Bond Claim /other side of the fence

From: Adam Randall


Hello
My Girlfriends parents recently moved out of a rental property after 2 years there. They left the place cleaner than when they moved in, to give you an example of how tidy they are, they put spare carpet over the top of the landlords carpet so that it would reduce wearing (wish my tenants were that good).
Anyway the Landlord has decided to keep the entire bond. The reasons are as follows.
10 hours washing walls (who washes walls every 2 years, +ongoing inspection says they were dirty and marked to start with).
10 hours for him and his brother in law to prune fruit trees (thought this was the landlords responsibility , its not mentioned in the lease)
claimed 7 hours for washing cement driveway, and several other silly claims. I have advised them to go to the tenancy tribunal.
My questions are am I allowed to represent them at the tribunal (they do not know there rights and I'm worried they will get walked over by this landlord).
Has anyone been to the tribunal before (my property managers have always gone fore me), and is there any advise that can be given. If it was just the money I would not be bothered, however I really dislike seeing honest people being treated like this, I would kill to have tenants like these in my properties, and am disgusted that a Landlord could act in such a money grabbing fashion. On reflection maybe there is a good reason why tribunals seem to favour tenants.
Regards Adam
 
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Reply: 1
From: Duncan M


Adam,

I assume from your email address you're in SA?

Absolutely you can accompany your parents to the tribunal and speak with them or on their behalf.

You need to be very prepared, get comparative quotes for the work that was completed demonstrating that the claim is exorbitant etc.. the BEST preparation you can do is read as many transcripts of the Tribunal Cases as you can, you will start to get a feel for what is and isnt acceptable. There's a lot of transcripts online at:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/sa/SARTT/

They are about 8months behind, given the act hasnt changed in that time the cases online are more than enough to get a feel for things.. Take everything with you, all lease documents, inspection sheets, comparative quotes etc..

Regards,

Duncan.
 
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Reply: 2
From: Robert Forward


Hi Adam.

I have had a visit to the rental Tribunal in QLD as a tenant. My Landlord used similar claims against myself and flatmate.

The whole event for us was tense, but it was the landlord that had his butt kicked at the end of the day.

The tribunal do take into account the fact of "normal wear and tear" in rental properties and usually throw these stupid claims out. My x-landlord not only went for the bond but another $500 too.

Not to sure if you can represent your parents but my advise is to get sworn affidavits from people that can verify the quality of the tenants. You are allowed to have witnesses in the proceeding (in QLD anyway) and these can be a large help.

My suggestions would be to get as much down in writing in the form of affidavits (which can be purchased an news agencies) as possible. Especially about your parents putting carpet over the top of the landlord carpets. This would be a really good additive for you case.

Anyway, just my thoughts after having been through this myself.

Cheers
Robert
 
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Reply: 1.1
From: Darren Kittelty


Adam,

Recently we had a experience where the landlord try to claim over $2000 worth of ridiculous expenses from us. We went to the tribunal, and I think that you'll find them very fair. All you need to do is prove that the condition of the property when you left is better or the same as when you moved in. This can be done with the original condition report for the property when you moved in. Also the estate agent (whom I know is not on your side) will have pictures of the property before you moved in, and if you have any pictures as well these will be handy.

Most importantly the onus will be on the landlord to prove that the property was left in a worse state of repair than when you moved in. If there is no evidence (particularly photographs), then the claim will most likely be thrown out. He will get to put his argument forward first, and then after he's completely finished you will get to put forward your rebuttal to his story. (This may differ from state to state, as I'm in Victoria). Make sure that you take a close look at any before and after photographs, as these will be the important evidence in the hearing.

Good Luck with the hearing, and I hope that the good guys win.

Dazza
 
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Sim

Administrator
Reply: 2.1
From: Sim' Hampel


In South Australia, the residential tenancies regulations state that "normal wear and tear" is acceptable and that landlords cannot withhold bond money as a result of this.

Furthermore, for the same reason, things like having carpets steamed cleaned on vacating the premesis is NOT (contrary to popular belief) a requirement of the tenant. This is irrespective of whether the landlord had them steamed cleaned before you moved in.

We were challenged on this by our landlord upon moving out of our unit in Adelaide, and when we pointed out the relevant sections of the regulations, our bond money was repaid in full with no further questions.

I do not know what the regulations are elsewhere (I know that SA is comparitively more tenant-friendly than most other states), but as landlords and/or tenants, I feel it is really worthwhile educating yourself at to what your rights and obligations REALLY are, not what everybody thinks they should be.

For example, when I queried all my friends and colleagues about the carpet cleaning issue in Adelaide, pretty much all of them said you just have to do it. They didn't have a clue !

Of course, things like stains or significant damage to the carpet that wasn't present when you began living there are a different matter, as these go beyond "normal wear and tear".

Cleaning walls ? Harumph - what a lot of baloney.

Sim'... landlord, tenant, and greedy-bastard-hater.

 
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Reply: 3
From: Adam Randall


Thanks to everyone for all the advise.
Duncan I have been to the Law site you mentioned (great site), and we have inserted case numbers and rulings with regards to what the landlord is claiming, and what the Tribunal has ruled in the past on these claims (pruning etc).
I feel a bit more confident now. I know the property manager works for the landlord, however I am surprised he is even taking this to the tribunal, If I put this sort of thing forward to my manager I think she would show me the door, anyway I will post the outcome either way after its all settled regards Adam
 
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Reply: 3.1
From: Ian Parham


G'day Sim & All
Just a quickie on the carpet cleaning.
On my leases I have put the steam cleaning in as an 'extra condition'...the property mgr and tenants have been receptive to this.
Yes, it could always be challenged in the tribunal I suppose.
Cheers Ian
 
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Reply: 3.1.1
From: Alan Hill


Ian,

I think from memory, the Rental Book you are required to give the tenant(and them sign for under REINSW standard lease agreement) even states as an example that carpet cleaning etc is not enforcible by the owner/managing agent and this probably even overrides any special conditions. May be worth checking further.
 
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Reply: 3.1.1.1
From: Ian Parham


'Evening Alan & All
Thanks for feedback Alan. I must apologise, the properties I was referring to are in Adelaide...managed by an agent. I am not aware of a requirement there for the handbook...(although Sim or Duncan may be able to shed some light on that).
Fortunately to date I haven't been challenged by tenants re: carpet cleaning. As I say, they and the agent have been receptive.
My thinking is that if special clauses are put into lease agreements and subsequently initialled...then they should be honoured. However, as mentioned, it would probably be a different ball game if it was to go to tribunal.
Cheers Ian
 
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Sim

Administrator
Reply: 3.1.1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel


Like I said, probably hasn't been challenged because of ignorance on the tenants side more than anything else.

 
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