VIC Tenants being extremely fussy

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Melmac, 25th Jan, 2020.

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

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC
    Hi Guys,

    I am in need of some advise. We had tenants in our property in May last year and they seem to be extremely fussy about every little thing.
    One major issue they had was that since moving in their gas bill was quite high and as per them it was due to heating unit not working properly.
    Our PM sent a professional to look at the heating unit and as per him the unit is not faulty/broken. But he suggested to decrease the gas bill either the whole unit can be replaced with higher wattage unit or the vents can be made wider costing us either $5k or $2k depending which path we take.
    Tenant jumped up and down for a month when we declined to do either immediately as the unit is not faulty/broken and is in the recommended power range for the size of house.
    And we said we can consider the 2 options down the line.
    At this the tenant said she will take us to Vcat as the property was falsely advertised with central heating when the unit is not working as she wants it to work. Since then we haven't heard anything further.
    How would you guys deal with such a tenant or not deal with them at all and ask them to evict once the lease expires which is in May.


    Any thoughts would be helpful.
    TIA.
     
  2. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    4,029
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    Step 1. Figure out if you have any legal obligations to do the thing requested.

    Step 2. If "no", figure out if you are willing to do the thing requested anyway because of keeping tenant happy/incidental benefit to you overall/goodness of your heart/whatever.

    Step 3. If still "no", politely, clearly and firmly inform the tenant that you are not doing the requested thing, and also your reasoning.

    Step 4. Not to stress out while carrying out the above steps, since its just the basic thought process that a landlord has to run through each time.
     
    S.T, Terry_w, Player and 5 others like this.
  3. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    5,574
    Location:
    Melbourne
    the term " I will pursue/take legal action" seems to be used every 5 seconds by just about everyone these days,
    I/my workplace get threatened by legal action once a day at least, and not once has anything happened

    I would only start to worry until you get actual notice of Vcat
    so is the unit actually a central heating unit?? I would like my coffee machine to work as a personal trainer, but I wont get too far at Vcat if I took it further!
     
    Hodge, Michael Mitchell and Dan Wood like this.
  4. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC



    How do I find out what is my legal obligation in this case?
    And we are happy to take necessary steps - but do not like being threatened this way without any reason.
    We were considering sending another professional to have a thorough look and make recommendations but I have a feeling if we let this tenant stay, and the answer to their request is NO (after considering everything) they will be unhappy and might create issues in future.
    That why was considering to just let hem go and find new tenants.
     
  5. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC

    Think its a good idea to let them go before it comes to that?
    And yes it is a central heating unit.
     
    Archaon likes this.
  6. Dan Wood

    Dan Wood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th May, 2019
    Posts:
    337
    Location:
    QLD
    What's the way she wants it to work?

    How high of a gas bill are we talking? Do you know an average for that unit?

    VCats probably going to laugh this off, they're a bit ridiculous, @TMNT is correct that *Cat is used every 5 seconds to technically try and "get your way"... It's becoming a joke.
     
    Michael Mitchell, Melmac and TMNT like this.
  7. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    10,129
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Do you have it in writing from the company that inspected the unit and said it is working properly? If so, I'd stick to my guns and not renew the lease when it comes due. Move them on.

    Have you had previous tenants complain about the higher than expected gas bill. If I run our air-con every day, I'll get a higher than expected power bill. That is because I'm using something that uses power.
     
  8. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC




    Tenant is saying that when they close the door -it does not heat up the room. And this is for master , study and another room. Whereas this was not the case when we lived in the house. And the tradesman who went to check could not identify a issue and said there is no fault/issue but the performance can be improved by doing a bunch of things. Thats why I was thinking to send the guy who installed a new motor when we were in the house to go and have another look, service the unit and let us know if there is an issue.
    So its a 4 bedroom house and living area is quite spacious with big glass windows. Their bill last winters was $700.
     
  9. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC
    The guy who inspected it was a bit vague in report but I will have another look. But when we asked him over the phone : Is there a fault/issue with unit, he said No.


    If we do decide not to renew the lease, and ask them to move out, they cant really create a issue about that? It seems this tenant has a lot of time on her hands to find issues and write long emails.
     
