Damage vs Wear and tear / Insurance claims?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Pipsal, 6th Dec, 2018.

Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community
  1. Pipsal

    Pipsal Active Member

    Joined:
    21st Dec, 2015
    Posts:
    32
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Tenants have not looked after place, was in excellent condition when they moved in (3 years ago next February). Have been sent Notice to Leave and I was there today for Routine Inspection....not in great condition now. When I finally get them out, they won't have cleaned the place up, they couldn't keep it clean during their tenancy.....and as they are behind in rent I won't have much Bond to play with. So what is best to use Bond for, and is there anything below that might fit the Damage (insurance) vs Wear and Tear category, as a full repaint including ceilings isn't cheap (have Terri Scheer policy).

    Kitchen is COVERED in grease/oil/fat....ceiling has gone yellow, so have the walls. They apparently tried to clean ceiling after one of the routine inspections and now it is streaky/patchy with yellow/white and looks terrible. The white cupboards are also sticky and yellow, including the inside of the doors, handles...much worse/darker yellow/brown around the cooktop, which is also covered in oil. Grout in the tiles around this area is much worse than rest of kitchen too. Rangehood is missing the metal grates/filters (found them out in the garage). Open plan so the yellowing has spread out towards the hallway and dining room/lounge walls. They've also tried to clean all the walls throughout the place, including bedrooms - presumably after last inspection when they were instructed to do a full clean - and there is white powdery looking residue or stains on every wall with water marks/drips running down the walls (weird pale purple/grey wall colour so it all shows up). The walls have brown marks (from feet where beds are against walls??) all over them as well.

    Mold behind kitchen sink in silicone (never seen a house with it so black/bad). Mold on the painted walls around and above the shower and cornice throughout bathroom (not noticeable on ceiling in there yet?). Grout in shower is dark brown/black, nearly every strip of it, can't see through the 4 year old glass shower screen it is so white and I don't think it will come clean now.

    Holes in wall (as door stoppers that were there are now missing), things sticky taped up to walls, broken blinds, garden overgrown with weeds etc...
     
  2. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17th Sep, 2018
    Posts:
    202
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Suggest make a list of every issue, try and categorize into damage and cleaning; spend bond money on cleaning issues, yard maintenance, then on water bill if any bond left. Use LL insurance for damage repairs and any loss of rent. I don't know if the other states are like Qld, in Qld wear and tear, the term, is not specifically defined in the Act or the tenancy agreement. However based on precedent fair wear and tear is considered to be (1) wear that happens during normal use; for example carpet in a hallway would (generally) be more worn than carpet in less used areas of the house, and (2) changes that happen with ageing; for example curtains that are exposed to direct sunlight will fade over time. I don't have any experience litigating wear & tear claims at the tribunal yet but have one awaiting a hearing. It will be interesting to see where the tribunal draws the line between incidental/accidental minor damage (because the issues aren't from wear it's a near new house) being classed as FW&T or 'damage'...
     
    PMC Property and Tom Rivera like this.
  3. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,718
    Location:
    NSW
    These items could be taken from their bond IMO, as could cleaning up grease.
    Everything else is fair wear and tear - marks, mould etc. None of it looks like an insurance claim (to me) - it is not malicious or accidental.

    Overall it would appear to be the result of a pretty poor PM routine inspection & follow up regime.
     
    Tom Rivera, Rich2011 and Marg4000 like this.
  4. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,539
    Location:
    Qld
    Agree with @Propertunity.

    The property should never have been allowed to get to the stage you describe. The PM should have taken action a long time ago to either have the property cleaned up or the tenant terminated at the end of a lease. Three years is far too long to keep an unsatisfactory tenant.
    Marg
     
  5. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,770
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    Use bond for non claimable events first....cleaning and gardening etc....
     
    Tom Rivera and Michael Mitchell like this.
  6. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,770
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    Now that you have the problem, this wont help much....but some people cook foods that seem to be able to penetrate anything, that along with lax cleaning, and it can be a real mess.

    I am not sure what you can do besides use experience and make sure PM does lots of checks.

    You will probably find these tenants cooked for other people and allowed others too shower there etc.....they tend to do the latter on any place where water is not chrged too them.

    One place I had had many people live there, one poor selection of tenant ruined the place in 6 months.....all floor coverings, curtains, kitchen tiles and items near cooker, gyprock collapsed in bathroom from being wet 24 7.....lucky the walls and floor were solid concrete.

