Help! Advice needed regarding eviction and rental arrears

Hi all

I have spent a number of hours scanning the threads, but have not found the answers I need. Please if anyone has the time to read through our current situation and has any advice, it would be very much appreciated. Sorry it is VERY long, I am trying to get my head around this all.

Nov 08 we moved out of a 3bdroomed home owned by my parents to move into relatives home temporarily while house that was being built was finished (builder kept saying 3 or 4 more days only)

Dec 08 we helped parents find tenants for 3bdroomed house. We'd taken a few weeks to get out as were trying to find space in parents home for all our furniture as our home was not yet finished. We find out our own tenants in a 2dbroomed unit will be leaving at month end. Late December we are forced to move into mostly finished new home as I flooded parent's home.

Early January 09 we rented out a 2bdrm unit to a well spoken, self employed male with good personal references but whom was living with mother and so had no recent rental references and obviously no-one we could check employment through. He has a ‘sister’ high up in Child Welfare and a ‘brother’ high up in some other government organisation, so they are apparently an educated family and he doesn’t have down and out relatives that might cause trouble. (This is all information he volunteered – we originally thought, “shame, must be hard to be an aboriginal when you’re trying hard and stigma is attached to you”). He had applied for the 3 bedroomed property but we'd offered him the smaller, cheaper 2 bedroomed property as we had chosen other tenants for the larger property. We did this to save on having to advertise, reduce time unit was empty etc. as we were worried about finances with having had to keep paying rent to parents for 3 bedroomed home with new property not finished allowing us to move furniture in. He kept trying to produce cash, offered $5 more per week in rent to 'round off the figures' and wanted to pay for air conditioning to be installed. He paid a $300 deposit when signing lease and we handed over keys and husband signed form for what we now realise was homeswest bond.
(Note: I have always dealt with our tenants, but late December we realised we'd fallen pregnant with 4th child which meant I am bedridden for almost 3 months and so all dealings became my husband's responsibility along with cooking meals, usual 9-5 job and extra child minding. Consequently we were more lax and less organised than we have been.)

Late January we managed to get bond and 2 weeks rent from homeswest.
Husband contacted tenant as often as he remembered until end February as no rent was ever paid by tenant.
Excuses were:
Lost our account details (we had them on 3 of the lease documents). We gave them to him.
Daughter in hospital with leukemia, that's why he'd wanted to move closer to city and also why he's given up his truck driving business as he was working away too much. He's now working for Education department and paperwork is still going through to be paid. (This we believed as I had worked for Education department and had the same problem and my husband had just changed jobs in December in the Health Department and ended up only get his first payment 3 months later - so at the time we were also fighting the government departments for pay)

End of March - After many phonecalls from us to DEpartment of Housing we got 6 months payment taking us to end of February.(Homeswest)
Tenant meets us and signs a statement proposing payment plan with us for 4 weeks rent still in arrears. Insists he’ll be able to begin paying this next fortnight. Didn’t happen, we send warning letter (as we’d like him to stay, just want some rent)
(We had been considering Landlord insurance which we hadn’t taken out previously as previous tenant was a close relative. Now we don’t think it’s going to help as there is already a problematic tenant in there and so we think we will just have to keep going to get him out and then get insurance. (Please advise anyone?) )
Phonecall to him the day he’s supposed to have paid by, he says he still hasn’t been paid as paperwork is still messy. Later in same conversation he says he was sick and so didn’t work 4 days of the previous week and so didn’t get paid enough to pay rent. AHA so we realise he’s up to mischief and IS being paid. We question a window that we see has been broken. We are told there was an attempted burglary and he has a police report number for it. We determine a new date he will pay some by or we will have to send eviction notice.
We phone on the day we expect rent and are told he is on his way to the bank at that moment to pay and will drop off the automatic payment schedule – he never arrives. We are then unable to contact him for 5 days and as we are away for our yearly family camping trip are unable to . He then says he had 3 other bills he had to pay and so couldn’t pay rent (all bills must have been received on the way to the bank obviously and rent is not a ‘bill’). We send eviction notice. (Unfortunately we later realise that we sent a NSW eviction form and not a WA one)

Mid April - We apply for court to get:
• -Termination of lease
• -Possession of property
• -Rental arrears to date.

