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Real Estates Bullying Ways

Leiulu 21 February 2013 42

I am curious to hear if anyone has had any success taking a real estate through the Tribunal and Fair Trading?

We decided to break a 12 month fixed term lease by 6 weeks. Since the moment we told the real estate, we have copped hell from them. They were given 5 weeks’ notice prior to us vacating the property to start re-advertising, and have the place open for inspections multiple times a week. The house was in immaculate condition for each opening.

They wanted us to continue to pay rent for the 6 weeks until our lease was formally expired, and to pay a week’s rent to readvertise, despite the fact that they would have had to start that only 2-3 weeks away anyway. They have since back down on the re-advertising fee once I explained I had contacted the Tenancy Union, and that the Tenancy Act does not allow such costs. Our final inspection was last week, and we passed it – yet they are refused to release the bond. We have since submitted this to the Office of Regulatory Services. They believe they can keep this until a new tenant is found – despite the Tenancy Act not stipulating they can do this.

As well as all of this, they have used scare tactics, threatened us and continue to try and intimidate us. They have contravened at least 8 of the clauses under their code of conduct.

I have read numerous posts about this particular real estate on here – and want to know if anyone has had success with fair trading and the tribunal, as the more people who have made complaints, the better chances of them investigating.


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42 Responses to Real Estates Bullying Ways
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DrKoresh DrKoresh 2:19 pm 22 Feb 13

Leiulu said :

Just received a notification about unpaid rent:

“Our records indicate that your rent is only paid to 13/02/2013, this makes you $2500 in arrears. We have checked the records of your payments and it is unusual for you to be in a position of arrears with your payments. You are required to pay all outstanding rent within 7 days of the date of service of this notice. If you pay all outstanding rent within 7 days no further action will be taken at this time and the tenancy will continue. “

WTF? What part of having completed the final inspection and handing the keys back did they miss exactly??

Take ’em to court, if they’re really being as egregious as you say.

Leiulu Leiulu 1:58 pm 22 Feb 13

Just received a notification about unpaid rent:

“Our records indicate that your rent is only paid to 13/02/2013, this makes you $2500 in arrears. We have checked the records of your payments and it is unusual for you to be in a position of arrears with your payments. You are required to pay all outstanding rent within 7 days of the date of service of this notice. If you pay all outstanding rent within 7 days no further action will be taken at this time and the tenancy will continue. “

WTF? What part of having completed the final inspection and handing the keys back did they miss exactly??

cous cous 1:28 pm 22 Feb 13

+1 for a horrible encounter with Badenoch!

tuco tuco 12:51 pm 22 Feb 13

bleebleeblee said :

m_ratt said :

TheDancingDjinn said :

And there is no justification to ripping someone off, just because they happen to own more than one home.

For goodness sake, the owner is not getting or going to get ripped off.

A tenant is entitled to end a lease early. Provisions exist in the Residential Tenancies Act for this situation.

The owner is entitled to claim compensation from the tenant for the damages they suffer (lost income). However, the owner (and their agent) MUST take action to MINIMISE their loss (attempt to find another tenant).

Ending a lease 6 weeks early is not the end of the world. The owner will not be out of pocket, providing they and their agent fulfil their responsibilities in minimising (reasonably avoid) the damages.

A property manager should be professional enough (chortle) to cope with their responsibilities without becoming unreasonable.

The Standard Terms are quite clear:
“Notice of intention to vacate by tenant
84 (1) If the tenant serves a notice of intention to vacate and vacates the premises in accordance with the notice, the tenancy terminates on the date of vacating the premises.
(2) On receiving a notice of intention to vacate, the lessor may—
(a) accept the notice and accept that the tenancy ends on the date nominated in the notice; or
(b) apply to the tribunal for confirmation of the tenancy agreement, an order for compensation or both. “

At the date the tenancy ends, rent outstanding (to that date) can be deducted from the Bond. If no rent is outstanding to that date, and no damages to the property require repair, the bond should be refunded.

If ACAT is to make a compensation order this would be payable by the tenant, not deductible from a bond refund.

OP should apply under Division 3.4 for release of the bond money, and leave Badenoch to make fools of themselves in disputing.

yes, this.

A succinct statement bleebleeblee. Perhaps you could give some detail about which part of “this” you feel so positive about? I realise your post is effective in its brevity, but there’s always a little more room on the internet if you really try.

bleebleeblee bleebleeblee 12:35 pm 22 Feb 13

m_ratt said :

TheDancingDjinn said :

And there is no justification to ripping someone off, just because they happen to own more than one home.

For goodness sake, the owner is not getting or going to get ripped off.

A tenant is entitled to end a lease early. Provisions exist in the Residential Tenancies Act for this situation.

The owner is entitled to claim compensation from the tenant for the damages they suffer (lost income). However, the owner (and their agent) MUST take action to MINIMISE their loss (attempt to find another tenant).

