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Tenancy End Dispute

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Gentleman Technologist, 3rd Aug, 2016.

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What do I do?

  1. File the complaint and don't let them get away with it

    33.3%
  2. Chalk it up and walk away

    66.7%
  1. Gentleman Technologist

    Gentleman Technologist Member

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    Lowly tenant with a question here.

    This is what happened:
    - Owner advises me that they want to take vacant possession in August. All cool with me, I want to move out anyway. So we agree with the agent that I'll move out before then. We agree a date in July, everyone's happy.
    - I email agent to work out how much rent is owed. She gives me a number. I pay that. We're all happy.
    - I move out on the date agreed. Hear nothing from agent.
    - 2 days later I email agent to organise final inspection (because I've heard nothing). We agree a date 5 days after the end of the tenancy for that. I say it's more convenient for me to return the keys then, and is that OK? She says fine. Everyone's happy.
    - Final inspection happens. All good, no damages, nice and clean. Everyone's happy. Agent confirms they'll be repaying the full bond.
    - Bond repayment email arrives, repayment is short by 5 days rent. I email agent, she says it's because I'm responsible for rent until the keys are returned. I'm not happy.

    I've tried discussing this with the agent, no agreement. She points me at the tenancy agreement which clearly says the tenant is responsible for rent until the keys are returned. I argue that we agreed the tenancy ended earlier than that. She doesn't agree.

    I have a choice. Go to Magistrate's Court and attempt to claim at least part of the $178 back, or chalk it up to experience and move on.

    What do you good people think?
     
    charttv likes this.
  2. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, I think the PM is right. Without key they can't claim possession of the property, hence you are still liable for the rent
     
  3. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    I think the PM has done the wrong thing. The PM should not have agreed to collect keys on a future date without informing you that you would be charged rent for the extra days. I would never do that to my tenant. The question is what to do? I have been to the magistrates court in Perth. It took more than half a day and at that point we were not even close to seeing a magistrate. I ended up settling for a low amount just to get out of there. My opinion is that my time is worth more than $178 but you might get lucky and spend less time there. Still, that magistrate could find that the PM complied with the contract, so you might get nothing for your time.

    Another option is to call Consumer Protection. The complaint is that you feel you were misled. I know my neighbours who are tenants had some success in having complaints resolved through Consumer Protection but none of their complaints were like this situation, so they might not be able to help.
     
  4. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    I think the PM is almost certainly wrong and you're almost certainly entitled to your those 5 days worth of rent. The return of the keys 5 days later means diddly squat in the scenario you've described - the tenancy terminated by agreement on that earlier date.

    Problem is, is it worth the cost and hassle of having to apply to court? Eh, maybe - but that's a personal decision for you.
     
    EN710 and Perthguy like this.
  5. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I also think the agent did the wrong thing, but where you stand legally is a big of a grey area. Is it worth $178 to fight it, and even then you may not win.

    It seems everyone these days gets onto Facebook. Maybe tell the agency that you will be making your story known on Facebook and on review sites and see if that motivates them to own up to the fact they have not treated you well.
     
  6. JDM

    JDM Well-Known Member

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    I think this could go either way at the tribunal. Really you should have returned the keys and the agent should have organised the exit inspection/followed up with you so both parties are in the wrong to a degree. I would personally just learn the lesson to always return the keys on the day you vacate the property and move on but I can understand if you did want to challenge it.
     
  7. Gentleman Technologist

    Gentleman Technologist Member

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    Hard decision to make. Almost certainly not worth $178. But in terms of the wider picture of calling an agent on their bad practice... maybe. Thanks for the opinion :)
     
    inertia likes this.
  8. Random Username

    Random Username Well-Known Member

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    Do you have this in writing?
     
  9. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    In a former role, I was a tenancy solicitor acting for tenants - so literally my job was calling agents out for their bad practice.

    It didn't seem to make that much of impact on the industry here in WA though, so I usually recommend people to look out for themselves first, and worry less about trying to "do the right thing".

    And just remember that the application fee for a Form 6 is now $53.75 I believe, which probably isn't refundable or claimable in most cases.
     
  10. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Bad form by the agent. Did you sign a blank bond release form? It looks like you had to chase the agent for an inspection but was there any reason why you hadn't left the keys on the end date?
     
  11. Gentleman Technologist

    Gentleman Technologist Member

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    unfortunately no, only verbal :(
     
  12. Gentleman Technologist

    Gentleman Technologist Member

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    It says it's $18.50 (or something around that). $50+ is too much to risk for this.
    Do the magistrates ever award damages?
     
  13. JenW

    JenW Well-Known Member

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    Nope, they don't award damages or costs, unfortunately :/
     
  14. VB King

    VB King Well-Known Member

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    So the tenancy wasn't over according to the PM? So the 5 days are now month to month? f they want to be pig headed, I'd be pig headed right back.

    Ask for the keys back and for the landlord to give the appropriate notice depending on the state you're in. If the owner wants to move in, let's face it they've already planned around it, this may make them see sense. Get your 5 days back in lieu of their notice.
     
  15. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, should have returned keys then I guess.
    Best to get it all finalised as soon as possible.
     
  16. Gentleman Technologist

    Gentleman Technologist Member

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    yeah, lesson learned on that one. Even if the agent is uncommunicative it's best to ask about everything.
     
    Perthguy likes this.
  17. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Take the keys back as soon as you're done, drop them off the with the receptionist.
     
  18. Gentleman Technologist

    Gentleman Technologist Member

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    Thanks for the opinions everyone.

    I decided that although the agent is clearly a fraudulent thief, I'm not going to be able to change that. It is going to cost me more than it's worth to make a claim against them, and there is always the risk that the magistrate would find against me. I'll accept the reduced bond repayment and try to not let it anger me too much.

    One of the perils of renting is that occasionally you get a crooked agent who steals your bond. I guess I got unlucky this time :( I hope Karma will take effect in due course.

    Again, thanks for the advice, it really helped :)
     
    Perthguy likes this.
  19. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    That's right, you can't. But you can lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs ;) It goes on their file. Could give you some satisfaction if you can be bothered :)
     
    wylie likes this.
  20. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Yeah not judging, but you're right. Sometimes it's better to just move on than stressing out and reducing your life expectancy ;)
     
    Last edited: 4th Aug, 2016
    Perthguy likes this.