Early May - We wait 21 days, go to court (tenant doesn’t) and realise the eviction request was not from this state!!!!! Magistrate says we shouldn’t ask for money until they move out and we determine the total amount owing. My husband is confused but magistrate cannot offer any more advice. He asks the clerks where you file for court and they tell him you are only allowed to get one court order for money per tenancy and so magistrate was doing us a favour as if we got a court order for rent in arrears now we wouldn’t be able to keep bond or get remaining rent, damages costs etc. when they move out.
and asks So we start again.
We send form 1B requesting he get out for non payment of rent.

Two days later we receive a phonecall, letter and email from strata company informing us that for the past 6 weeks there have been 2 adults, 7 children and a dog living in the 2 bedroomed unit. (When approaching tenant he says they’re staying a couple of days as wife is ill.???)
• -Police have been called 3 times due to arguments and noise.
• -‘wife’ threw beer cans at window during one argument and that is why it is broken.
• -eldest 2 children 14yrs and 11 year do not attend school as they have been expelled/suspended.
• -younger children are often left along with 8year old in charge
• -sons have graffitied various parts of the complex
• -14yr son owns hunting knife and has cut ropes to another resident’s boat and has hacked plants at front of unit.
• -door, flyscreen and window fly nets to the property have all been broken
• -mail is being stolen
• -dirty nappies are being chucked around and into other people’s bins
• -Elderly lady opposite has been verbally threatened.
• -Large school bus parked in the small residential road causing it to be a one-way and causing many near crashes.

My husband tries to meet with tenant 3 times each time staying late to get to the property at 8pm when the tenant requests or going VERY early in the morning and twice tenant is asleep and wife won’t get him and the other had left for work. Finally a phonecall gets him and tells him we’re expecting him to leave the property by 2 days later or are filing for court again – he sounds full of disbelief and says how is he supposed to find somewhere else to live in only a couple of days (I’m not quite sure what he thinks all our eviction letters are about then?). We send breech notice 20 about all the breeched to the tenancy agreement. (After 14 days we can send for 1C and start eviction/court proceedings for this reason).

We are informed by another owner of a court application form 12 (or 14) section 73 to evict due to fear of personal injury. My husband meets with tenants, get signed statements and files for urgent hearing at same time as filing for usual hearing for non payment of rent (just requesting end of least and possession of property this time). Court clerks don’t seem to understand what to do with form 12 (or 14). A hearing is granted 4 days later. Tenant doesn’t appear. Magistrate dismissed case as statements could be just hearsay and needs witnesses. Photos of property damage are viewed by magistrate and kept. Hearing is adjourned for 3 weeks till we can get a witness to be brave enough to come.

Cops were called this past weekend and tenants told them they were moving out last weekend. They have broken furniture all over the small ‘what used to be lawn’ and carport. Neighbours said a delivery of whitegoods was delivered during the week though. Monday just gone, the cops were called again for noise, fighting and I gather damaged to old lady’s property. Old lady opposite has now had to move to her daughters as her electricity fuses were stolen, her flyscreens slashed and her outdoor furniture wrecked. Tenant’s next door want to break lease and move. Our tenants are still there.

I now realise that our court date for 10 June doesn’t mean they’ll be out soon, but that magistrate can grant up to another 28 days notice (what for??????/) and then if they don’t I have to apply for and pay a bailiff and if he doesn’t work get the cops involved (this info is from Department of consumer and Employment Protection). Then I need to change locks, get rid of rubbish, fix up property, find new tenants and go back to court to try to get rental arrears, access to bond and ‘fixing’ up costs. I get a court order for this. Is this correct? I can’t seem to find from any government body what I actually do with a court order? How do I get him to pay anything?

Least ends 4 July so our 4th chance is for eviction through court for end of lease.