Ending a lease 6 weeks early is not the end of the world. The owner will not be out of pocket, providing they and their agent fulfil their responsibilities in minimising (reasonably avoid) the damages.

A property manager should be professional enough (chortle) to cope with their responsibilities without becoming unreasonable.

The Standard Terms are quite clear:
“Notice of intention to vacate by tenant
84 (1) If the tenant serves a notice of intention to vacate and vacates the premises in accordance with the notice, the tenancy terminates on the date of vacating the premises.
(2) On receiving a notice of intention to vacate, the lessor may—
(a) accept the notice and accept that the tenancy ends on the date nominated in the notice; or
(b) apply to the tribunal for confirmation of the tenancy agreement, an order for compensation or both. “

At the date the tenancy ends, rent outstanding (to that date) can be deducted from the Bond. If no rent is outstanding to that date, and no damages to the property require repair, the bond should be refunded.

If ACAT is to make a compensation order this would be payable by the tenant, not deductible from a bond refund.

OP should apply under Division 3.4 for release of the bond money, and leave Badenoch to make fools of themselves in disputing.

yes, this.

Leiulu Leiulu 11:14 am 22 Feb 13

Alderney said :

Leiulu said :

Thanks for your comments. I just want to clarify, that at no point have I said we would not pay compensation for the owners losses during the period between when we vacated and there being a new tenant (despite being a large development company, not a family with an investment property I might add).

I just dont believe the Agents should be able to get away with behaving so poorly and have no action taken against them as this is not a one time thing. I will be taking them to Fair Trading as a side issue – which is based on their behaviour against the Code of Conduct that Agents are to adhere to.

Welcome to RA, the home of people jumping to conclusions.

You can always obtain a supply of half house bricks and every few months or so just drop by the RE office late at night to ensure the office gets a more natural flow of air through it.

After a while, their insurance will go up and, combined with the hassle, they might decide to change their behaviour towards people. It may just end up making you feel better.

Of course, having this now in the public domain means that it might be a bad move to actually execute such a plan.

haha gold! I agree, think it would safer to keep this in legal ground

Alderney Alderney 11:03 am 22 Feb 13

Leiulu said :

Thanks for your comments. I just want to clarify, that at no point have I said we would not pay compensation for the owners losses during the period between when we vacated and there being a new tenant (despite being a large development company, not a family with an investment property I might add).

I just dont believe the Agents should be able to get away with behaving so poorly and have no action taken against them as this is not a one time thing. I will be taking them to Fair Trading as a side issue – which is based on their behaviour against the Code of Conduct that Agents are to adhere to.

Welcome to RA, the home of people jumping to conclusions.

You can always obtain a supply of half house bricks and every few months or so just drop by the RE office late at night to ensure the office gets a more natural flow of air through it.

After a while, their insurance will go up and, combined with the hassle, they might decide to change their behaviour towards people. It may just end up making you feel better.

Of course, having this now in the public domain means that it might be a bad move to actually execute such a plan.

Leiulu Leiulu 10:26 am 22 Feb 13

Thanks for your comments. I just want to clarify, that at no point have I said we would not pay compensation for the owners losses during the period between when we vacated and there being a new tenant (despite being a large development company, not a family with an investment property I might add).

I just dont believe the Agents should be able to get away with behaving so poorly and have no action taken against them as this is not a one time thing. I will be taking them to Fair Trading as a side issue – which is based on their behaviour against the Code of Conduct that Agents are to adhere to.

Genie Genie 10:10 am 22 Feb 13

My sister recently had issues with breaking her lease early.

She gave the RE almost 3 months notice they were vacating and the RE made almost no effort to find new tenants. When it got closer to them vacating the RE would often call late on a Friday and announce what time she was having an open house the next day. My sister would naturally dispute and always asked for 48hours notice.

They RE had open houses for at least 6 weeks prior to them vacating and still couldn’t find a new tenant. The RE also insisted they couldn’t vacate before the 8th Jan as their office was closed over Christmas. That they also needed to call on the 7th Jan to book in an inspection, which would be undertaken 7 days after they have notice and no new tenants could move in until the final inspection was done. Thus forcing an extra 2-3 weeks rent onto them.

When the property was finally rented mid Jan – my sister kept getting phone calls that the property was too dusty and they needed to come back and clean in before the new tenants move in. My sisters response – that she had moved out 3 weeks earlier and was now interstate so she couldn’t come clean it again.

She was also advised her bond would be held until the original lease end date (which I believe in March or April)

Not sure what the latest update is. But this experience has turned me off ever wanting to rent.

ToastFliesRED ToastFliesRED 10:07 am 22 Feb 13

jett18 said :

With so many people posting negative comments about BRE, it makes me wonder why they are still in business.

