I Have Been Breached By My Tenant - Need Help!

Hello

This is my maiden post regarding tenants who have finally vacated our property.

Ultimately, we have two issues :

1. Months ago they breached us for a mountain of issues as we declined doing work they requested that was totally unnecessary. It was part of their "wish list". As such, we, along with our two property managers, and the Principal have slaved hours over researching & confirming we have done everything necessary & legally required (there was nothing). We have not been ordered to do anything by any authority, simply received a recommendation regarding rain water tanks - which is a personal preference anyway.

After 3 mediations with a Registrar where the tenant was not prepared, we were still ordered to sit before a Magistrate where we had NO notice, but the tenant requested the original breach be amended (as in ignore everything they first claimed), they asked to vacate (great!) and gave us a list of compensation claims. I suggested, and the Magistrate & tenant agreed I would deal direct with the male tenant (as the wife is verbally abusive, has Asperger's Syndrome & is delusional - as I pointed out to the Magistrate). To me, this is a simple matter where the tenants think they should be compensated for items they believe are not to their 'standard'. The only way we're going to get through it is if they talk to me direct. That was four weeks ago & they still haven't responded to my emails indicating they've been too busy in that time to deal with it.

2. Since they vacated on Monday, I, aswell as our property managers & employed contractors to check the property believe they emptied 60,000 gallons of rain water out of tanks that were full only 4 weeks ago.

I believe they are pathological liars, professional scammers, both been on fraudulant worker's compensation, and within the last month I have divulged information which cancelled her claims and are no longer receiving insurance.

She's also threatened to slash her wrists if anyone goes onto the property, call the police if we go near the house even with written notice, threatened to live in the house for six months if we don't sign off on a written reference they asked us to sign etc. We gave honest & current rental references and are also considering suing us because one of those agencies that rang have blacklisted them for lying to them about other things.

I'm in WA. Yes we have insurance. Yes, our property managers are fantastic......but WHO in their right mind CAN deal with people like this?!

I know you don't know us, but we sleep at night, have no dirt on us, are completely transparent and need help. As it's in the Magistrate's Court of WA, we can get legal advice but not legal representation. I have contacted every Western Australian disabled helpline & government department they have contacted to find out what advice they've been given & I keep being told, I need to pay for legal advice. Only the tenant can get free legal advice or advice from them.

I have no problem in speaking my mind and will be doing everything in my power to ensure this NEVER happens to anyone else, ever again. I believe it is the right thing to do. Although this is only a snippet of everything we've been through during their tenancy, this is all that matters as this is what they're suing us for, and then left us with no water for the new tenant.

Actually, they are threatening to apply for a personal injuries claim for $70,000 aswell for breaking her finger falling down our stairs, claiming it's illegal, when it's not.......it's also the reason she was on worker's compensation.

We don't actually know who the tenant is renting off. We gave over 5 telephone references between us all. We know for a fact they were rejected three times. We can only presume they've lied on their application to get a property.

* Has anyone had an experience with a tenant who has a mental health issue?

* Can anyone recommend a property lawyer in Western Australia

I wouldn't wish mental illness on anyone, but they are "without clarity" and their alligations are preposterous. I will strenuously protect our good name in the community and professional reputation. To say their reputation is in peril is an understatement. They are attempting to sue us for alot of money. I will obviously do all I can to stop it.

Thank you for your time. Hope there's someone out there who may be able to help.
 
I can tell this has been a nightmare, Kath, but in telling us all the story, it's not immediately apparent to me what specific help you're seeking. Threats to sue you etc should be ignored. Have you been served with court papers? If so, what do they say? Then we may be able to assist you specifically.

But unless you have been served with papers, I'd just mentally put this incident behind me and move on. Threats are often empty, and I hope that's the case here. :)
 
Kath

It sounds like they do this for a living.
Did they actually pay any rent while they lived in your property?

I think in regards to item 1, I'd pass the evidence of your attempts to contact them to a solicitor and let him write a final letter.

In regards to claims, I'd contact the insurer and inform them in writing that these guys are claiming x $ and the insurer will probably have an advisory section to assist you handle this the right way.

Finally, if these guys approach you again I'd make sure there is a witness present and if they call you,
try to postpone the discussion till you have a witness present and put the call on speakerphone.