  10. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC
    So I re-read the report and the guy has said one thing in report and another thing on the phone.
     
  11. Dan Wood

    Dan Wood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th May, 2019
    Posts:
    337
    Location:
    QLD
    And compared to when you lived there? 700 a quarter seems quite large to me...
     
    Melmac likes this.
  12. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC
    When we were there $450 approx. But its just 2 of us so we managed vents where we didn't need them.
    But tenant has full house and someone might even be home during the day whereas both of us were out until 6:30pm each weekday.
     
    Archaon likes this.
  13. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8,942
    Location:
    Melbourne
    That's what you pay your PM for to sort these things out - get them to make a call on the legal obs (if the report says nothing wrong, I would be happy to show the tenants a copy).

    They could be leaving the heating on full blast with windows open 24/7 (I've known people to do this)

    The Y-man
     
    KayTea, TMNT and Dan Wood like this.
  14. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC

    I re-read the report and it says :
    1. "The unit is under sized for this property",
    2. "Duct work was installed poorly and is undersized in some areas"

    When we spoke to the guy on phone he sais there is nothing as such wrong with unit but it can be improved.
    When I checked online its says the unit should be of 18-23KW for this covered area and ours is 18kw.
     
  15. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    10,129
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Sounds like you do have an undersized unit for the area. Especially if the written report states that.

    If you've lived there and closed off vents to suit your usage, I don't think you can ask or expect your tenants to do this. But I wonder if you pay to upgrade either the unit or widen the vents, whether their gas bill is still going to be high anyway if they open all vents and keep the whole house warm rather than zoned areas warm like it sounds that you did?

    If they are running it full bore with all vents open (and I've no idea how these things work because we don't have them in Brisbane), then they have to wear the cost of the gas they are using.

    Would having a larger motor save them on the gas it uses. I wouldn't think so, so perhaps they need to understand to zone it off to the rooms in use?

    I don't know where you stand legally on this. It would depend (in my opinion) on what the repairman is prepared too put in writing to support your stance.

    Could you ask the repairman (either the one who's been there already or the one who installed the new motor for you when you lived there) to put in writing that it is working as it should and is the right size for the area being heated?

    If they cannot put that in writing, then I'd say you need to upgrade it so that you won't have this issue with the next tenant as well.
     
    housechopper2 and Melmac like this.
  16. Melmac

    Melmac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30th Aug, 2017
    Posts:
    64
    Location:
    VIC

    What you are saying makes absolute sense. I think we will get another repairman to check the unit and vents and do another report. Plus may be service the unit , clean the vents, anything that would help.
    We are all about doing the right thing by tenants and listening to their issues/concerns. But my biggest issue with this tenant has been the threat to go to VCAT without giving the matter enough thought/time and being reasonable.And that's why I feel like asking them to leave.
    But then I think may be we should give them another chance and see how things go.
     
  17. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8,942
    Location:
    Melbourne
    FYI - if you run without enough vents open, it will cause too much back pressure and the unit will (or should!) shut down (with an obscure error message on the console if it is a modern unit).

    The Y-man
     
    Dan Wood likes this.
  18. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    5,574
    Location:
    Melbourne
    High powered heating units can cost a lot

    But if your current one is almost adequate

    You could install a 5kw split system which should be able to do 2 to 3 rms without a problem, for well under $2k

    But sounds like youll be getting complaints about the damn power bill so its a catch 22
     
    Last edited: 25th Jan, 2020
    wylie and Archaon like this.
  19. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8,942
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Nah, the tenants will take it to VCAT saying it is not "central heating" :D

    The Y-man
     
    TMNT likes this.
  20. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Well-Known Member Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,070
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I actually sat in on a VCAT hearing end of last year, many issues in the tenancy but one was due to a “high” gas bill.

    Member rightly said that they cannot compare one gas bill to another in a different property. Each property is different - so provided the unit is operating as it should and you have this in writing in theory that’s all you need.

    From what you said it could mean the unit is on the lower end of what’s required for the home, but it’s in working condition. It’s also now summer and I wouldn’t imagine the tenant would be using it as regularly right now either.

    If you are wanting to move them on and if the lease expires in May I would be issuing a 90 day end of lease notice ASAP as it needs to be expire on the exact day the lease expires.