Surely at some point the tribunal / legislative body needs to step in and do something to minimise this kind of behaviour?

Firstly there is no defense for proven inappropriate/illegal/immoral behaviour on the part of any business.

Ok that out of the way, have you perhaps considered that the reason this company is still in business is that despite the vocal allegations being made that the silent majority of their clients might be happy with the service they provide?

All I am saying is that everyone is entitled to their opinions and that everyone perceives their experiences through their own personality and history, but as per my first response to your post I would caution against making generalisations for others eg ” truly are dreadful property managers– for both tenants and owners”. Just like I am not making the generalisation that this company are spotless because I have never had a problem with them and neither had the people who referred me to them.

Let ACAT or whoever examine the allegations and deal with the facts.

iii iii 10:04 am 22 Feb 13

Leiulu said :

iii said :

Has anyone had issues with real estate agents not taking you and your details off there data base? i have asked several times but continue to recieve paper mail, email and text messages. If it continues i think i will name the individual. As i have asked him directly several times and he has agreed to it.

I’m just worried if i do name him there may be consequences.

You can take it to the Tribunal or ACAT who can send them an order to remove your details.

Thanks for that.

thebrownstreak69 thebrownstreak69 9:49 am 22 Feb 13

jett18 said :

With so many people posting negative comments about BRE, it makes me wonder why they are still in business.

Surely at some point the tribunal / legislative body needs to step in and do something to minimise this kind of behaviour?

The bar is set quite low…

jett18 jett18 9:04 am 22 Feb 13

With so many people posting negative comments about BRE, it makes me wonder why they are still in business.

Surely at some point the tribunal / legislative body needs to step in and do something to minimise this kind of behaviour?

m_ratt m_ratt 8:02 pm 21 Feb 13

TheDancingDjinn said :

And there is no justification to ripping someone off, just because they happen to own more than one home.

For goodness sake, the owner is not getting or going to get ripped off.

A tenant is entitled to end a lease early. Provisions exist in the Residential Tenancies Act for this situation.

The owner is entitled to claim compensation from the tenant for the damages they suffer (lost income). However, the owner (and their agent) MUST take action to MINIMISE their loss (attempt to find another tenant).

Ending a lease 6 weeks early is not the end of the world. The owner will not be out of pocket, providing they and their agent fulfil their responsibilities in minimising (reasonably avoid) the damages.

A property manager should be professional enough (chortle) to cope with their responsibilities without becoming unreasonable.

The Standard Terms are quite clear:
“Notice of intention to vacate by tenant
84 (1) If the tenant serves a notice of intention to vacate and vacates the premises in accordance with the notice, the tenancy terminates on the date of vacating the premises.
(2) On receiving a notice of intention to vacate, the lessor may—
(a) accept the notice and accept that the tenancy ends on the date nominated in the notice; or
(b) apply to the tribunal for confirmation of the tenancy agreement, an order for compensation or both. “

At the date the tenancy ends, rent outstanding (to that date) can be deducted from the Bond. If no rent is outstanding to that date, and no damages to the property require repair, the bond should be refunded.

If ACAT is to make a compensation order this would be payable by the tenant, not deductible from a bond refund.

OP should apply under Division 3.4 for release of the bond money, and leave Badenoch to make fools of themselves in disputing.

TheDancingDjinn TheDancingDjinn 7:22 pm 21 Feb 13

schmeah said :

Grimm said :

So, you are breaking a legally binding contract, and complaining that they want you to pay out the rest of the lease and wont return your bond?

Seriously, while I have no love for real estate agents, I have just as little for selfish tenants. That house is a source of income for somebody. They probably have a mortgage to pay on it, which your rent is used for. But hey, you don’t care about the financial hardship you are putting somebody else through, as long as you get what you want and aren’t inconvenienced.

Geeze, it’s not like someone put a gun to their head and told them to buy up investment properties. Renting properties comes with risk, that’s what bond is used for .. but bullying tenants and being generally argumentative and belligerent is not the best way to deal with a stressful situation, especially if ( as the OP says) the tenants were excellent throughout their lease. And breaking a lease 6 weeks early is not the crisis you appear to be making it out to be.

“this is what the bond is for”? But she wants the bond too, as well as leaving owner without a tenant for almost 2 months… as the above poster points out.. that’s a lot of mortgage payments.
And there is no justification to ripping someone off, just because they happen to own more than one home.

schmeah schmeah 6:42 pm 21 Feb 13

Grimm said :

So, you are breaking a legally binding contract, and complaining that they want you to pay out the rest of the lease and wont return your bond?

Seriously, while I have no love for real estate agents, I have just as little for selfish tenants. That house is a source of income for somebody. They probably have a mortgage to pay on it, which your rent is used for. But hey, you don’t care about the financial hardship you are putting somebody else through, as long as you get what you want and aren’t inconvenienced.

