‘When did Harry Potter move out?’ Cupboard for rent on the Gold Coast
A rental listing for a walk-in wardrobe converted into a tiny windowless room in a Gold Coast unit has drawn a mixed response, with many comparing the space to the cramped conditions endured by J.K. Rowling’s fictional boy wizard Harry Potter.
But at $180 a month — or $45 a week — compared to the Gold Coast median rental price of $775 a week, others deemed the controversial listing an affordable option for those most in need.
An advertisement for the “fully furnished” room in a centrally located Gold Coast unit complex was removed from social media platforms after it was revealed the space did not meet the requirements for a “habitable room” as defined by Australian Building Codes.
Converted closet to rent on the Gold Coast
A photo posted with the ad showed a narrow, dimly lit space with a single bed against one wall, a small portable clothing rack, and a set of plastic drawers.
The description read: “5G internet and bills are included. Unit is modern clean and tidy, with pool, gym. You will share your bathroom. Off-street parking. Fully furnished.”
It drew hundreds of impassioned responses:
“When did Harry Potter move out?” (The hugely popular character lived in a cupboard under the stairs in his mean aunt-and-uncle’s home before moving to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.)
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint twenty years ago in the first Harry Potter film Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Picture: Supplied
“Is that a prison cell?,” said another.
“It’s sad that it has come to this. Vultures feeding on the down and out.”
The original poster confirmed the room was actually a walk-in closet, but countered: “[It’s] better than sleeping in the car mate.”
His sentiment was echoed by a few other members of the marketplace forum.
“It’s a dry place for someone with no money,” read one comment.
“This would be a refuge for some people and in today’s market the rent is very reasonable, although I do believe by law a bedroom has to have a window.”
That’s more like it … lot of natural light here.
According to the National Construction Code, the definition of a “habitable room” excludes, among other areas, a walk-in wardrobe, corridor, hallway and “other spaces of a specialised nature occupied neither frequently nor for extended periods”.
A habitable room must also have a window providing natural light, unless it benefits from “borrowed light”, that is, adjoins another room which is open to direct sunlight.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) CEO Antonia Mercorella said the community was “acutely aware of Queensland’s rental crisis”.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe upgraded from the cupboard under the stairs to this Toorak apartment sold in 2022.
Vacancy rates on the Gold Coast sat below 1 per cent from December 2020 until recently picking up to 1.2 per cent in the June 2023 quarter, but were still far from the “healthy” marker of between 2.6 to 3.5 per cent.
Gold Coast rooms to rent advertised on Flatmates.com.au ranged from $100 a week for a bed in a sharehouse in Norwell on the city’s rural outskirts, to $655 a week to share a two-bedroom flat in Southport.
Ms Mercorella said while the REIQ was an “advocate for innovative solutions to help house Queenslanders”, homeowners should reference relevant regulations before renting out a room.
“We have been calling for greater education around how people can free up rooms in their homes or granny flats and rent them out in a way that is legally compliant,” Ms Mercorella said.
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“To do so, people need the relevant tools, resources and information to alleviate any fears of breaching laws, impacting insurance or copping capital gains tax.
“While people may be trying to be helpful in rental crisis, it’s important to understand that there are certain legal and statutory obligations that must be met in order for a room to be fit for habitation and legally classified as a bedroom including ceiling height, room size and the availability of natural light and ventilation,” she said.
A furnished room in this Ormeau share house will set you back $330 a week.
Tenants wanting to rent out a room in their rental property must first gain consent from the property owner as this may constitute a sub-letting arrangement.
The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) can provide assistance to Queenslanders looking to rent out a room within their home legally, taking into account local government area regulations, Ms Mercorella said.
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