Also, your insurer will not want you to accept any liability and I'd politely tell them to talk to my solicitor.

Good luck
 
Like Ozperp said, I can tell that you have been through a lot, but I am unsure what it really is. The facts I can gain are:

Tennants emptied a water tank
They are looking to rent elsewhere but are having trouble
They have mentioned that they are going to sue you for a broken finger

Other than those points, I really am at a loss.

Try to get your thoughts together without the emotion. I know its hard, but it will make things so much easier for anyone to sit down and look at the scenario objectively.

Is the property damaged? Is it able to be retenanted? If so, then get new tenants in, this will mitigate financial risk. If you need to refill the water tank, then do it.
 
Thanks for your replies

I truly thank you for your prompt replies. If I told you everything, I'd need my own forum! The emotion part, well, I'm doing my best. I've even been an actress at times "doing the right thing" to keep the peace. I wrote my post openly. I certainly don't write like this when I've dealt direct with the tenant. It's all professional. Apart from one meeting at the property, I only deal with the tenant via email, or through the agent, IN WRITING!

I was previously a licensed real estate agent in WA & a property management administrator but have never in my time experienced this!

We've kept our insurance company up to date with EVERYTHING. They've noted everything & have been so helpful. Even they've told me to relax & can't do anything until they attempt to sue for personal injury. Who'd go up against SGIO doing their own independant investigation?!

They've always maintained the property and always paid the rent, until they breached us. They owe a bit of rent, I'm paying to get the carpets done & fill the water tanks. It's 60,000 litres. The property is independant so has it's own water supply....well it did. We're applying to the courts to get it from the bond. Even then, then bond doesn't cover the costs and we need to prove they let the water out.

* We have a current breach against us. The next mediation before trial is set for the end of this month.

I want to know if anyone can assist or have ideas how I can use the tenants mental issues against them as they don't have the capacity to deal with this. Has anyone had to deal with mental health issues before?

I hope you don't think badly of me, but they're suing me. They are delusional. The husband told me about all these mental issues 2 days before we went to court. They've also lied so many times, and in writing that I don't actually believe anything they say.

We have a line up of people wanting to rent the property so I'm not worried about renting it out again.

My own brother didn't even believe most of what I just recently told him about the tenants until I made him look through my emails.

I'm still a little nervous & embarrassed about submitting this post as it does seem far fetched, but hey, I'M DESPERATE! Hopefully our legal advice will come through on Monday. Will keep you posted anyway.

Thanks again
 
Kath,
We see it here all the time.
We have been threatened lots of times.
Once a tenant did see a lawyer, not sure what came of it, as we changed insurance copmanies.They were going to pay out, just cause it was cheaper !!! We weren't going to be a part of it.
We just had a tenant move. She is bipolar and her doctors note states she is senitive to heat and cold.Well, that's not our fault. She had control of the air con and furnace.

Really, tenants bluff all the time.Wait until they actually serve you.
 
Even if the Magistrate orders us to pay a cent, our insurance company will do their own investigation (this is for the current Breach against us). Out of principal, and fact from our own knowledge & investigations against the things we do know of in their compensation claims, WE WILL NOT accept any order to pay anything! I understand the thought of paying someone out to get rid of them, but I have plenty of time on my hands and if I'm the one that has to stop them in their tracks, so be it. "It's un-Australian"! I won't let it happen!

You're right Kathryn, it's not our fault they have mental issues, so I shouldn't be the one who's punished for it.

Thanks so much for your reply. Although I wish this never happens to anyone, it's nice to know how of similar experiences. That's why we're all here I suppose.

Cheers
 
Hi Kath


Firstly, I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time with these people. They may very well have mental health issues but even so they shouldn't be allowed to use it as an excuse and treat you so appallingly.

It sounds like they are taking advantage at the same time as having a disability to contend with and perhaps this is how they live their lives, lurching from one crisis to the next. It appears they are attempting to make you responsible for their own misfortune.

I hear what you are saying in that you want other landlords to be made aware, but it is up to individual land lords to protect themselves by doing the correct checks. If someone rents to this couple without checking prior references then let that landlord deal with any fallout. Who knows, it may work out okay next time round. What did your checks of their previous rentals show? I assume they must have panned out okay.

