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PM skipped town and previous tenant owes heaps

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by WattleIdo, 19th Jun, 2016.

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  1. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Now I find myself in this situation where the tenant moved out leaving a very high electricity bill
    $ 1280
    plus one month's unpaid rent
    $920
    and partially unpaid water. Nothing unusual there but here's the catch.
    The PM had to have a major operation due to breast cancer. While she was away doing that a friend who was actually supposed to be working in the business next door 'helped her out' and at the same time stole money in various ways from tenants and landlords. He has now either skipped town or is in gaol - no-one seems to know which. He and the person he was working with in the business next door both lost their jobs, too (obviously).

    Meanwhile, the real PM has not returned from her operation which was over 6 months ago. She handed all her properties over to the 2 other agencies in town. At that time my tenant moved out and all the online files were eradicated. The new agency does not want to take on my issues with chasing up the tenant for outstanding money as they have no records.
    I have the bills and the statement showing the tenant owes a month's rent but the tenant and records were gone by the time all other tenancies were handed over.

    Where to from here please?
     
  2. JacM

    JacM VIC Buyer's Agent Business Member

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    Surely the trust account records would show that rent came in, and went out, but not to you. Off to Consumer Affairs tribunal and claim against the agency insurance.
     
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  3. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    The electricity bill is not of concern to you but JacM's advice is good to get underway.
     
  4. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Unfortunately, the elec co. has put the bill in my name ...
     
  5. ellejay

    ellejay Well-Known Member

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    On what basis can they do that, have you been able to discuss with them? Absolutely crap, hope it gets sorted.
     
  6. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Will give them a call tomorrow. I suppose they go to the owner to sort it out?
     
  7. ellejay

    ellejay Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if they can just do that, don't they have to persue the person who is responsible for the debt? Haven't come across that situation, sounds dodgy and I'd be challenging them.
     
  8. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Wow hope you get it sorted! Who says nothing happens in the country! Drama town

    The elec bill should be easy to sort as it was within the tenancy period etc.
     
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  9. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I had some tenants leave once and opened an envelope addressed "to the occupier" or similar. I thought it was a general letter from a moving company, or similar letter that I find when tenants leave.

    It was a power company bill. I called them to let them know the tenants had moved. I've no idea how the power company managed to not have the name of the tenants and whether they had been paying bills addressed to "the occupier" through the tenancy.

    The power company asked me to give them the new address for the tenants. I replied that seeing I cannot even ask something about any bills in my husband's name at my own address due to privacy rules, why would they think I'm going to hand over any information for our ex-tenants.

    I passed the bill to the tenants with their other mail, and never heard another thing. I'd be asking questions about why the power bill is in your name if you never signed up for it.
     
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  10. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Totally! The 2nd PM scam in 5 years. ASIC should set up camp!
     
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  11. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Problem is that I was using electricity when renovating and not paying for it. I opened the To the Occupier letter and rang to get it sorted and ended up with the whole lot.
     
  12. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd be fighting that. If they don't cut the power off, anybody can use it. We always used to do this after tenants left but these days I put power into my name because they tend to cut it off much quicker than they ever did.

    I'd be kicking up a fuss because they are asking you to pay for someone else's use. When we put power into my name to renovate, it costs maybe $30 to hook up and $20 usage (rough figures but you get the idea).

    To ask you to pay $1280 that clearly isn't your cost is disgusting. I'd be complaining and insist that if it isn't sorted, you'll bring in the ombudsman. I doubt they can legally ask you to sign up after the fact in the circumstances you've outlined. I've been told that simply bringing in the ombudsman costs companies money, regardless of the outcome.
     
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  13. jim1964

    jim1964 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Tell me please you had Landlord insurance.
     
  14. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Umm can't remember ... I think not on this one :oops:. I had read that you can't claim insurance on a periodic lease - I now realise that's not the case.
     
  15. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    If the agent assigned the management to an unlicensed person both the agent and (I assume) unlicensed person can be brought in front of fair trading. Didyou sign a new agreement with the agency which has no records? If not they have no right to commission.
     
  16. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Doesnt matter, they should have done a final meter read then sent the old bill to collections. You are not responsible.
     
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  17. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    No I didn't sign anything and they don't want a bar of me.
    This same PM also worked for the other agency that ended up with ASIC. I know she's had trouble wiht her health but she hasn't done anything to help my situation or her own. She's probably already being audited etc. I should get on with it this week.
    I think it's the good eating for the last 2 weeks which has woken me up a bit.
     
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  18. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Wow, sounds messy....

    I agree with others, Electricity is not your problem if you were not using it, you could easily show them you have a lease from X date & I would be passing them to this new PM if they got money from any of this, they can have the electric co chase for tenants details. I would not ignore it though, as they may mark your credit history.

    If your out 4 weeks, just give to another PM now, you can sort the rest as they are fining a new tenant.
     
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  19. JacM

    JacM VIC Buyer's Agent Business Member

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    This sort of thing is an example of a reason to request rents are distributed to you more frequently than monthly. It's an early warning system.
     
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  20. Johnny Cashflow

    Johnny Cashflow Well-Known Member

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    Another reason to self manage! Lol
     
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