Need some suggestions from property managers

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by virhlpool, 22nd Aug, 2018.

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  1. virhlpool

    virhlpool Well-Known Member

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    Hi all.. I am an investor myself but currently renting in Sydney like many fellow rentvesters. I vacated a property recently as a tenant and moved to another one. I am facing a situation with regard to my bond refund and hoping some experienced property managers and tenants can help here.

    During the final inspection (after I moved out), the property manager found a small crack on toilet bowl (see the attached picture). The toilet is sturdy and has been in use for approx. 2.5 yrs with no issues otherwise. I have been aware of the crack and I believe it would have existed when we moved in but since we didn't notice it, we didn't take its picture earlier though we clicked many other pictures and shared with the property managers upon moving in. Basically I didn't think that the tiny crack will create such a big fuss so I didn't pay attention back then. The place is a typical 'red brick', old style unit, probably a few decades old. Now the landlord/ property manager is asking to deduct $500 from my bond refund for this issue (or I have an option to go to tribunal), in addition to $150 for steam cleaning of carpet, which is ok. I have a couple of questions:

    1) Is it a reasonable amount for toilet bowl replacement? Does age of the house and depreciation have any impact on this?

    2) When I moved in, I spent some amount on the unit improvement (such as vinyl flooring purchase and installation in some area which we left behind, cleaning of rooms/ bathroom, cleaning of greasy oven/ stove/ sinks/ door blinds, etc) as the property manager or landlord didn't pay attention to my requests and we ended up doing it all ourselves to make the place livable. In terms of material cost and time/ effort, I must have spent worth $450 if not more. I had shared pictures of the unit with them earlier and they obviously have current pictures so they can clearly see the efforts that went in. Do I have any right to ask the landlord to pay this to me if I were to pay $500 for toilet replacement (which I am not even responsible for though I don't have a solid proof)?

    Is the case strong enough to take to the tribunal? What annoyed me is not the amount itself but the approach of overcharging for something which I (or they) can't prove but since no one has a picture, it may work in their favour. The toilet is still in working condition though, so no serious need to replace it anyway. At the same time, they don't seem to show any respect for the money that I had to invest in their place (due to their lack of willingness to fix the issues). If they did, they shouldn't be charging $500 to me. I was not really willing to claim the amount that I spent initially in getting their place livable but since they are asking me to pay the absurd amount, I decided to request them to reimburse me for my spend as well, to which they didn't agree apparently, as expected.

    What are your suggestions in this case (considering that I am a tenant)? Thanks a lot.
     

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    Last edited: 22nd Aug, 2018
  2. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Typical tight ass landlord trying to get a free dunny! They'll try anything!
     
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  3. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    That's absurd. Take the LL to tribunal and hopefully win.

    The toilet obviously may need replacing (as do most things with time) but it's not your fault. It didn't crack due to lack of cleaning for example.
     
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  4. virhlpool

    virhlpool Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I don't even know if it cracked during our stay, nor it impacted our stay there. I am just not sure if the case will be in my favour as I don't have a picture to prove that I didn't cause it. The inspection reports by most property managers aren't detailed enough to notice a tiny crack on toilet under the seat, so the reports would show everything 'ok' and tribunal might consider them as a legal proof in lieu of the picture. The case may be in their favour in that situation.
     
  5. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    It might. These things are always a bit risky but I like your chances. I don't think you needed a picture either way. They are in my opinion taking the mickey.

    For example, if the roof was found to be rusted should you pay for that? No. It's the same principal. Wear and tear because things deteriorate is not your problem as a tenant.

    Check the legislation for clarity though.
     
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  6. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Toilet is either accidental damage or wear and tear. The crack as pointed out may have been pre-existing but hidden or bleached clean. A plumber cannot install a non-WELS rated toilet so this would be an upgrade at your expense.

    A pm or LL cannot require steam cleaning unless you had a pet.
     
