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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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snapohead snapohead 10:25 am 21 Feb 13

If breaking a fixed lease without grounds, you’ll find the ACT does stipulate that the landlord is entitled to compensation for the loss of rent and reletting costs (inclusive of advertising costs, and capped to one weeks rent). Whilst it sounds like they aren’t approaching the situation in the best manner, you are still liable for these costs. How they go about collecting these costs, I don’t know. Tribunal perhaps? Whilst the ACT may not explicitly state they can withhold the bond until a new tenant is found, they can withhold for a dispute, which may be the grounds on which they are refusing to release the bond?

arescarti42 arescarti42 10:37 am 21 Feb 13

Was it Badenoch? Come on, name and shame.

tim_c tim_c 10:42 am 21 Feb 13

I’m not expert on this, but I think they may be able to insist you pay the remain rent until the end of the lease, or until they can find another tenant (whichever comes first).
Division 4.3 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 gives provision for the tenant to terminate a fixed term lease, but each instance appears to require application through ACAT, and only for things like a breach of conditions by the landlord/agent, significant hardship, etc. – ie. NOT “we just decided to move out early and live someplace else”
Division 4.6 may also be relevant if you “abandon” the property in which case the landlord/agent may be able to apply to ACAT for compensation for the loss of the rent had the agreement continued to the end of its term (ie. the remaining 6 weeks) AND compensation for the reasonable costs of advertising the premises for lease and of giving a right to occupy the premises to another person – though in your case, you may argue that they would have been advertising anyway, just 6 weeks later.
Have a look at the legislation here:
http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1997-84/current/pdf/1997-84.pdf

devils_advocate devils_advocate 11:22 am 21 Feb 13

Could we stop referring to what are presumably real estate agents as “real estates”? A real estate is a block of land, possibly with structures affixed. An inanimate object. You can’t talk to, argue with, or contract with a real estate. With an estate agent, this is at least theoretically possible.

This has been a public service announcement.

TheDancingDjinn TheDancingDjinn 11:35 am 21 Feb 13

arescarti42 said :

Was it Badenoch? Come on, name and shame.

Personally, i want OP named and shamed.. Don’t ever enter into a legally binding contract with this person.

Leiulu Leiulu 11:39 am 21 Feb 13

Badenoch – you were right.
Readvertising costs is a bought forward cost as you said. As we only broke the lease by weeks, they would have had to have paid these then anyway. Thats why they have suddently gotten rid of that cost as it wouldnt have stood up in the tribunal.
I agree, the landlord is entitled to compensation for his loses for the period the property has been vacant – although this does need to be determined by the tribinal, and is not classified as rent.As for the bond – who knows what they ar trying to do, other than be a pain in the backside. Its a brand new property, well 11 months old – no wonder they cant find anyone, im positive people avoid renting anything through them. Thanks everyone.

TheDancingDjinn TheDancingDjinn 11:58 am 21 Feb 13

Leiulu said :

Badenoch – you were right.
Readvertising costs is a bought forward cost as you said. As we only broke the lease by weeks, they would have had to have paid these then anyway. Thats why they have suddently gotten rid of that cost as it wouldnt have stood up in the tribunal.
I agree, the landlord is entitled to compensation for his loses for the period the property has been vacant – although this does need to be determined by the tribinal, and is not classified as rent.As for the bond – who knows what they ar trying to do, other than be a pain in the backside. Its a brand new property, well 11 months old – no wonder they cant find anyone, im positive people avoid renting anything through them. Thanks everyone.

Weeks? – 6 weeks?… that is actually a long time when you are counting things like rent.

Leiulu Leiulu 12:07 pm 21 Feb 13

TheDancingDjinn said :

arescarti42 said :

Was it Badenoch? Come on, name and shame.

Personally, i want OP named and shamed.. Don’t ever enter into a legally binding contract with this person.

Personal circumstances change, its not like I am the first to do this, hence why there is clauses in the Act to cover such things. It was 6 weeks, not 6 months!

Leiulu Leiulu 12:10 pm 21 Feb 13

TheDancingDjinn said :

Leiulu said :

Badenoch – you were right.
Readvertising costs is a bought forward cost as you said. As we only broke the lease by weeks, they would have had to have paid these then anyway. Thats why they have suddently gotten rid of that cost as it wouldnt have stood up in the tribunal.
I agree, the landlord is entitled to compensation for his loses for the period the property has been vacant – although this does need to be determined by the tribinal, and is not classified as rent.As for the bond – who knows what they ar trying to do, other than be a pain in the backside. Its a brand new property, well 11 months old – no wonder they cant find anyone, im positive people avoid renting anything through them. Thanks everyone.

Weeks? – 6 weeks?… that is actually a long time when you are counting things like rent.

It still doesnt justify being bullied and being threatened by them. Or do you feel it is a decent justification?

tim_c tim_c 12:35 pm 21 Feb 13

Leiulu said :

I agree, the landlord is entitled to compensation for his loses for the period the property has been vacant – although this does need to be determined by the tribinal, and is not classified as rent.As for the bond – who knows what they ar trying to do, other than be a pain in the backside.