I think a lot of the threats these people have made are empty and designed to unsettle and get a reaction. You've commented that they are delusional and they very well may be, particularly the wife. They are not likely to get any lawyer to take on any ridiculous unwinnable claims however. Even if they do find someone, you should deal with it at that point and not before.

My sense is the more you engage with these people, the more they will intrude on your life, let it all go and don't try to talk with the husband again unless you get a formal request from the court. At that point, you take everything you have and calmly hand it over to your fabulous lawyer, who you pay for. My philosophy is that every land lord should have a decent lawyer to call on for all sorts of property related reasons. Yes it is a pain that you have to pay but that is a cost of doing business. Just keep your eye on the big picture. Also, make sure you chose a good lawyer who can get costs awarded if they do take you on and lose. :)

They won't get $70000 from you unless there is good reason and their claim is strong (like it can be proved that the staircase is falling down or the treads are the wrong size etc) .

Apart from anything else, people with Aspergers are known to find it difficuty to relate to others and I understand 'clumsiness' can be a symptom of the condition. So you see, your lawyer would have a field day defending your good name. Especially when you give him your printed out emails. :)

This is definately the down side of "property investing" and I'd do heaps more of it if I didn't hate being a landlord so much :rolleyes:
 
Great reply thanks Tizzy.

I hear what everyone's saying about just wait & see what happens, I just want to be a step ahead at all times.

I have only only been in contact with the husband via email a few times apart from meeting him at the property after flying down from where I live to do so. After being told I'm being sued I decided it was best to represent myself infront of a Magistrate to show strength of our defence. Plus I know the house better than anyone.

The previous property manager from their application gave a sterling review. Paid their rent on time & maintained the house to a very high standard. Just the same as this house. It wasn't until the wife started verbally abusing our PM & contractors, threatening them, not allowing us onto the property etc that I took it upon myself to start investigating (after the breach came in).

The staff member I spoke to thought it was a bit of a gossip session so she got out the file & proceeded to tell me it was an unusually large file for a tenant, they had abused their PM, the PM wasn't comfortable attending to the property herself, the Principal had written to the owner (who was a friend of the tenant) to tell them to pull their head in, they had a dog on the property without approval (and again at our place), extra tenants, blah blah blah. Why didn't they tell us this when we rang? I would never have approved them if I knew all that.

I asked for the information in writing but they said they wouldn't because it could incriminate them. Well, yeh! In the last month, since the tenants started looking for another property, and lied on their application at that, that company & another have since blacklisted them on the REBA bad tenant list.

Our lawyer WILL have a field day. Hopefully an official letter from them will stop all of these breaches, accusations and threats.
 
Great reply thanks Tizzy.

I hear what everyone's saying about just wait & see what happens, I just want to be a step ahead at all times.

I have only only been in contact with the husband via email a few times apart from meeting him at the property after flying down from where I live to do so. After being told I'm being sued I decided it was best to represent myself infront of a Magistrate to show strength of our defence. Plus I know the house better than anyone.

The previous property manager from their application gave a sterling review. Paid their rent on time & maintained the house to a very high standard. Just the same as this house. It wasn't until the wife started verbally abusing our PM & contractors, threatening them, not allowing us onto the property etc that I took it upon myself to start investigating (after the breach came in).

The staff member I spoke to thought it was a bit of a gossip session so she got out the file & proceeded to tell me it was an unusually large file for a tenant, they had abused their PM, the PM wasn't comfortable attending to the property herself, the Principal had written to the owner (who was a friend of the tenant) to tell them to pull their head in, they had a dog on the property without approval (and again at our place), extra tenants, blah blah blah. Why didn't they tell us this when we rang? I would never have approved them if I knew all that.

I asked for the information in writing but they said they wouldn't because it could incriminate them. Well, yeh! In the last month, since the tenants started looking for another property, and lied on their application at that, that company & another have since blacklisted them on the REBA bad tenant list.

Our lawyer WILL have a field day. Hopefully an official letter from them will stop all of these breaches, accusations and threats.

I reckon this is the worst tenants you can have. I got lost -

1) Are you sued now or just told by the husband?

2) Why did you get involved with them when you had a PM? You got personally involved in the matter would complicate the case

3) Hopefully, you get over it. Re personal injury, I do not think you need to worry much because you have the insurance company anyway.