I just can’t believe how this just keeps going on and on. I have phoned so many places for advice, also to try to address some of the problems he and his family are causing for the residents around and nobody seems to be able to do anything. I’m so mad. My husband worked extra shifts for 6 months of last year to save money, we got our lovely Rudd money for 3 children and squirreled that away and he has been saving most of his leave to have time when the baby is born. Now all our savings are virtually depleted and soon we will have to be defaulting on our mortgage payments. Tenant owes $5000 in rent currently and who knows how many weeks this could still go on for and how much damage he could be causing in the meantime? My husband has spent so much time at court, trying to meet with tenant, other owners, on the phone that he has used many of his leave days and for what? Just to keep paying for someone to live rent free. He will have received thousands for all his children in December, his youngest is only 2 moths old so there is another $5000 for that, plus he’s on Centrelink I’ve since been informed by Homeswest for any time he doesn’t work very much, plus the latest Rudd handout for workers.

I have phoned a number of government departments/council about the behaviour of the tenants and this is all I can figure out:
• Bus parked on road –
o I am unable to lodge a complaint form to the council as I do not live at the address. Another owner/tenant who lives at the property and who is affected by the bus being there has to lodge a ‘health and compliance service request form’ which is attached to this email.
• Nappies thrown around and in other people’s bin’s unwrapped –
o Strata agent needs to resolve if it’s causing problems to other residents. Council is not interested, the most they would do is go and tell them to please not do it.
• 8 or 9 people living in 2 bedroomed unit that was only rented to one. –
o This constitutes a breech of lease – owner to resolve through courts using form 20 (which we’ve done and which will take another 5 weeks at least to reach court). If this also breeches strata rules then it is up to the strata manager to try to deal with, also through the civil magistrates court. Child services can be called if anyone has reason to consider neglect of the children, but this I cannot do, it would have to come from someone ‘viewing’ the situation. There seems to be no real health and safety guidelines here apart from a very lenient guideline of minimum requirements for air space needed by a person to breathe. It takes into account bedrooms. The health department would have to measure the bedroom size and the height of the roof. Children require a LOT less breathing space than adults and so it is unlikely they would be breeching anything. If they were, the council would charge the owner anyway and get them to rectify.
• Dog on property –
o Non issue for the council, the owner/strata manager needs to sort out, through the magistrates court if needed.
• Excessive noise, fighting, throwing beer cans etc.
o Police need to be called at the time of the incident. If it is from stereos, radios, air-conditioners and the like, the City if Stirling will get involved by the person who hears it and to whom it affects has to call them: 9345 8555
• Verbal abuse –
o Police are only interested if you phone at the time.
• Child not attending school and owning hunting knife that has hacked off bits of plants and loitered around other people’s property with. –
o Police have to be called IN the moment. A person witnessing could contact the Education Department and get a truancy officer involved.
• Graffiti –
o If it is viewable from the road then the council will clean it up. Someone who is there needs to phone to lodge the complaint.
o If anyone has SEEN them do it, the Police are very interested in graffiti offenders and the number to phone them on is 131444. The police may then fine and possibly go further, involving the Department of Justice.
• Various other difficulties, vandalism and antisocial behaviour are all of strata concern and of a civil matter and need to go through the breech using form 20, termination notice using form 1C and then magistrates court (which I am in the process of doing but which will take a number of weeks yet).
• Litter is a council issue only if they are seen doing it and it is on council/public property.

Ok, my pertinent questions:
What does an eviction order from the court mean and how long might it really take to get him out?
How does he get ‘kicked’ out?
When is it best to have tried to get unpaid rent through the courts?
If I get a court order for unpaid rent, what can I do with it?
Is Landlords Insurance any help if a dispute is already going on?
What else can we/should we have done in this situation?
Hi, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take photos.

You'll most likely get your eviction order. Make sure you don't leave the courtroom without the order.

As to the other costs, brace yourself. You'll be the one to pay.

And bad tenants come in all races. I had a 'nice' white lady with 3 young boys who left a mountain of garbage. I paid $1500 to have someone take away the problem because I felt heartsick to look at the property.

Good luck with the next tenant,
I really feel for you. I don't know what the laws in WA are in this respect, we had to evict a tenant for non payment and it took weeks, they didn't pay rent in that time and judge gave them another 3 weeks to move ( didn't pay then either) Hadn't moved on the day so had to be dragged out by cops and locks changed. Our managing agent took care of ALL of it (no extra management charges for it). before they left the tenants took an axe to every door in the place and left a cubic metre of urine soaked laundry for us! Our landlords insurance covered everything except for 2 weeks rent (which was the excess on the policy) and we got all the bond.

