Renters and agents – how low can you go?

bec 28 August 2010 20

I recently lost a friend in a tragic accident. Believe it or not, one of the worst things to deal with (yes surprisingly for Canberra), was the rental property agent.

I wanted to spare the family from what I know would come…

who are these people?

    — just three days after my friends passing, I was issued with the final vacate notice. It contained the statement ‘unfortunately business is business’ in reference to people being showed through the property BEFORE the belongings being removed and in relation to the amount of unpaid rent (1.5 weeks). I wonder how prospective tenants would have felt about that, if they’d known?

    — the outstanding rent was calculated at 21 days (the 21 day notice period) – not even from the date of the accident but the from the day I notified them of the passing.

    — the property agent tried to contact my friend’s family just days after his passing, when they were in the middle of funeral arrangements

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    20 Responses to Renters and agents – how low can you go?
    nyssa1976 nyssa1976 1:21 pm 19 Feb 12

    I sympathise.

    After my son had his roof collapse in on him whilst he was sleeping (he was 10yo at the time) at 3am, the response was a day late (after waiting all day for them) and an illegal entry the next day. I was given a notice to remedy as all my son’s furniture etc was in the lounge room (it was a mess as it was done at 3am) and 4 weeks later the roof was fixed.

    That’s just one issue with this realtor. My new one is fantastic but I am, via word of mouth, recommending to friends and family NEVER to use that first realtor again!

    legal legal 9:54 am 19 Feb 12

    One well respected local real estate agent has been a pain in the ass for me.

    Every year I have been asking for isulation in the roof, explaining the cost to me in electricity and lost sleep. Plus, giving them the details of getting it installed for free. They even installed some cheap and nasty fans, which the wop-wop noise keeps me awake as much as the heat – and then upped the rent. Finally after seven years they put in insulation. I have rarely had air-con or heat on since. Yet the dumbass landlord refused to get it installed for free (there are the ACT and now defunct fed govt programs) and instead paid $1800 odd cash to have it installed privately. Then my rent went up by $1500 a year.
    Any complaints I give I am threatened with the claim that my rent is cheap, which I interpret to mean they want their commission without doing anything at all except a beligerent bumbling two minute inspection every six months.

    prhhcd prhhcd 8:24 am 30 Aug 10

    apologies for the typos above….

    prhhcd prhhcd 8:23 am 30 Aug 10

    I am so sorry for your loss. I myself used to work in real estate and this is what you are pushed into there. The decent people leave because you are forced to do stuff you would never do yourself (such as this), the sh!ts, without any facet of decency and reality stay (and are very successful). I agree, contact ACA etc – why not? What have you got to lose? Then that company will be named and shamed, and will hopefully lose some business over it. Servies them right. Callos idiots!
    Sorry … this sort of thing just disgusts me.

    caf caf 11:23 pm 29 Aug 10

    Honestly, after buying my first home earlier this year, one of the things I found most beneficial in the new arrangement was the fact I no longer had to deal with real-estate agents / property managers.

    The crap those people put you through, and their unwillingness to respond to their tenants’ problems is shameful.

    Agree totally. Property management seems to attract the absolute worst people.

    cleo cleo 12:36 am 29 Aug 10

    I hated working in Real Estate, I found most of them like this, I talking about the people who own them.

    The cat did it The cat did it 10:36 pm 28 Aug 10

    So, what is it then; is it that the real estate industry attracts callous grasping people, or do normal people become changed by a callous grasping real estate industry?

    Jethro Jethro 9:52 pm 28 Aug 10

    There have been a few threads on here regarding Canberra’s property market and the advisability of investing in property. What has not been said is the fact that owning property (owner-occupier) means that you no longer have to deal with this crap.

    Honestly, after buying my first home earlier this year, one of the things I found most beneficial in the new arrangement was the fact I no longer had to deal with real-estate agents / property managers.

    The crap those people put you through, and their unwillingness to respond to their tenants’ problems is shameful.

    As a tenant I had to put up with a real estate agent who refused to look into getting the back stairs of my place fixed, despite the fact that the back stairway had completely collapsed (taking Ma Bodine with it).

    Or there was the REA who insisted on telling me that the fact that the eaves of the house I was living in were completely covered in black mould ‘wasn’t a problem’.

    Let’s not forget the agent who threatened us with a breach of tenancy because the internal cupboard doors were missing, despite the fact that they were missing when we moved in (and this was noted on the original tenancy agreement).

    I don;t care whether or not my new home makes me a 10% capital gain. The fact is, I’m only paying $150 a week more on my mortgage than I was on rent and I am no longer answerable to those bastards.

    inlymbo inlymbo 7:20 pm 28 Aug 10


    I had a terrible experience also. Many years ago I was living with my partner (not in Canberra). We had been renting a unit for over 12 months. My partner passed away suddenly in a work place accident.