Geeze, it’s not like someone put a gun to their head and told them to buy up investment properties. Renting properties comes with risk, that’s what bond is used for .. but bullying tenants and being generally argumentative and belligerent is not the best way to deal with a stressful situation, especially if ( as the OP says) the tenants were excellent throughout their lease. And breaking a lease 6 weeks early is not the crisis you appear to be making it out to be.

youami youami 4:55 pm 21 Feb 13

I have used ACAT to claim for loss of enjoyment of the use of the premises due to the real estate agent being unable to repair heating in winter (noting it was considered an urgent repair). Whilst it wasn’t actually the real estate agent that neglected their duty (it was in fact the usual story of too few tradies in Canberra to make the industry competitive and therefore they charge like a wounded bull and forget about customer service). I also had a claim in train with ACAT for another agent’s failure to hand me premises for a new tenancy over in a reasonable state (although we settled out of court) and that is another story… but I digress… you need to remember Leiulu that there are three sides to every story and there are three stakeholders in your tenancy: you, the agent, and the landlord.

I rent but I also own property and use a property manager as my agent so I see all three sides. I agree with many here that breaking a lease (regardless of whether it is 6 weeks or 6 months) is still breaking a contract. I am sure the agent could have handled your situation more professionally but the landlord is completely entitled to claim for re-letting costs etc. and if there are other problems besides just breaking the lease they can claim compensations etc.

You say you broke the lease 6 weeks early so that would have meant you gave notice at least 21 days prior to that 6 weeks (or whatever the minimum notice period is under your fixed term) so the agent and landlord would have known you were leaving 9 weeks before end of fixed term. Am I right?! And remember you can’t just up and leave after a fixed term anyway (it is not like the tenancy expires) so unless I am mistaken you would merely roll over into a periodic lease which still requires you to give at least 21 days notice and need to keep place clean for showings, etc etc. So it seems to me that it is a full 6 weeks of tenancy lost whichever way you read it. 42 days might not sound much to you but if you own the property and expect say $500 week in rent from someone renting it then that equates to $3,000 in mortgage repayments for your investment that you are expecting and would now have to otherwise find.

So nonetheless they can’t withhold bond for no good reason so put in your claim with ORS and if you think things are still unfair go to ACAT. It is your word against theirs. Who knows you could also learn something. And remember agents are just that, agents (representatives) on behalf of the owner, agents can be arrogant or rude and in many cases just plain stupid and completely ignorant of their obligations under the Tenancy Act but such is life.

zorro29 zorro29 2:57 pm 21 Feb 13

Hi there

Oh dear…yes RE agents can be really difficult. I have taken a RE Agent to VCAT (obviously in Vic not ACT) and been successful.

A few points on your post that may help:
– they can’t actually have open access to your place for heaps of inspections. the lease usually says reasonable access which shouldn’t be more than 1-3 inspections prior to your departure. if it has been more than this, point it out and refuse access. as you’re paying rent, they can’t force their way in.

– asking for a week’s rent to re-let/readvertise is an illegal fee. refuse to pay it and if they persist, then take them to ACAT. they have no grounds to pursue it so they will usually back down. all leases and the tenancy act state it is illegal to charge a fee to commence or cease a lease.

– what they can charge for is LOSS of income. meaning they need to prove they have lost something as a result of you leaving. re-advertising, they would have to do anyway… if there is a gap between you leaving and the new tenant arriving, that is all they are entitled to. if there is no gap, they’re not entitled to anything as there hasn’t been a loss incurred as a result of you ending the lease early.

– they can not keep your bond to cover potential losses. it needs to be released to you.

but long story short, i have been successful at VCAT and also had an RE agent try and pull the “releasing fee” which i flatly refused to pay and they let it go

good luck my dear!!!

Leiulu Leiulu 2:48 pm 21 Feb 13

jett18 said :

The saddest thing about this is that BRE have been pulling these moves for years– I had my own run in with them as a tenent almost ten years ago and bettered them only by knowing my rights, telling them that they were breaking the Act and not backing down through tribunal, which we got a positive result from.

Good luck with your issue– know that you are not alone with battling with Heather and her mob, they truly are dreadful property managers– for both tenants and owners.

Thanks – I didnt think we were – heard so many horror stories about them. We were perfect tenants until now. They even offered us a cleaning job the place was that spotless.

Leiulu Leiulu 2:47 pm 21 Feb 13

iii said :

Has anyone had issues with real estate agents not taking you and your details off there data base? i have asked several times but continue to recieve paper mail, email and text messages. If it continues i think i will name the individual. As i have asked him directly several times and he has agreed to it.

I’m just worried if i do name him there may be consequences.

You can take it to the Tribunal or ACAT who can send them an order to remove your details.

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