    Last edited: 22nd Aug, 2018
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  7. Stoffo

    Stoffo Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to tell by the pic, does the crack run down the side of the bowl also ?
    If there is no obvious chip to the porcelain from an impact, then it is likely a thermal crack (faulty manufacture) and I'd argue the point due to the age of the toilet.

    Any improvements you tended to during your occupancy would be at your expense (unless otherwise agreed prior to being done) bringing it up now seems very "tit for tat"

    Electing to go to the tribunal will cost the landlord (property managers don't turn up and represent for free)
    As a landlord I've never been, it is to be avoided if possible.
     
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  8. virhlpool

    virhlpool Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. The crack is only on the top and it doesn't run down the side or down in the bowl. I am not really concerned about recovering the expenses I incurred when I moved in - so it's all good if I don't get it paid but I am of the belief that $500 for a crack is a bit of overcharge and moreover it always existed (though I don't have a pic). It's definitely not accidental and considering the old unit/ toilet, it should be wear and tear. I am a tenant, not landlord. Should I go to tribunal in that case? I don't mind if it saves my $750, including steam cleaning cost which I am not liable for as I am giving the carpet in the same condition as I got.
     
  9. neK

    neK Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have proof it existed, then one would assume it came from you.
    $500 for a toilet changever sounds reasonable... assuming there is a cost of the toilet itself.

    You mentioned you're a rentvester.
    What would you say if the shoe was on the other foot and you as the owner was 99% sure the crack WAS NOT there before the tenant moved in, but the tenant insisted it always existed, but couldn't prove it.
     
  10. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    There is no way as an owner and landlord I would ask a tenant to pay for a cracked toilet bowl, unless they took to it with a sledgehammer.

    Can you have someone else (partner?) write something that it was there when you started the tenancy.

    This stuff really gets my goat.

    If it costs you nothing to attend tribunal, I'd go and argue your case. The agent (and owner) is taking the mickey in my opinion.
     
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  11. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'd write a polite email disputing the claim and give them a few days to refund the bond first.
     
  12. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    Sure, $500 is probably very reasonable to change the toilet. Given the age of the property from the tiles the whole plumbing system is probably due for an update (let's add 30k for that). What is not reasonable is charging the tenant!
     
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  13. neK

    neK Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what the purpose of your post is - how does a whole plumbing system comes into play is beyond me.

    Do you like giving ridiculous examples that don't make any sense in attempt to prove your point?
     
  14. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    The toilet is connected to the plumbing system. Once the toilet is removed (due to age) I'm willing to bet there are issues with the plumbing system. The LL is not likely to replace the toilet given the whole thing works anyway.

    I'm not being ridiculous just because you do not understand the basics of building a house.
     
  15. neK

    neK Well-Known Member

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    Good luck to you if you ever try to get a tenant to pay for damaged sewerage pipes under the house, your posts make me wonder how much you actually understand property investment and legislation behind it.

    A cracked toilet, that's a difficult one. Toilets just don't crack, especially one that has been there for a while.

    As the op said, they believe it was there, but they aren't sure. It either was there or it wasn't. But unless you can prove it (hence the importance of the condition report). One can argue or one can discuss civilly and come to a compromise.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 23rd Aug, 2018
  16. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    No, that's not what I said. I was trying to point out that I would not make some one pay for the toilet or the pipes.
     
  17. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    Of course toilet's crack. Particularly ceramic over time. Things fall apart over time. That's why traditionally older houses are cheaper than new ones, due to the cost to maintain.
     
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  18. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    As for my tone, I have been civil. You seem to want an argument though and your tone was not civil to start with.
     
  19. Tom Rivera

    Tom Rivera Property Manager Business Member

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    As a Property Manager, I just can't see how we could possibly argue that was caused by you. There doesn't seem to be any 'impact' that has caused it?

    How are they claiming you caused the damage? Onus is on us to prove you damaged it. I'd be very confident you will win that in Tribunal, and quite possibly the carpet cleaning too.
     
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  20. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Must have been excessive use (going beyond the fair use policy).

    Ever heard of 'plumber's crack'?
     
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