4) what breach are they accusing you?
 
We are currently in breach by the tenant - there have been 3 mediations with the registrar in the local court, where the tenant was unprepared on each occasion (another reason we can't believe it's gone this far) and flatly refused to negotiate or settle for ANYTHING and wanted to go to further up the chain, and a sitting with the Magistrate. The Magistrate ordered we allow the tenant to vacate in 7 days (weeks ago now - which I agreed to to be seen as "compassionate", then they asked to extend, I said no so they went to the court again & had it extended. They asked for ANOTHER extension of a couple of days so I said yes to keep the peace and there really is no need for a court order for 3 days!). Also, the tenant has a list of compensation claims the Magistrate agreed the tenant & I would go through together, via email. As I couldn't agree to anything on the list after being handed it in court as I know nothing about any of it without research of course. To date, the tenant still hasn't replied to my many emails. That was four weeks ago we went to court. That's contempt of court of court isn't it?!

Here's the list :
Full bond refund $1600
Refund cost of water, cartage, water testing $1332
Replacement kettle (for boiling so called contaiminated water) $79
Excess electricity for boiling such water for 7 weeks $1899.52
Cleaning two couches $25
Replacement coffee table/ottoman, table corner lamp, TV, stereo $1893
Loss of use of lounge room (ceiling fell down one early a.m., was replaced within hours) $559 (that cost more than the actual ceiling)
Loss of use of 6 rooms for 17 days (for what we don't know) $730.26
Reimbursement of breathing apparatus $53.95
Reimbursement of stock feed 12 months $321.65
Reimbursement for pest control $302
Reimbursement for repairing shed locks $165.73
Reimbursement for excessive cleaning costs $388.02
Reimbursement owner general maintenance $387.30
Reimbursement owner fence maintenance $157.10
Reimbursement owner orchard maintenance $73.13
Loss of use ensuite $559 (I'll attach a photo to show why they believed the house is uninhabitable)
Reimbursement owner ensuite maintenance $51.90
Replacing clothes $?? (apparently the ensuite leaked onto their clothes worth tens of thousands of dollars. Check out the photo & the unaffected carpet)

If I could expand on those items, I would. I need more detail so I can figure out why they want money for these things.

In court infront of the Magistrate, the tenant also advised she's / they're probably going for a separate personal injuries claim because she fell down our stairs & apparently broke her finger. She reckons the staircase was illegal. We've had the shire, builder and a building inspector in the house & it's not illegal. I had an extra hand-rail installed because I was encouraged by my handy man for extra safety.

I'm involved because of the M O U N T A I N O U S CLAIMS these tenants have made against the property, myself, contractors, the real estate agents AND the neighbours, our family & local town. It's a small town & unfortunately our parent live down there too, and they know it. I lived in the property before we rented it out & no-one knows it better than us. I should be involved because the property manager has 100 other properties to manage & without a word of a lie, this tenant was contacting her nearly every day. Virtually EVERYTHING the tenant has every noted or asked for is over the top or unjustified. Again, this tenant potentially wants about $80,000 from me. I'm not going to allow our property manager to do this alone when she can't concentrate on us alone. I wouldn't do that to her anyway. I'm sure she's going to retire after this is over the poor lady. I feel sorry for our property management company more than anyone!
 
Pic of the ensuite doorframe. The handyman wiped it and the mould came off. Minor. He's suggested maybe the fan & window weren't used. Everything else in the ensuite & house is fine. Suggested they could be the main reason it's like that. Plumber said there's no leakage.

The house was immaculate when they lived there, and when they moved out. They initially returned an extra 18 pages of Property Management Report to make sure they had everything noted, that the property manager had missed. Every little scuff mark, with measurements for some.

Here's the house they claim should be condemned by the way....http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=o&id=403230373&f=0&p=10&t=ren&ty=&fmt=&header=&cc=&c=93408295&s=wa&tm=1257917514
 

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Excess electricity for boiling such water for 7 weeks $1899.52

tee hee

now thats interesting

a 1 litre kettle might have a 2000 watt element in it.

Running 24 hrs a day this would be 48 kw hrs per 24 hrs

Be very generous and say that youd pay 30 c for a kwh.