    It is amazing what some people can do in a short time.

    Inspect regularly & always do an early check, once a year or 6 months in is no good.
     
    Rich2011 likes this.
  7. Pipsal

    Pipsal Active Member

    Joined:
    21st Dec, 2015
    Posts:
    32
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Yeah thanks....I try to attend all inspections and it was in my contract that I be notified of all of them so that I could, but for about a year up to just over 6mths ago I was not being notified and when I'd contact to find out when it was they'd tell me it had just occurred and would promise to let me know when the next was scheduled, then didn't obviously! I also had to chase the inspection reports. Last inspection 3mths ago I was at and tenants were told the place needed a complete clean and the agent was to go back in 2 weeks to check...when I contacted them to confirm the specific date/time I was informed she had already been back and done the follow up inspection and it was all fine now (the white streaky marks/stains from cleaning would have been from the cleaning they did for that...).... Do good property managers actually exist? I'm not convinced in my 10yrs renting properties...
     
  8. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5th Apr, 2016
    Posts:
    2,829
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Could you post some photos of the streaky marks?
     
  9. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,770
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    There are some, but it is not the norm, you need too go through quite a few.

    FWIW, I have said this many times, but my *worst* ones were always the higher charging ones & the best ones were the absolute cheapest, but in saying that, a lot is staff selection and retention or the owner being hands on.

    It is a poor gig and often lot of turnover and inexperienced young people with too much too handle, so they basically have to start lying or ignoring due to the owners business mode of operation.

    So it is pretty hands on with a lot of them.

    And then you have the problem of where people suddenly go off the rails, no PM can save you from that most likely & it can go from reasonable to a utter mess real quick. But you often find in such cases, after the fact, that the staff did know or were being told, by neighbors and or police, but most cover it up for some reason.

    I have found they do not like the work of changing, so if a tenant, any tenant, keeps paying, they will likely gloss things over, there is no way they would have a lot of them in a place they owned !
     
    Michael Mitchell likes this.
  10. Pipsal

    Pipsal Active Member

    Joined:
    21st Dec, 2015
    Posts:
    32
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Got in to the property today....at least they've moved themselves and most of their stuff out and it doesn't have to go to QCAT for that part! Have applied for the Bond, but 4 weeks behind in Rent anyway.
    6880, 6881 and 6892 show the marks up the closest....can kind of see the patchy look it has in a couple of the other pics.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,770
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    I wont show you one I am dealing with atm....is hard too see from the photos what yours is really like.
     
    Pipsal likes this.
  12. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,407
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I'd ask cleaners to sugar soap all the walls. That should move the dirty marks and might deal with the patchy look. That will cost you money of course but might save having to paint through. The patch that is needed for the gouge might look better just cleaned up and filled, even if not repainted. Do you live locally or are you doing this from afar?

    I've just paid for a whole house clean after renovating. No walls to wash down, but debris from kitchen install, bathroom clean from new install, general dust and clean. Our builder recommended Melissa from Tradey's Angels 0406 492 064. They did a great job.
     
    Last edited: 14th Dec, 2018
  13. Pipsal

    Pipsal Active Member

    Joined:
    21st Dec, 2015
    Posts:
    32
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Thanks, I may end up calling them....waiting to see how well the ceiling in the kitchen, grout in the bathroom and if benchtop stains can clean up (whole bench is like this, brown or yellow stains)....has anyone had experience getting this off the ceiling without damaging the paint or leaving it patchy (tenant cleaning attempt)...or grout in this condition cleaning up ok vs needing regrout?? DSC_6852 - Copy.jpg DSC_6928.JPG DSC_6934.JPG DSC_6824 - Copy.jpg
     
  14. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17th Sep, 2018
    Posts:
    202
    Location:
    Brisbane
    1. Wall wash
    2. Standard shower bleach treatment for cleaning mould etc
    3. If that is a pot burn mark no cleaning will fix, it's damage unfortunately
     
  15. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,770
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    With tiles I would kill mould first then use a bleach take away the dark marks.....your prob gonna be looking at this after most tenancies.....but PM should also be taking note once you have one that inspects.
     
    Michael Mitchell likes this.
  16. Tom Rivera

    Tom Rivera Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    1,370
    Location:
    South East Queensland
    My guess would be that you can get the yellowing and streaky marks off most of the walls with a good sugar soap clean. Ceiling paint is next to impossible to clean though.... not sure what you're going to do with that kitchen.

