unit to themselves, so add only one more flatmate and you’re paying $250 a week… And your quality of life would be much better than being in a cupboard under the stairs in the CBD.
Understandably, Reddit’s /r/sydney has had a field day about this bizarre listing, absolutely savaging the presumed subletter and decrying that this is how bad things have got in the Harbour City.
WATCH how bad rental inspections have become in Sydney below.
“Even Harry Potter had a better room than this sh*t and he was living rent free,” one commenter dryly joked, another adding “Let’s be real. Dobby probably had more spacious living quarters.” Others were more brutal.
“Tell me you live above your means and can’t afford your rent without telling me. As if living in the heart of the CBD is worth living like a peasant?”/u/Danaeger
Others also suggested reporting the room to the fire department and council, which might also be why the listing’s been taken down… Expelliarmus!