I guess my only advice would be learn from this experience, insure, insure, insure. The little bit of money you save each week from doing it yourself, to me, just isn't worth the hassle. You are obviously kind and caring people but a landlord needs to be result driven and hard as nails! I know that I would always be a soft touch to tenants that's why I have a manager it puts that bit of distance between you andyour tenant.

Some people out there know how to work the system and are repeat offenders. Our tenant (above) left a pile of papers that I went through out of curiosity and there were applications for housing for every shire and city council within a 300km radius of Brissie, and she was only 22.

I really feel for you, chin up and don't let one bad experience put you off investing. Consider it a lesson, learn from it and then let it go. Remember just taking the first step in investing puts you ahead of 90% of the population.:)
OMG - I hope everything does turn out the better for you but what a situation. This really does peeve me though as the media cries foul about mean landlords etc, but what about the bad tenants. It would be great, that we as landlords could counter the bad publicity that we get and show the public what we have to put up with. Considering that it is our money, our lifeline, our welfare and our financial reputation at stake, then why can't the shoe be on our foot - instead of the tenants. We are the ones that are investing the money to provide the housing so why aren't we are the ones that are being "respected".

But back to the situation at hand, as already mentioned, take photogrpahs of as much as you can. Do a drive by of your place and photograph it. It would be great if you could show before and after shots (isn't hindsight a wonderful thing).

Also document everything, keep a journal with dates names etc, include who you spoke to, what you have done etc. Keep copies of all court orders with this journal. Basically, have a full diary of everything you have done and then present that to the magistrate. This may not give you immediate help now but it may assist later on down the track.

Good luck.

-Eviction court order: in our case the court gave tenant 2 weeks to get out of the house. Usually a PM would be there but if tenants refuse PM arranges for a bailiff (i think thats what they're called) to come along and escort them out and change all the locks.

-We submitted paperwork through the Magistrates Court immediately to try and get our rent arrears paid. Be warned though, this process has been USELESS for us because you need a CURRENT PHYSICAL RESIDENTIAL address of your lovely tenants in order to go through this process properly and get anything out of it. First court date tenant rocked up and gave her story to magistrate who then asked her how much she could afford to repay each week...she said $50 so magistrate said $50 it is! 2 repayments later and no more money was coming in so back to court we went although this time she didn't rock up...magistrate said 'lets make another court date and hopefully she rocks up then". Did that and she didn't rock up again so we PAID :)mad:) for a warrant of her arrest.....waited a few weeks whilst the sherrif tried to arrest her but then found out that can't be done because tenant no longer lives where she was living (with friends) and that because we don't have an address for her the courts can't proceed any further. Thats the end of that basically! We've gone to private investigators but they were useless because everything is protected under privacy act blah blah blah. You should be able to claim your losses through your Landlords Insurance...we were only able to get half back because we failed to collect a bond (lesson in itself). Bottom line is if you don't know where your tenant will be living or moving to after he is kicked out then its going to be an awfully painful process to get anything back from him.
what a nightmare. this is a side issue but have you thought of going to a current affair or one of those sensationalist shows? they may be interested in showing the 'other' side.

a message for dazz or anyone else with balls and determination; isn't it time for someone with the time and inclination to start a landlord's lobby group? there are just SO many instances of landlords being screwed and imminent changes will only make it worse.
a message for dazz or anyone else with balls and determination; isn't it time for someone with the time and inclination to start a landlord's lobby group? there are just SO many instances of landlords being screwed and imminent changes will only make it worse.

Wha ?? Don't involve me.

It's so far removed from a proper money making business it's not funny.

Don't fret lifelonglearner, there's oodles of experienced Landlord's on this forum who just love renting houses and units. They'll be along any minute now with solutions to all of your problems.
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I used to respect you Dazz, but I am tired of your smug little comments that seem to try to (and sadly may succeed for some less experienced posters) belittle those who want to get ahead in investing in residential property whilst at the same time inflate your own ego as the "smart cooke" who gave that rubbish away to do something "much better".

