M’sians Should Be Concerned Of Small KL Rooms For Rent Because The Future Might Get Worse
If you are currently living on rent in Kuala Lumpur (KL) or are planning to move to the metropolis, you might have experienced scrolling through numerous rooms (or houses) for rent listings on websites like iBilik, PropertyGuru, and so on.
During your casual doomscrolling session, it is almost guaranteed that you came across a rental listing that just did not quite make sense.
From bedrooms that could only be comfortable for a hamster to a dormitory that feels like a morgue, landlords in major cities, including KL, Shah Alam, Cyberjaya, and Subang Jaya would sometimes put up ridiculous advertisements for their properties with absurd price tags for their capitalistic gains.
Netizens are not happy with ridiculous room-for-rent listings
On Thursday, 9 March, SAYS reported that netizens on Twitter have been sharing outrageous room-for-rent advertisements that they found online.
It started with one concerned netizen, @fkadeya, who shared that she has been struggling to find a decent apartment in Shah Alam.
“Nobody told me looking for a house to rent can be triggering. It’s like I’m voluntarily putting myself in a f—ing hamster cage,” she wrote on Twitter.
The woman went on to post a listing that she found online, describing it as unliveable as the space appeared to be very tight and furnished with a single-size bed, a study desk, a chair, and a small cupboard.
Her tweet caught the attention of other Malaysians who joined in and shared other ludicrous rent listings that they saw on the Internet.
A listing for a capsule bedroom in Cyberjaya that was listed for rent at RM290 per month then became the main topic due to it being an extremely small space. The “bedroom” also only fits a single bed, an air conditioner, and a wall lamp.
Appalled by the bedroom layout, some users gave the room a special moniker: the morgue bedroom.
While netizens were having a field day mocking those bedrooms, one question popped up in this writer’s mind, “Should we start feeling concerned?”
The science behind house rentals getting smaller and more expensive over time
If you are questioning the same thing, think of the answer from a more economic perspective.
Many would argue that the economic state of our country is slowly getting better since the introduction of our tenth Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, into office. However, it is still in the recovery phase, and many Malaysians are still struggling to find a decent job, while some are working day and night to make ends meet with the minimum wage that they are making.
According to CNBC, a few years ago, millennials were opting for smaller houses and bedrooms in order to save up cash for other necessities, like owning a car and getting married (this is a real goal for most people).
Seeing this trend, if you are a capitalistic a–hole, you would find a way to find the loophole and still try to exploit their situations for some quick cash.
“So, millennials are only looking for smaller houses? Let’s only build small apartments now and keep the rent price just like any other bigger units. Oh, we’ll call it a residency to make it sound better,” a thought came into a developer’s mind.
With that, we immediately saw the birth of micro-unit bedrooms, just like the images that we shared above.
Developers are seeing smaller houses as a trend thanks to social media
Millennials also made the situation even harder with the introduction of social media applications like TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, where they would always glamourise the small living trend, feeding the developers’ heads with the idea that we want more small apartments.
“Across our 72,000-unit portfolio, we have seen an increasing demand for relatively smaller units,” Toby Bozzuto, CEO of apartment developer the Bozzuto Group, told CNBC.
“We attribute this to a lifestyle shift that is based on our residents’ desire to be less encumbered by things. Our residents value flexibility and convenience and appreciate a thoughtful approach to unit design.”
While millennials might have created this problem, the real enemy is, of course, developers.
With their devilish scheme of making every single house smaller, they do not, and will not intend on reducing the rental price for these homes.
Instead, they would offer other alternatives that are eye-catching to city workers, advertising their buildings with words like “nearby MRT,” “gym and swimming pool available,” and “two parking lots available,” distracting renters from the fact that they are paying RM2,500 a month for a 900sqft apartment with a gym that they use twice a year.
Back in the 2010s, this writer still remembers that she used to live in a three-bedroom landed house that is also right next to an LRT, but the rent was actually cheaper. That house has been stripped in favour of a tall condominium that has studio apartments that can fit two cats to mate in.
We have now discussed some of the reasons why houses are getting smaller, but why are the rental fees getting higher?
Malaysians from smaller states are moving to the big cities to kickstart their careers after the pandemic
University graduates who had their graduation ceremony on Zoom are now finally given the chance to properly start a career and put their bachelor’s degree to good use.
Inspired by classic films like The Devil Wears Prada, many young adults packed up their luggage and left their parents’ homes to pursue the dream of independently living and working in a big city.
This is undeniably one of the reasons why rent prices are getting higher, but we’re not blaming graduates here. You go, girl! Get that bag!
In an article listing 10 crucial factors that influence rental prices, PropertyGuru mentioned that the vacancy rate is one of the leading reasons why rent prices are getting more expensive.
“Areas and properties with higher vacancy rates are usually priced lower—a classic case of supply outstripping demand.
“On the other hand, lower vacancy rates mean more competition among renters,” it wrote.
To put it simply, with the high amount of new aspiring workers moving into the big city while the older generations are also still working past their 60s, property owners are seeing an increased demand for homes, which has led them to put a bigger price tag on their small units.
They have the power to do so, and you can bet your a– that they will use it.
So, what is the future of rooms and houses for rent in Malaysia?
While we cannot guarantee to give you an answer for the future, we can confidently say that developers and property owners will continue to look at current trends when they are building and renting their property.
If the younger generations decide to riot and dance on TikTok while demanding bigger homes, it might actually happen!
With the help of the government, it is possible to see that these silly trends of expensive smaller houses stop.
Credit must also be given when it is due. The tabling of Budget 2023 was applauded by Group Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Juwai IQI, Kashif Ansari, who said that the revised budget will help first-time homeowners afford a house, reported Bernama.
He added that the revised budget included a combination of several initiatives, involving more than RM2.2 billion in spending to improve the quality of the existing housing stock, either through renovation or new construction.
“We support the government’s plan to increase the housing stock,” Khasif said, adding that the measures would result in the construction of over 35,000 new homes for low-income Malaysians.
The initiative introduces new funds for the People’s Housing Program (PPR), the People’s Friendly House Program, and the Malaysian Public Housing Project.
Khasif added that the stamp duty exemption also removes one of the difficulties in home ownership.
“The stamp duty exemption is important because the tax reduces the purchasing power of buyers and discourages people from downgrading or upgrading,” he said.
Following his statement, we hope that the younger generation will find it easier to own a property, so they will be able to give a big middle finger to capitalistic property owners.