Thats 14.40 a day x 7 days x 7 weeks = 706.00

The reality is that its probably less than one 24th of that at $ 30 for the period at the very best.

Ultimately when people make silly claims in one area, it devalues the rest of the agrument by a similar amount

ta
rolf
 
Loss of use of lounge room (ceiling fell down one early a.m., was replaced within hours) $559 (that cost more than the actual ceiling)

Hi Kath

Could you please explain what happened to cause this? Was this event one of the trigger events?

From the list of claims seems that they decided that the 60,000 lt of water was contaminated. Why (if they did) did they form this opinion? Was this related to the ceiling falling in?

So many qeustion because I think there are some facts missing.


Cheers
 
We are currently in breach by the tenant - there have been 3 mediations with the registrar in the local court, where the tenant was unprepared on each occasion (another reason we can't believe it's gone this far) and flatly refused to negotiate or settle for ANYTHING and wanted to go to further up the chain, and a sitting with the Magistrate. The Magistrate ordered we allow the tenant to vacate in 7 days (weeks ago now - which I agreed to to be seen as "compassionate", then they asked to extend, I said no so they went to the court again & had it extended. They asked for ANOTHER extension of a couple of days so I said yes to keep the peace and there really is no need for a court order for 3 days!). Also, the tenant has a list of compensation claims the Magistrate agreed the tenant & I would go through together, via email. As I couldn't agree to anything on the list after being handed it in court as I know nothing about any of it without research of course. To date, the tenant still hasn't replied to my many emails. That was four weeks ago we went to court. That's contempt of court of court isn't it?!

Here's the list :
Full bond refund $1600
Refund cost of water, cartage, water testing $1332
Replacement kettle (for boiling so called contaiminated water) $79
Excess electricity for boiling such water for 7 weeks $1899.52
Cleaning two couches $25
Replacement coffee table/ottoman, table corner lamp, TV, stereo $1893
Loss of use of lounge room (ceiling fell down one early a.m., was replaced within hours) $559 (that cost more than the actual ceiling)
Loss of use of 6 rooms for 17 days (for what we don't know) $730.26
Reimbursement of breathing apparatus $53.95
Reimbursement of stock feed 12 months $321.65
Reimbursement for pest control $302
Reimbursement for repairing shed locks $165.73
Reimbursement for excessive cleaning costs $388.02
Reimbursement owner general maintenance $387.30
Reimbursement owner fence maintenance $157.10
Reimbursement owner orchard maintenance $73.13
Loss of use ensuite $559 (I'll attach a photo to show why they believed the house is uninhabitable)
Reimbursement owner ensuite maintenance $51.90
Replacing clothes $?? (apparently the ensuite leaked onto their clothes worth tens of thousands of dollars. Check out the photo & the unaffected carpet)

If I could expand on those items, I would. I need more detail so I can figure out why they want money for these things.

In court infront of the Magistrate, the tenant also advised she's / they're probably going for a separate personal injuries claim because she fell down our stairs & apparently broke her finger. She reckons the staircase was illegal. We've had the shire, builder and a building inspector in the house & it's not illegal. I had an extra hand-rail installed because I was encouraged by my handy man for extra safety.

I'm involved because of the M O U N T A I N O U S CLAIMS these tenants have made against the property, myself, contractors, the real estate agents AND the neighbours, our family & local town. It's a small town & unfortunately our parent live down there too, and they know it. I lived in the property before we rented it out & no-one knows it better than us. I should be involved because the property manager has 100 other properties to manage & without a word of a lie, this tenant was contacting her nearly every day. Virtually EVERYTHING the tenant has every noted or asked for is over the top or unjustified. Again, this tenant potentially wants about $80,000 from me. I'm not going to allow our property manager to do this alone when she can't concentrate on us alone. I wouldn't do that to her anyway. I'm sure she's going to retire after this is over the poor lady. I feel sorry for our property management company more than anyone!

I am so sorry to hear this. This is probably most experienced tenants and nightmare you can have. Why the silly magistrate can not tell them to back off. Most of these claims are baseless. A worst nightmare you can have.
 
It would certainly explain them emptying the water tank if they thought the water was contaminated. Doesn't explain some of the other wild claims.
 
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