By Savanna Young For Daily Mail Australia
01:46 20 Mar 2023, updated 03:17 20 Mar 2023
An influencer and reality star has been forced to vacate her apartment in Sydney‘s east after her landlord increased her rent amid the city’s rental crisis.
Bella Varelis, who was a finalist on Locky Gilbert‘s season of The Bachelor in 2020, says she has no choice but to move out of her Vaucluse unit because of the prohibitively expensive rent and allegedly poor standard of property management.
The 28-year-old slammed her landlord for increasing her rent ‘by $400’ per week and claimed they never fixed faults with the home.
‘Not moving out because I want to, but my owner never fixed anything in this place and then tried to put the rent up by $400 a week so it was a hard no for me,’ she said on Instagram on Sunday.
‘The only good thing about this place was the view.’
Ms Varelis went on to list the issues she’d been having with the apartment.
‘The dishwasher was broken, [the] fly screens were broken, [the] top lock on the door was broken, [the] oven had no symbols on the dials for temperature, [and] the balcony door never closed properly,’ she said.
‘[It] was actually horrible but it served a purpose in my life for the last year.’
The top-floor two-bedroom apartment is currently available to rent for $1,150 per week with a $4,600 bond.
According to its listing, the property boasts ‘wonderful ocean views’ and a ‘kitchen with modern appliances, including a dishwasher’.
There is no mention of the dishwasher being broken.
Ms Varelis’ rental issues come six months after she split from her photographer ex-boyfriend Will Stokoe in September last year.
Rumours circulated last December they had rekindled their romance after they were spotted out for dinner together in Sydney.
But if they did get back together, the reunion was short-lived because Ms Varelis later said on Instagram she was single and not looking to settle down anytime soon.
At the time of announcing the pair’s split, the model said she was going through a ‘tough time’ adjusting to life without Mr Stokoe.
‘Personally, I’m not coping well, so if you could please respect our privacy and give us some space during this time it would be much appreciated,’ she said.
Ms Varelis said she initially wanted to keep their split private, but had no choice but to address it publicly due to her celebrity status and the ‘constant questions’ from fans.
‘I feel like it’s best to answer this once so the prying will stop because it’s really affecting me by being asked about this daily,’ she said.
‘Will and I decided to take some time apart and go our separate ways to focus on ourselves.
‘We have so much love and respect for each other but this is just what’s best for both of us now.’
Ms Varelis shot to fame on The Bachelor in 2020, placing runner-up on Locky Gilbert’s season.
Gilbert chose nurse Irena Srbinovska as his winning contestant, and the couple tied the knot in Melbourne earlier this month.
Call for Australia to freeze rents for two years in light of the country’s cost of living crisis – as one landlord rents out his BALCONY for $300 per week
The Greens recently proposed a nationwide rent freeze for the next two years to curb the cost of living crisis – rejecting criticism from some experts that the plan could cause trigger a mass landlord sell-off.
The suggested plan comes amid a national cost of living crisis with rents rising seven times quicker than wages – according to a recent analysis – with shocking examples coming to light of landlords even renting out their balconies as rooms in the major cities for $300 a week.
Max Chandler-Mather, a Greens MP for Griffith in Brisbane’s south, argues that the controversial policy would provide renters with some stability and relief amid soaring prices across the board.
The minor party are also calling on the government to end no-grounds evictions as part of its suite of proposals – all of which have been blanked by the Labor government.
Labor is instead arguing in favour of its Housing Australia Future Fund, injecting $10billion into building 30,000 more homes in the span of five years – which Mr Chandler-Mather argued would provide little to no relief for tenants.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia about the housing crisis and the government’s response, Mr Chandler-Mather said: ‘An emergency two-year freeze on rent increases will give everyday renters’ incomes a chance to catch up.’
Earlier this month, Mr Chandler-Mather asked a question to Dr Chalmers, referring to recent analysis which determined renters would pay an extra $10billion to landlords this year in rental hikes.
He said: ‘Will the government finally agree to do the same for rents and put a freeze on rent increases on the National Cabinet agenda as well as doubling rent assistance in the budget to help stop this mounting crisis?’
Dr Chalmers skirted around the question, instead pointing to Labor’s housing fund.
‘I don’t think it’s any secret to anyone in this place that we don’t have enough rental properties in this country,’ Dr Chalmers said.
‘Vacancy rates are incredibly low. Rents are far too high.
‘We recognise that Australians are under the pump. We recognise that Australian renters are particularly doing it tough in the context of low vacancy rates and unacceptably high rents.
‘The best way to deal with that is to build more properties, and that’s what we intend to do.’
Mr Chandler-Mather later described the answer as a non-response.
‘The Treasurer didn’t answer my question on the rental crisis because Labor doesn’t have a single policy to help the millions of renters facing another $10 billion worth of rent increases this year alone,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Labor’s Housing Australia Future Fund does nothing for renters, locks in half a billion dollars in cuts to housing funding, and will see the shortage of social and affordable housing grow to over 680,000 homes in five years.
And on his Facebook page, Mr Chandler-Mather doubled down on that criticism, stating: ‘It’s time for Labor to stop making decisions that will make the housing crisis worse.’
But there are vocal critics of such measures, who suggest rent freezes actually put tenants at increased risk of long term homelessness.
Propertyology head of research Simon Pressley spoke about the shortfalls of the proposal when it was first raised, explaining that landlords are unlikely to accept any cap on their earning potential.
‘Lots of them are already fed up from being consistently squeezed,’ he told Your Investment Property.
‘Many landlords will sell and tens of thousands of tenants will be displaced and will have nowhere else to go. When that happens, the blood will be on the hands of politicians who refused to support rental supply policies.’
And while the idea is seductive – particularly for tenants – there are concerns that if landlords all suddenly decide against renting them out, it could spell disaster.
Mr Chandler-Mather told Daily Mail Australia even that would be a win-win scenario, and something his party has considered.
The Greens’ proposal would include taxing vacant properties and phasing out negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions in addition to the rent freeze.
As a result, Mr Chandler-Mather said, ‘even where an investor tried to leave their property vacant it would be taxed, pushing them to either sell to a renter or rent out their property.
‘At the end of the day many people who want to buy their first home are being locked out by sky-high house prices and wealthy investors hoarding properties.
‘If investors don’t want to see reasonable caps on rents, they can sell their investment properties and allow a renter to buy their first home.’
Dr Chris Martin, Senior Research Fellow from the UNSW City Futures Research Centre, also addressed the proposal last year.
In an article written for the university, Dr Martin argued housing is often utilised as a means to grow wealth, rather than necessity.
‘There should be regulation of rents in principle because everyone needs housing, and the consequences of not having it are dire,’ he said.
Mr Chandler-Mather surveyed 500 renters in his electorate of Griffith and found that 75 per cent supported freezing further increases.
He said: ‘More broadly we have been overwhelmed with messages from renters across the country encouraging us to keep pushing the government to act.’
As part of the plan, following the two-year freeze, landlords would only be permitted to implement a two per cent increase every second year.
The current rental crisis was put on full display last month when a Sydney landlord advertised his balcony as a room available to rent for $300.
The tiny room, which is barely big enough to hold a single bed, generated ‘a lot of interest’ according to the landlord, who specified the tenant must be ‘one boy’ and must list their nationality.