I’m happy to share our horror stories here, but you’ll have to not use my real name or location if you use them as examples.
I once lived in a NSW dept of housing house which the department decided needed a new hot water service as the old one that lived in the ceiling was obsolete. The plumbers they sent failed to correctly disconnect the old one, and while we were out of town for a couple of weeks the old pipes burst, which were in the roof cavity. The entire house was a write off by the time any of the neighbours noticed the water gushing out. After finding a new house to live in the department actually sent us a bill for asbestos removal costs from the destroyed house due to the condition we left the house in. We went to see the local office and they subsequently wiped the debt for us, saying that the housing officer responsible had been transferred elsewhere for sending fraudulent debt notices to other tenants as well.
We then moved to Queensland. renting a house via a real estate agent, with my (young at the time) family, who are mostly on the Autism Spectrum. Everything was fine until the real estate was sold to new owners. All of a sudden we had to start paying rent to a new bank, and had to pay for a new rent book instead of being provided with one for free. We were also informed that we’d have to pay for replacement rent books when we’d run out of pages in the current one. The only other choice we were given was to pay into a third party rent collection agency which would attract a $10 fee every time we paid our rent. A few months later the landlord and his wife came into the backyard and took over the lock up garage because they wanted to travel overseas and needed somewhere to store their own furniture. They built a dividing wall that took well over three quarters of the space and padlocked it. For this we received no decrease in our rent. It was actually increased after we’d lost the use of most of the garage. There wasn’t anything we could do because our lease was about to expire, and if we didn’t like it they could legally simply not renew it. So we got our lease renewed by not complaining or grumbling or taking legal action and got on with ourselves. 4 months later, the real estate informed us that the owners had come back early and wanted us to leave at the end of the lease so they could move in. We were also due for a general inspection and the real estate agent came to the house with a fine tooth comb. They couldn’t find any faults so they made up their own ones, complaining of cobwebs that we couldn’t see, then sent us an eviction notice a week later because the trees in the backyard had dropped some leaves on the ground, with a notice to reinspect the property a week later, even though they weren’t entitled to do another one for another three months. We spoke to the local rental authority and they told us that no matter what we did, they could simply not renew the lease which was due to expire in a couple of months anyway, so taking action wouldn’t accomplish much. We ended up having to look for a new house early and left, without being able to get the bond back, because the real estate decided the non existent cobwebs and the leaves would cost the price of the bond to rectify, plus they listed other non existent problems that we couldn’t show we weren’t responsible for.
More recently, my current partner and I left public housing for a bigger house after my children had come into my care and what we had wasn’t big enough for an extended family. The first house we moved into had leaky pipes behind the bathroom walls, which ended up bleeding into the main bedroom wall, damaging it and creating a huge crack. The bedroom had a horrible mould problem after that, and no matter how many times we’d bring it to the real estate’s attention, nothing would be done. Eventually another of my sons came into my care and we needed an extra bedroom, so we had to move again. We scrubbed the walls, of the bedroom as best we could to remove the mould. We scrubbed the kitchen clean, every wall and cupboard, door and floor. Scrubbed the oven spotless inside and out. The real estate then decided that we had to pay for mould removal and that the oven had a few spots, which were there before we moved in and were impossible to remove and wouldn’t release our bond money. I pointed out our emails informing them of the mould problem and the cause that they wouldn’t fix, which was “duly noted”, but we still had to pay the bill for a cleaner to come and do the oven before we could get our bond back.
The house we moved to needed repairs before we moved in, which we could never get done. It had a downstairs flat that was filthy and dirty. We cleaned and scrubbed it until it was spotless so that my partner’s eldest son, who is on the Autism Spectrum could live in it and have a little independence while we still looked after him as carers. The landlady worked at a local school and would often take her students for walks by the house just so she could spy on us. She was horrified when she learnt we had someone living in the downstairs flat instead of using it as a rumpus room. We were then sent additional papers to sign for the lease to state that we wouldn’t use the inside staircase that led from the flat to the house, and that we wouldn’t use the oven in the downstairs flat. What could we do? It’s hard enough trying to find a house that’s big enough when you have 4 teenage sons, 3 of them being on the Autism Spectrum in varying degrees. We signed the papers in the hopes we’d be able to show we were not going to be troublesome and would be able to renew the lease when it expired. Nothing ever got repaired. It got to the stage where a roof looked like it might collapse from the neglect to the property and we simply said, we would like it fixed so the house wouldn’t collapse and it would preserve the property for the landlady. Just before the lease expired, we were given our marching orders because the landlady decided there were so many repairs that needed doing, including a full rewiring of the house at the recommendation of the real estate’s own electrician, that she needed the house empty in order to carry out such extensive work. Usually when she did approve a repair, she’d insist on using her own work people instead of the real estate’s people, who would then say there’s nothing wrong and would then just bugger off leaving us with the house still in a state of bad repair, and usually going out of their way to treat us with contempt for even attempting to say things needed repairs. The only reason the real estate sent their own electrician that one time was because the landlady wouldn’t send her own people for a flickering light bulb socket. That’s when it was discovered the wiring needed replacing.