It was getting to the stage where as soon as I saw your name I skipped that post as it very rarely offered anything constructive, just your clever comments (because you are a good writer) with the underlying theme being "you resi investors are fooling yourselves if you think you are on a good thing"

It's a shame because you have achieved so much by doing what you do, but you know what? not everyone has the talent or wherewithal to go the path you have gone and it is a shame that instead of your mocking little responses you could have either not bothered to respond or used your vast knowledge, intelligence and experience to acutally help out a bit.

Those that know me on this forum know that I rarely get into anything contentious and I am surprised I am even writing this, but I have been thinking about it for some time and this last post was I suppose the straw blah blah blah

I guess I just wanted to say Dazz, that you are obviously a very smart man who has done what he had to do to set himself and his family up for a wonderful secure life and I know that so many people on this forum look up to you and really really admire what you have done and told you so on many occassions. I wonder if I am just writing what many others may be thinking, that is Dazz, it is annoying when it appears you are going straight to the Property Management threads to see what funny little gem you can post on them that (from your view) shows how ridiculous it is to think residential property is a good investment.

If others don't agree with me I will soon hear about it :eek:
it's hard tho to read that post and think that this is all worth it. By all means start out with resi but I think all investors should be looking to spread their wings asap

all that effort for what... a 3 or 4% gross yield? that's irrelavant now anyway, this episode will see the yield destroyed for probably the best part of 2 years
I agree this situation you are in is a nightmare. I don't know how things proceed in your state, but the only advice I could give would be to put your head down, do whatever you need to do to follow due proceedings to get them out. Possibly let some of the affected neighbours know that unless they are prepared to report things, the process will take longer. Put all your efforts into keeping good time lines and records, take photos if possible, arm yourself with as much ammunition as possible, and push to have the hearing as early as you can.

Not much else you can do really, apart from getting someone big and rough to turf them out, which is illegal and dangerous, and not something I would ever do, even though it would be tempting.

We have only ever had one lot of tenants like this, where neighbours were scared to report anything. It took us a lot longer to get them out than if the neighbours had been prepared to call the police, but I understand why they didn't because this chap was on speed, and pretty much out of control, and quite scary. We just documented everything, issued notices as soon as rent was behind, until eventually we were about to book a tribunal hearing, but he and his girlfriend and mate moved out the day before we had to book it. I had arranged for the police to come around with me the next morning but we saw them moving the day before, so that wasn't necessary.

They left us with a skip full of rubbish to clean up and some minor damage to the house which insurance paid for.

I know many on this forum have had bad experiences with tribunals, but the only two times I have had experience were when mum took tenants there, and in both cases, mum came out the winner, so my views are biased the other way. Perhaps we have just been lucky, but both times the "judge" seemed to be able to accurately pick up on the "real" story.

You are no doubt going to be left with a mess to clean up. Unfortunately, without insurance, you will have to "make good" and try to get anything out of the former tenant. You probably will have no chance, and to be honest, I am not sure I would even try.

It is a lesson learnt and one that many landlords have learnt in the past. We often chose not to have landlord insurance, and in our early days, we couldn't afford it anyway, so we took a few risks. We tend to pay for it now, but when we have good tenants, I still think it is money wasted, but I still pay it, and understand that it is not wasted, but a cost of doing business.

Keep on this loser's back, keep everything documented, get him out as soon as you possibly can and then, fingers crossed, you may never have another tenant like him again.

I don't know if you can somehow get your PM to issue a notice because the house is "uninhabitable" or can somehow make up something like that (pull out the fuses? cut the water supply accidentally?). It seems silly that the police cannot just drag the lot of them out on the street.

Is there a tenants union or similar in your state. If so, they could perhaps advise you of ways to get him out sooner than having to wait for the tribunal to get around to it.

Anyway, good luck, people are emphathising with you, because we have all had bad tenants at some stage.
Lifelong Learner

I feel your pain .. having been in a similar position less than a month ago.

But we had a PM who was efficient and with inputs from Collector and Skater on this forum, we were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and tenant is now almost up to date.

