Issue with LL / REA

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by JohnW, 26th Jun, 2017.

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Take to tribunal, or pay up?

  1. Take to tribunal

  2. Pay up for upto 2 weeks extra rent but pursue in tribunal if it takes longer than that

  3. Pay up for 8 months rent or until its tenanted

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  1. JohnW

    JohnW New Member

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    26th Jun, 2017
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    Location:
    NSW
    I am a landlord myself on 3 properties and look after my tenants very well. Unfortunately, it seems that what goes around always doesnt come around.

    I rented a unit 3 months ago in Inner West - we had a break in 2 weeks ago and thieves stolen laptops and some jewellery. I requested REA to replace the flyscreen they broke but nothing has happened since last 2 weeks. the property is a bit old and I feared for my wife and 2 kids safety hence I applied elsewhere and got approved and planning to move in 2 weeks. The locksmith sent by the REA wasnt a professional and had some kid help him fix the locks - i took a photo of this.

    So my question - given I have around 8 months to go and my rental agreement says to pay letting fee, advertisement and rent until they find someone or agreement ends (whichever is earlier) - what are my rights under the RTAct (NSW). Should I ask them to terminate agreement because the REA is no good and I know they will try to prolong the vacancy as they have a grudge against me for leaving the lease. I personally believe the landlord could have done more to secure the place (placed crimsafe) but agent says they are under no obligation to do so.

    Your thoughts people? Should I take this to tribunal and fight or just pay up?

    Also, if it takes very long for them to secure tenant, what info am I legally allowed to ask in relation to applications and how do I prove that they are not minimising my loss.. thanks
     
  2. Xenia

    Xenia Well-Known Member

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    Definitely have it heard at tribunal. This does not mean you are punishing the agent (most of us love tribunal hearings, it's the place where disputes finally get sorted and files closed).

    Some facts.
    You will get compensated for screen not repaired in time - minimal as its been 2 weeks.
    The landlord is under no obligation to provide a higher grade security mesh, only to replace what is broken/ torn - like with like.

    This is a clear lease break and you will be required to pay lease break expenses, advertising costs etc... there is a formula calculated by agent and will be checked by tribunal member.

    The agent is obligated to mitigate losses and needs to have the property advertised like yesterday and prove to be active in sourcing tenants - open inspections etc... If they fail to do this then the landlord receiving rent to the time a new tenant is sourced will be truncated. Document all open inspection times advertised and how often they have been pro-active with rent reductions etc... This is the only thing you can do.

    The locksmith photos will go nowhere, the fact that you think the locksmith was unprofessional and you took pictures is personal opinion. They will produce an invoice to show locks were changed and there will be no further argument. (tenants try these things all the time, (pictures of cars on the road or all sorts of irrelevant things) experienced people like myself just look at them and have nothing more to say or add - they just dug their own hole).

    My only advise, if you go in with a personal opinion against the landlord or agent and the agent is professional and just produces invoices and facts and has no personal opinion on you, it will work against you. I have seen this happen 10,000 times.

    Stick to facts, stick to an outcome you want and never ever put anyone down.
     
    kierank and wylie like this.
  3. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Adelaide & Sydney
    Unless the property was insecure, being broken into is bad lack not a reason to break lease
     
    wylie likes this.
  4. JohnW

    JohnW New Member

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    26th Jun, 2017
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    NSW
    Thanks a lot Xenia for your reply. I had requested her to do two inspections - Wednesdays and Saturdays however she only did it on Saturday. Should I do this in writing? Are they obligated to do 2 inspections in a week to make it quicker to rent?
     
  5. Xenia

    Xenia Well-Known Member

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    are you still at the property?

    One a week will seem reasonable but if you are showing that you are making it available twice a week and the agent is not coming to the party, it will be in your favour.

    they will need so prove: how many attended, online interest and enquires, applications, outcomes etc.... It is not in their favour to allow a listing to go stale or show no interest.
     
  6. JohnW

    JohnW New Member

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    Yes I am still at property and moving out in 1 week. They did 1 Saturday inspection and didnt secure tenant so I will now ask her to do a weekday inspection as well.
     
    Xenia likes this.
  7. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

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    @JohnW , you might find that in NSW the flyscreen and changing the locks in your unit are both common property and the role of the strata committee to arrange a replacement, not the landlord.

    So, feel free to spin the "Chocolate Wheel" of NSW tribunal, but the landlord may use a defense of "...not my issue.".

    Perhaps, depending on the amounts of money involved, it may be worthwhile taking some professional advice.
     
  8. PMC Property

    PMC Property Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle, Toowoomba Business Member

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    These are two separate issues. Your property was broken into and you are essentially disputing a maintenance item. You also want to break the lease.

    You cannot tie the two together as they are completely separate. Generally, maintenance is not a reason to break a lease and I wouldn't waste my time going to the tribunal to try and state that that is the reason for the lease break. If you want to go to the tribunal to debate the maintenance item then that is your prerogative however usually the tribunal wouldn't be attended for minor maintenance disputes, particularly when someone has already attended to repair it.

    At the end of the day, you have signed a contract and are obligated under the terms of that contract. By way of contract, you are entitled to break it but the break-lease terms will apply. You cannot ask them to terminate the agreement because of a subjective reason like "the re agent is no good". It just doesn't work like that and as a landlord yourself, I'm sure you can appreciate that there are very good reasons for it.

    Also, when you say you think the landlord could have done more to secure the place, do you mean before you signed the lease? If you weren't happy with the security on the property you shouldn't have signed the lease in the first place. The agent is right, the landlord is under no obligation to start changing items in the property at all when you accepted the property as is. This is not to say that good-will when it comes to improvements is not a good idea for investors over the course of a tenancy, however you're only three months into your lease and usually this would be reserved for tenants who have also proven themselves as good tenants to the landlord. It does work both ways and three months is not a long time. If you're planning to stay long term, why don't you offer to contribute to the cost of the screens? Everything is negotiable and it will probably be cheaper than a lease break anyway.
     
    Last edited: 29th Jun, 2017
    kierank likes this.