    I went into the agency after spending three days watching my partner on life support. I took my father with me for back up as I also knew I could be in for a rough ride. I went in and my father waited outside (on my request). I came out in tears as the Agency had ‘advised’ me that I was to continue paying the rent until they found someone suitable to take over the property, or until the end of the lease. I think they either did not believe me, or saw how young and messed up I was.

    I have no idea what my dear old Dad said to them when he stormed in fuming, but an apology was quickly made and I was allowed to move out a week later.

    I will never forget this experience. I am sorry to hear that it is still happening.

    Bec, go for the jugular, protect yourself but if you can make sure they know that we all know about this.

    Sorry for your loss.

    LarryBlaze LarryBlaze 5:20 pm 28 Aug 10

    Poor form on the property manager’s behalf. Can you let us know who they are so people can avoid them?

    Had a similar experience of property managers showing no remorse. Not quite as bad though….

    Our house was broken into, my housemate was held hostage with a knife for 45 minutes and forced to pack all our possessions into backpacks by a junkie desperate for an ice hit.

    My housemate was super shaken up and neither of us could live there any more and we moved out that night.

    The house was getting demolished 6 weeks after this and we were due to move out.

    We let the real estate agents know what was happening. The property manager failed the final inspection and insisted we paid for carpet cleaning even though it was getting demolished and kept making us go back to clean more things, dust on the hot water heater etc.

    This was independent real estate.

    Clown Killer Clown Killer 4:12 pm 28 Aug 10

    I sent an e-mail to my property manager asking about what would be involved in a situation like this. Yes business is business, but this isn’t business, this is some heartless dickhead making an ass of themselves and damaging their employers reputation in the deal. Landlords insurance covers this stuff. No one would have been left out of pocket.

    As an aside, a couple of years ago a good friend of mine’s son died. His son had a car loan with the NAB – nothing big, around $8K on a second-hand Hilux ute. When they notified the bank, all NAB wated to know was whether or not they’d prefer to keep the car or would it be easier if the bank took it and desposed of it. No mention of the outstanding debt. Now that’s an example of how to deal with this sort of thing.

    johnboy johnboy 3:44 pm 28 Aug 10

    Rather than badgering for a name (which could get embroil Bec in some legal nastyness) we’d rather every real estate principal in town hurry in to work on Monday to check what their bereavement process is. Landlords might like to email this story to their agents and ask for assurances this couldn’t happen in their properties.

    milkman milkman 3:42 pm 28 Aug 10

    nhand42 said :

    I’m a landlord and if my agent did this I’d sack them on the spot.

    I’m in the same position, and if I knew my property manager treated someone like this, I’d sack them too.

    At a difficult time like this, remember there are people who sympathise with you. I hope you’re feeling better about things soon.

    nhand42 nhand42 3:28 pm 28 Aug 10

    I’m a landlord and if my agent did this I’d sack them on the spot.

    Ernie Ernie 2:28 pm 28 Aug 10

    So sorry for your loss. The way this has been handled by the estate agency is disgusting. I am a renter and I would hate to move into a property where the ‘managers’ have treated their previous clients like this. I agree, name and shame.

    grumpyrhonda grumpyrhonda 1:38 pm 28 Aug 10

    My condolences to you and your friends. Please name and shame. This is disgusting.

    I-filed I-filed 12:23 pm 28 Aug 10

    I would definitely go to Today Tonight or ACA on this one. And, send the agent a link to this discussion. Phone ABC 666 on one of the morning talk shows.

    Once you’ve contacted the tabloid shows, contact the real estate agents’ peak body. Media communications manager is Rhiannon McClelland 0421 422 929. Let her know you are in touch with the newshounds. I’m sure your friend’s bereaved family will get an apology.

    You should also advise the REI exec: (the national head office is in Canberra)

    David Airey
    REIA President 0418 906 002

    Neil Fisher REIA CEO 0412 637 550

    and please let us know what happens!


    el el 12:06 pm 28 Aug 10

    Name and shame.

    Sammy Sammy 11:43 am 28 Aug 10

    Name and shame, otherwise this article is just an interesting story, with no possible impact.

    fozzy fozzy 11:32 am 28 Aug 10

    Thanks for the info.

    My one criticism is that you didn’t name and shame the property manager – so I know who I should not lease a property through – as a Landlord I wouldn’t want to have these people working for me!

    My observation would be that the amount they are after would already be covered by the bond. Perhaps the appropriate course of action would be to just remove all the personal possessions the family wants to keep from the place and forfeit the bond – without meaning to sound callous it’s not as if the person is going to be wanting another rental reference.

    So take what’s needed, forfeit the bond, and let the agent have to deal with disposing of all the stuff you’d have to dispose of anyway as well as the cleaning. It might work out cheaper for the family. My experience as a Landlord (in NSW) is they’ve got little chance of the tribunal trying to make the estate pay more. Besides they’ve probably got Landlord insurance to cover any shortfall.

    Anyway, my sympathies to the family.

    And remember, I’m not a lawyer. 😉

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