Might help if you spoke first hand to another landlord in WA or a Property Manager there. Find someone on this forum who invests in WA and pm them.

Re - Landlord's insurance, best you call your insurer asap and check whether it covers you. I'm hoping it does.

And remember, this is all part of the game. Nobody said it would be moonlight and roses all the way. Most days are better - keep the faith.


I so agree with Petal and Wylie, having learned long ago 'when you have nothing positive/constructive to contribute, it best that you say nothing'.
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If others don't agree with me I will soon hear about it :eek:

Then who would be the one to point out the very big grey elephant in the room with a nasty habit of soiling the carpet, putting holes in the walls, tearing the doors off their hinges and leaving you to clean up the mess? :p

We could all just sit around and convince each other how great RIPs are and how they're the best way to make money around BUT that's not what I want from a property investing forum that aspires to assist people make the best property choices they can to secure their financial future...

If one tenth of the posters on here shared half as much useful, nitty gritty detail on property investing that Dazz has this forum would be a much more useful place and we would all likely be wealthier to boot...

I'm more than happy for Dazz to have some fun playing with elephants if he wants to!

And now back to the thread...
Then who would be the one to point out the very big grey elephant in the room with a nasty habit of soiling the carpet, putting holes in the walls, tearing the doors off their hinges and leaving you to clean up the mess? :p

I am not disagreeing with this but if one were to take any notice of Dazz, just about every tenant is like this but the truth is that they are in the minority.

But I have said my bit and if Dazz gets his rocks off posting as he does then he can go for it, I can't and don't care to change what he does, I will just form my own opinion on the whole thing and keep reading and contributing to the forum where I can.

I am sorry to have hijacked this thread and also apologise for not being able to add anything constructive to assist for this one.
Is Landlords Insurance any help if a dispute is already going on?

Unlikely - it would be like getting health insurance once diagnosed with a major illness.

Try to see it from a big picture perspective - it's a minor hiccup in your journey (compared to some other stuff that can happen).

Perhaps the bright side might be that you might just be able to put some very lowball offers to the owners of the other units :D


The Y-man
How did dazz purchase his first comm property?

Oh yeah thats right with the equity built up in 7 residential properties.

How did his family get involved in their first comm IP?

Oh yeah thats right with equity built up in their residential properties.

To the original poster,

make sure you have LL insurance next time
Thanks to all, at least for commiserating.

I took Dazz' comments to be about a Landlord's lobby group and would agree, although I've since found two online Australian ones, just they cost a heap and so at the moment I don't know whether I would join.

Can I please just restate my one question, that is if you get a court order demanding repayment of any money, how the heck it is enforced? Do you then have to go and see debt collectors or something? If so has anyone had any experience with them?

Half of me would love to take it to TV and get their faces blown up all over the screen and hopefully stop them renting again, but I'm too chicken. I am just a good little citizen that follows the rules and hates confrontation, and this has caused enough stress on our marriage and family life already without having reporters and TV cameras around.

Also, can anyone tell me whether there is an alternative to giving tenants your residental street address. FRom what I've tried to read from all over the place we HAVE to and can't give a P.O. box address. (I just feel so vulnerable). What about if you use a PM (which we haven't), can they just put their P.O. Box? What does it take to register/train as a PM so that I can just put my P.O. Box on paperwork instead of my actual house.

Y-man - what an awesome idea - thinking outside the box.

I would imagine that debt collectors would probably be the best option for you. I have no idea how much they cost though but be prepared to lose at least 20-25% of the amount in lost rent to the debt collectors (that being their commision).

Let your fingers do the walking and give some a call and see what they say. I'd be interested to hear what their options are.

In reality though, considering the type of people involved etc, i cannot imagine you having much luck in getting a court order for the money enforced. If that were to happen, then you would be plastered as being mean, racist, discriminatory etc - all because the guilty party may say that you are harrasing them and causing financial hardship and putting a family (and a dog and school bus) out on the street. Regardless if you are in the right. That's the bit that stinks i think.

As for the PO Box - thats a new one to me. I would never put my residential address on any document. I always use PMs anyway, but even so, I would never put my residential address anywhere.

Hope this helps