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Can my landlord claim this from my bond…?

By veganarchy - 8 September 2010 22

Unfortunately I had to end my lease 6 months early. I have agreed to pay a weeks rent in advance, which I think is pretty standard. I had my final inspection last thursday, I hadn’t heard anything about my bond so I called them today.

The real estate agent said everything was perfect in the house except a wall in the bathroom had been damaged. They are claiming it’s $800 to fix it, which is half the bond! Apparently there is water damage in the wall that joins the laundry and bathroom. I didn’t know about any leak until I leaned against the wall to rest whilst cleaning and the wall collapsed in where I was leaning against it. But looking back on the original condition report I edited it stating there was tiles coming away from that wall. Could that have been a sign of water damage and am I liable to replace the whole wall even if it was damaged before I moved in? And is $800 standard?


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22 Responses to
Can my landlord claim this from my bond…?
Me no fry 10:55 am 09 Sep 10

Use this experience to your advantage.

I used my visceral hatred of dodgy, greedy, venal, petty, mendacious, larcenous real estate agencies/property managers/landlords as a prompt to finally get together a deposit for my first property.

Thumper 10:19 am 09 Sep 10

The landlord can have your first born child plus your soul.

I read it somewhere. Maybe on RiotAct.

Deadmandrinking 10:04 am 09 Sep 10

Please, for the love of God, get some advice, go to the Tenants Union. Fight these pricks. I just got out of a rather bad property manager who ended up charging me for natural wear and tear stuff (not to mention their pre-final inspection phone-calls, both at work and when I was in class which involved some rude woman constantly asking if I was going to get the carpets and curtains professionally cleaned and who with). Because I was stuck with two different people needing their bonds back, I foolishly just paid the cost. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I regret doing that to this day. These people are professional scum and rip-off artists. Make them scared, threaten them with everything, scrutinize every dealing with them. Although, I do understand that they can be a lot to deal with, especially when you’re moving house in a place like Canberra and when you’ve got a full working-day schedule.

vg 9:10 am 09 Sep 10

You could tell your landlord that you will be counter-suing them for injuries and damages arising from the wall that collapsed because of their poor building maintenance.

Reminds me of a situation a few years agao when I was renting and under sufferance of a rude and unprofessional property manager (the owner was lovely though). This property manager continued to conduct ‘inspections’ while we weren’t home despite our protestations and me making myself available at any time should they care to arrange it. But no, this beeatch only wanted it her way.

The ‘last’ time she did one of these inspections without our knowledge of consent she left a report which tried to blame us for damage that we had reported, and noted, when we moved in. I gave her a ring and the rudeness continued. I then asked her if she’d seen the $100 cash I’d left sitting on a kitchen bench. She asked what I was talking about and I said that I’d left $100 sitting on a kitchen bench for the other housemate. They got home and it wasn’t there. I told her that as she was the only person that had been in the house between me leaving the money and the housemate returning home (and she herself had documented that through her report) that, sadly, I could only draw the conclusion that she had stolen the money. I think I heard the pants sh*t down the phone line.

We never had another unannounced inspection after that.

Can your landlord claim it? Yes
Is that claim morally or legally sustainable? Based on what you’ve said, I doubt it

cleo 10:13 pm 08 Sep 10

Existing damage, I take it you have a condition report? Also the weeks rent in advance is for advertising the property, so make sure the property in rented within a week, I’m sure that they would find someone, but just in case, check with the real estate that they have advertised it, and when they have found a tenant.

kellogg 9:31 pm 08 Sep 10

Mate, I’m a landlord and manage my own properties privately. Real estate agents use rentals as cheap fodder, and they’re high maintenance for their property managers. And then you get crap rip-offs like what this seems to be.

It sounds to me on the basis of your posting that you noted on the condition report problems with falling/peeling tiles, and if subsequent to that there has been undetected water damage resulting in the collapsed wall, it is clearly not your responsibility. As you have been advised, make your representations politely and in writing. If there are telephone conversations, note with whom you spoke, what time and what date. I think you have a very strong case NOT to be charged for something you did not cause and for which you could not have been expected to have had foreknowledge. Take it to the limit.

Felix the Cat 9:06 pm 08 Sep 10

Damage aside, aren’t tenants that break a lease normally liable for rent (and advertising expenses) until a new tenant is found?

Not sure what you mean by “agreed to pay a weeks rent in advance”? Rent is normally paid in advance, paying an extra week because you break a lease wouldn’t normally mean diddly.

farq 5:59 pm 08 Sep 10

Do property managers carry grudges?

Could fighting it in the long run be more trouble than it is worth?

I have never heard about it, but I have rented in years.

enrique 4:51 pm 08 Sep 10

Contact these people…

Read this…

Be honest, professional and polite in your dealings with your agent/landlord (even if they are not).

Try to ensure all communication is in writing and keep a record of it in case you need to refer back to it later.

astrojax 4:33 pm 08 Sep 10

you bastard, idling against a poor sad wall and damaging it and now just wanting to run away without making restitution – sad, what people have become thee days…

arescarti42 3:56 pm 08 Sep 10

That sounds pretty unreasonable to me.

Unless you somehow managed to damage the wall which caused the subsequent water damage, I’d be asking for the full bond back. Tiled walls are supposed to be waterproof.

$800 is probably not expensive, depending on what needs to be fixed.

colourful sydney rac 3:56 pm 08 Sep 10

KB1971 said :

If you didnt cause the damage you should not be liable for it.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, just speaing from experience from a rental property I used to lease. After 8 years all they could find was 2 tiles chipped on the front door step. I agrued that point (8 years) & they gave me my bond back.

I should give the same disclaimer.

fragge 3:55 pm 08 Sep 10

My mate has been going back and forth between his real estate agent trying to get signed on as a tenant in the house he’s been living in for more than six months and has described to me conversations he heard over a glass wall along the lines of ‘look what we managed to get charged out of this idiot’s bond’. I’d say this is one of those occasions – pre-existing damage means that the owner is liable, not the tenant. #1 is absolutely correct, submit a Bond Return form.

KB1971 3:45 pm 08 Sep 10

If you didnt cause the damage you should not be liable for it.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, just speaing from experience from a rental property I used to lease. After 8 years all they could find was 2 tiles chipped on the front door step. I agrued that point (8 years) & they gave me my bond back.

colourful sydney rac 3:40 pm 08 Sep 10

SOunds like it is due to a pre-existing fault. Contact the tennants union to confirm but my advice would be to download a bond return form and send it in to the Office of Rental Bonds. The real estate agent then has 7 days (IIRC) to object to the bond being returned. They may posture and threaten to take you to the tenancy tribunal – don’t back down it is a common threat they make and often don’t follow through with.

Having said all that, I am surprised that they are only asking for one weeks rent if you are breaking the lease.

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