    Drown the shower in the strongest mould clean you can find (if it gives you a blood nose, it's the good stuff!) and then hit it with a pressure washer. Make sure you've got plenty of disposable towels around to mop up the water.

    Bench looks permanently damaged. Seek compensation or replace.

    P.S. Check out attached picture of a property one of my clients bought this week- this is above the oven! Yuck!
     

    Attached Files:

    Michael Mitchell likes this.
  17. Davothegreat

    Davothegreat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    326
    Location:
    Sydney
    We inherited a tenant in the granny flat of our first IP who smoked a lot of weed inside so the place smelt horrible and the ceilings were a blend of yellow and tar. I'm not sure what the cleaners used but everything came up a treat and nothing has bled back through in the last 4 years since that tenant left so it can be done, though I'd imagine it would depend on the paint choice and condition.

    For the grout in the shower, I use Glitz Mould Killer from Bunnies (white bottle with a red spray lid) - spray it on, leave it 20 minutes, hose it off. It's pretty unpleasant to be around but works well enough that we don't need to scrub our shower at all after spraying it.
     
    Michael Mitchell likes this.
  18. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,597
    Location:
    Paradise, Brisbane
    The house we renovated last year seems similar. We removed all the wardrobe doors and the shower screens and I spent many hours that week on the floor scraping off the yellow gunge with a razor blade and metho. The tenants managed to get curry cooking oil and fumes inside the bedroom wardrobe doors. The slider tracks were disgusting and required about three cleans to get fully white again.

    We got the entire house repainted inside and the painters did a fabulous job. There is paint they use these days that goes on straight over the kitchen ceiling/walls without having to clean first. I did one level of cleaning the kitchen before the painters told me not to bother.

    Some of the gunge on the shower screen frames was from curries but there was also a few years worth of the salts from the local water supply. The screens were apparently only two years old when these tenants were sent on their way.

    This picture is the unpainted ceiling after we took down the burnt out light fitting. Our painters also contract to the Housing Commission but I don't know what kind of paint they get.
     

    Attached Files:

    Simon Moore likes this.
  19. Bill Williamson

    Bill Williamson Active Member

    Joined:
    28th May, 2017
    Posts:
    41
    Location:
    Perth
    Friend had a unit years ago. Tenants moved in and started cooking Indian food as part of some business. Cooking all day every day. Neighbours complained as the stench would get inside their own units even with all doors and windows closed. Within a year the entire house, every single room, every wall, ceiling needed to be repainted.
     
  20. PMC Property

    PMC Property Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle, Toowoomba Business Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    952
    Location:
    Australia
    Correct. The insurance company will work out what is covered by what but as with all these things, know your PDS. You will have to claim things like cleaning from the bond generally and there are also additions like extra rubbish removal and lock changes that can be partially covered from bond and also insurance.

    On another note, I disagree in part with some of the comments on other posts about the PM letting it get to this stage. Sure, that’s a possibility here but it’s not always the case. I’m going through an almost identical situation at the moment and inspections were done regularly and the place was immaculate...

    All of a sudden within 3 weeks of the last inspection the rent stopped. All contact stopped also and arrears requests were neither responded to or actioned by the tenant. He worked off shore on a rig and was usually slow to answer anyway but this was obviously different. By the time we issued the eviction notice he’d punched holes in walls, bent the Miele dishwasher door, pulled a rear fly screen off and damage a variety of other things. The eviction notice was also ignored and due process was followed right up to and including a forced eviction by the bailiff. Up until the time the rent stopped the tenant paid everything on time and the place was immaculate. He was making $300,000 per year.

    As it turns out, we found out what happened from his ex-girlfriend once the forced eviction had taken place because her stuff was still in the house and she wanted to get it. She’d broken up with him the week or so before the rent stopped and reported that he has a severe gambling problem and relapsed that same week. It snowballed from there.

    The point of this isn’t just that it’s not always the PM’s fault, it’s also to make sure you have excellent LL insurance, know the PDS and make sure you have a PM in the first place! I simply could not have managed this situation on my own from the other side of the country as it required multiple court visits and a range of other things.

    A good tenant can turn into a very bad tenant almost over night...be very conscious of this!

    - Andrew
     
    Last edited: 10th Feb, 2019
    Michael Mitchell likes this.