The losses for the period the property has been vacant may not be ‘classified as rent’ but that will almost certainly form the basis for the assessment of the actual loss.

As for the bond, they’re (rightfully) going to deduct any amount that you owe them at the end of the agreement. So if you’re refusing to pay what you agreed to under the lease, of course they’re not going to refund your bond – that’s what it’s for!

While I wouldn’t deal with Badenoch since one of their staff used one of their company vehicles to run me off the road last year, and their office failed to respond to my letter about the incident, I must say they don’t seem to be doing anything inappropriate in this instance.

I wonder if you’d have given them the courtesy you expect them to show you if *they* had terminated the agreement six weeks early?!

Leiulu Leiulu 12:48 pm 21 Feb 13

tim_c said :

Leiulu said :

I agree, the landlord is entitled to compensation for his loses for the period the property has been vacant – although this does need to be determined by the tribinal, and is not classified as rent.As for the bond – who knows what they ar trying to do, other than be a pain in the backside.

The losses for the period the property has been vacant may not be ‘classified as rent’ but that will almost certainly form the basis for the assessment of the actual loss.

As for the bond, they’re (rightfully) going to deduct any amount that you owe them at the end of the agreement. So if you’re refusing to pay what you agreed to under the lease, of course they’re not going to refund your bond – that’s what it’s for!

While I wouldn’t deal with Badenoch since one of their staff used one of their company vehicles to run me off the road last year, and their office failed to respond to my letter about the incident, I must say they don’t seem to be doing anything inappropriate in this instance.

I wonder if you’d have given them the courtesy you expect them to show you if *they* had terminated the agreement six weeks early?!

Thanks Tim. We have been exceptionally courteous to them throughtout this period. Making sure the property was spotless twice weekly for showings and always allowing them in for the period they requested.

The agreement states that “would be entitled to compensation under this Act is not entitled to the compensation, or part of it, where the loss, or part of the los, to be compensated could have been reasonably avoided.” They arent doing this.

We paid rent up until the day we vacated. Bond is only allowed to be kept for unpaid rent (up until the day the property is vacated, even if breaking a lease) or for damages. It cant be held for compensation.

I hope everything was ok after the accident!

Paul0075 Paul0075 12:53 pm 21 Feb 13

Leiulu said :

Badenoch – you were right.

Not the first to get taken for a ride by this lot. Friends of mine in Gungahlin had loads of issues with them during their tenancy and when it came time to move.

bleebleeblee bleebleeblee 12:54 pm 21 Feb 13

Good luck Leiulu. If you have applied to ORS for the release of the bond yourself (I’m not 100% sure but I think tenants can do this and it sounds as if you have?) then I wouldn’t be surprised if Badenoch suddenly realise that there’s no problem with paying out your bond after all. Otherwise they will need to be very confident their reasons will stand up at ACAT. If it gets to the tribunal, sounds like things can only work out better than right now!

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 1:19 pm 21 Feb 13

In my experience, when situations like this arise, agents tend to get on a go slow. So, for example, you may provide notice that you intend to vacate early, in full knowledge that you could be up for 6 weeks rent. The agent will say ‘Yippee’ six weeks guaranteed rent and no tenant to deal with. They won’t make any efforts to fast track new occupants into the place to help both the vacating tenant and indeed the landlord. I would bet that the applications they have from anyone wanting the place are still sitting on someone’s desk unchecked.

Whilst frustrating, I’m not sure there is much you can do. You will be paying 6 weeks rent for breaking the lease. They probably can justify hanging on to your bond as they may feel that until you pay up, you are still a risk. You could offer to pay four weeks and then let them keep your bond (if in deed your bond is 2 weeks rent).

Grimm Grimm 1:35 pm 21 Feb 13

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.

iii iii 1:59 pm 21 Feb 13

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.

jett18 jett18 2:12 pm 21 Feb 13

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.

ToastFliesRED ToastFliesRED 2:24 pm 21 Feb 13

jett18 said :

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.

Well actually, no. As an owner who is renting out a property through this agent they came to me highly recommended and I have not had one ounce of problem with them or the tenants they are managing on my behalf, so please don’t generalise.

spleenville spleenville 2:39 pm 21 Feb 13

tim_c said :

While I wouldn’t deal with Badenoch since one of their staff used one of their company vehicles to run me off the road last year, and their office failed to respond to my letter about the incident,

Kudos to Maloneys Real Estate – I had the same thing happen to me late last year and got an apologetic email the same morning.

Leiulu Leiulu 2:46 pm 21 Feb 13

bleebleeblee said :

Good luck Leiulu. If you have applied to ORS for the release of the bond yourself (I’m not 100% sure but I think tenants can do this and it sounds as if you have?) then I wouldn’t be surprised if Badenoch suddenly realise that there’s no problem with paying out your bond after all. Otherwise they will need to be very confident their reasons will stand up at ACAT. If it gets to the tribunal, sounds like things can only work out better than right now!

Yes we have, with a copy of the final inspection report. Good point. Cant get any worse

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