Negligence claim against agent help please

Info please re one of the items claimed against real estate negligence in general division OFT. The laundry cabinet (lined internally with white melamine, external hardwood) was full of mould and damp and smelly. On the final inspection report the PM had not mentioned its condition, (along with almost everything else) but tenant called back to clean it.

The agent had disallowed my claim against tenant’s bond, writing to me ‘discovered by you after end of tenancy and not able to be identified beforehand as the leak was in the wall and there was no evidence externally. The cupboard collapsed when the tenant attempted to clean it’.

The tradesman who repaired the item, ($608.08) had to replace the cabinet, remove and replace wall linings, wall studs which were rotted etc.

Question: is extensive mould, discolouration, smell and dampness an indication of a problem or not? Or as the agent said, was the damage not able to be identified beforehand. For me, it would have signalled something, for a tenant or agent in NSW, maybe not?

The only other thing is that a length of grey water diversion hose left by the tenant was also found. Where do I stand?
So glad I returned to live in my house before the entire bottom plate, studs and external cladding rotted out, which would seem to me a likely progression of the already extensive damage. The house is about less than 20 years old and the cabinet was not discoloured, or mouldy at all when the house was handed over for (mis) management to the agency.


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Where do I stand?

Tough call Wollemi without knowing a bunch more details, especially the detailed conversations and writings between you and PM.

All I can suggest is you pop the other parties hat on to see their perspective. Your PM will be looking after about 120 to 150 properties. Yours is just one of them, and therefore commands about 0.7% of their attention. It is your PPoR, and therefore has 100% of your attention. Slight difference.

When PM's do final inspections, they usually line them up and get them all "out of the way" all in a day or two. My wife used to do it briefly, and was able to do 9 in one business day. Obviously, each one was as dodgy as all buggery, especially when you take into account travelling time.

What you are pinpointing is one tiny area, in one single inspection on one house. To you, at $ 608 it is very important. To them, it was a fly speck, a fleeting moment of time.

You've gotta remember final inspections are conducted in pleated skirts, with high heels and a bit of make-up. They don't do "get down on hands and kness and look under the laundry trough". They'll have concentrated on the front yard, the condition of the carpet and walls, and whether the kitchen area is clear and clean.

If it's any consolation to you Wollemi, I also agree that the self appointed tag of PM is a misnomer.

As to your question of where do you stand, like most questions on this forum regarding issues like this, I reckon the Owner will be forking out the lot.
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For the sake of $600 worth of damage, I would move on. The only person who would make any money is the solicitor. Legal action is a huge drain emotionally and financially.
If you were continuing with the rental then I would suggest you move on from this PM mainly because they sound like they really couldn't give a toss.

As far a you expecting the PM to go through the place with a fine tooth comb it just doesn't happen. It is generally inexperienced (live) young people who are looking for the obvious dirt on the bench top, dirty carpet marks on the walls etc not leaks in pipes under sinks (what pipes leak:eek:)

I don't think you can hold the tenant responsible as you indicate that it was a broken pipe. What I am surprised about is that your building insurance hasn't covered the repair of the broken pipe.

Talking about pipes what is the pipe that is connected under the 'S' bend. I have never seen a similar set up.

response from Wollemi

Thanks for ur responses all, the agents gave a written guarantee of the services they provide, but maybe on another planet, certainly not earth. There is no way I would ever risk having the amount of damage done to a property again, so its sell, move or leave empty. All better options than the one I took.

I am going ahead with a claim because maybe speaking up is all there is left. The worst part of it all is that I fell for their bull hook line and sinker and was so far away I couldnt keep a check on the shonksters. There are others in the same boat as me, but who in their right minds would want to do all the paperwork!

Anyway, roll on housing shortage, because I will be contributing to it and happily so.
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As an isolated event, I think it falls in the category of "tough luck". But if this is merely one issue in a string of issues, you may have something. It really depends.

But good luk with it.