So we found a new house, and the real estate refused to deal with her ever again. She had new tenants within a week, so there were obviously no repairs happening that required the house to be empty.
The next house was all good until just before last Christmas when the landlady decided she was in financial difficulty and said the lease would not be renewed so she could sell the property. We then had to put up with potential buyers coming to the house every day, as long as the real estate gave us 2 days notice as stated in the laws, while we tried to find a new house to live in and then tried to pack our belongings getting ready for the move when we did find a new house. After we moved in January the real estate informed us that the house hadn’t sold and that the landlady was now panicking because she no longer had a rental income to pay for her mortgage, so it would therefore be put back on the rental market. We’d already moved, so it had nothing to do with us. Again, we scrubbed the house spotless and had it cleaner than when we moved in. After handing in the keys we hadn’t heard about getting our bond money refunded, so contacted the real estate who said they’d done a final inspection and found damage to the property, which we knew nothing about and that the house wasn’t clean enough. Not even the stove, which I managed to actually get spotless where spots had previously existed. We noted that there had been two open houses since we had handed in the keys and that we weren’t responsible for damage caused after we’d moved out, and also pointed out the condition report that showed the house was less clean when we moved in. It was two weeks since we’d move out and no attempt had been made by the real estate to let us know of any problems until we asked them to release the bond money, Originally they had only told us that there was one hole in a bedroom wall and that the oven, shower and laundry were not clean, which we made sure were spotless before we handed in the keys two weeks earlier. After querying these we were sent photos of not one, but two walls with holes in them. Again, we had no knowledge of any of them. The real estate said they’d done the final inspection on the day after we’d handed in the keys, which was a day before the open houses occurred. So I queried why she had only just brought the second hole to our attention instead of when she first reported any problems. She said she hadn’t noticed it during the inspection, but saw it in the photos she had taken on the day when she’d looked at them later… if she hadn’t seen it, then why did she have a photo of it? None of this made sense. The metadata on the photos she sent via email stated that the photos were taken on the day she said the final inspection had occurred though. Maybe she manipulated the metadata. Easy enough to do if you know how with the correct program at your fingertips. Today we noticed that the real estate site had changed the for sale listing to show that the house had sold a week ago. I emailed the agent to say the house had obviously sold as is, without any repairs taking place as she hadn’t actually organised the repairs yet. She then emailed me back to say the house was still up for sale and hadn’t been sold at all and that she was now organising repairs, which we’d have to pay for once they sent us an invoice in order to get our bond money back. So I sent her the link which showed the house was actually sold (on their own website I might add) and she replied saying that yes it was. Apparently her saying it was still up for sale was a “typo” and that we still had to leave the house in the same condition we’d begun the tenancy in. She was now putting the repairs on priority because she must have suddenly realised she’d have to hand the keys over to the new owner soon, and can’t actually charge for repairs where no repairs have or will be made by the real estate. So we’re still waiting on an invoice, three weeks after moving out, in order to be able to get our bond money back.
The new house we are in is also proving to be a pain as far as both the real estate and the landlady is concerned (We seem to get landladies a lot). The real estate is situated in northern Tasmania while the house is in southern Tassie. We therefore have to do everything long distance. Contacting the real estate is very difficult as she either doesn’t answer her calls, or her messages, or rarely answers emails. She then says it’s very difficult to contact the landlady and that she rarely gets a reply from her. We’ve had a few things fixed since we moved in, but the majority of things that were wrong with the house, that really do need attending to, are being ignored. We really are tired of moving and really hope that this house can be kept in some sort of good repair so we can renew our lease for once. We always pay our rent on time and always have the house spotless and tidy during routine inspections, yet we always get penalised in one way or another by the time the lease needs renewing, or after we’ve left a house for a new one.
And that’s my horror story so far.