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NSW False Advertising of Property - Legal Action Under Property Law?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by tawan, 24 February 2016.

  1. tawan

    tawan Member

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    Hi All

    This is my first post, and English is my second language, so sorry in advanced for the bad English.

    I've run into a very strange situation where I feel like I have been exploited by a property agency.

    About a month ago, I was planning to move out of my current accommodation so I started finding a new place. My thought was that If I could find a better place, I would then move out, otherwise I would just stay at the same place.

    I found one place advertised as "furnished one bedroom" on a property-search website, including realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and the website of the agency itself.

    I looked at the pictures advertised in the websites and I really like them, so I went for the inspection.

    There were a lot of people who had inspected the property that day (around 10). We asked a lot of questions like if this place is furnished, what furniture would be included. The agency clearly said that "everything" including a queen-sized bed, sofa, fridge, washing machine, two air-conditioners, etc., except for something like a game console and speakers owned by the current tenant, which kind of makes sense and it matched what we saw on the websites.

    I was very satisfied with that, so I applied for the inspection.

    I then got the application approved, paid for the deposit and then terminated my current lease as I have to give them 21 days notice. I tried to make an appointment to sign the lease and collect the keys and set the date for the move. My sister (who is going to stay with me) and I went to their office to sign the lease about 1 week before the starting date. My sister and I now have one copy of the lease with us.

    One day before the starting date of the new place, I called the agency to make an appointment on what time I should be picking up the keys on the starting date. The agency told me on the phone that they have got some problems because the property is actually unfurnished. It was their mistake advertising it as a furnished one.

    The room actually contains nothing but one dryer. No bed, no washing machine, no air-conditioning, nothing but one dryer. And yes, this happened one day before the starting date of this place (which is today). I asked them what they would do (and what I should do) in this situation and they offered me to either reduce the rent for about 7% due to the fact that it's actually unfurnished, or they refund the full amount.

    I told them this is not fair to me at all because if this place was advertised as an unfurnished one bedroom, I would not even interested in applying for it and terminate my current lease contract. And It's not my responsibility to start buying and installing all the things I expected when I inspected the room.

    I asked them to:

    1) Furnish the place I rented as advertised.
    2) Find me the temporary place to stay during my "homeless" period, and that place must be equivalent to my existing furnished one bedroom, and they should pay for all the cost.
    3) Or offer me any other options as their offer was not fair.

    They rejected all of them and they retain their offer (7% less on rent or full refund) and also said "please let us know as we need to re-advertise this property". Looks like I have no options but to accept their offer or be technically homeless from tomorrow and find a new place.

    I then rechecked the copy of the lease of this new place I have in my hand. They actually said nothing regarding what are included or excluded in the property, these fields are left blank. I have already "archived" the webpages they used to advertised this supposed-to-be-furnished property just in case I will need it for any legal action under property law.

    I really need help for this kind of this situation. Any valid legal action I should do in this case?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Give them one more chance and back it up with an email confirming your demand. It's important to start producing a document trail. Make sure you are talking to the agency manager/owner. A rental manager probably doesn't have the authority to make this kind of deal.

    Explain to them that if they don't do 1 or 2 or 3 then you will take legal action against them (and the owner) for all losses and damages, including legal fees, you incur as a result of their misleading actions and advertising. Based on your email you have a very good case.

    It may have been an innocent mistake, however, it has now cost you your home. If they refuse to co-operate, I suggest you immediately see a lawyer.
     
    tawan likes this.
  3. tawan

    tawan Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I followed your suggestion by giving them one more chance.

    I emailed them (director of the property agency), explaining them their mistake has already cost me a lot and I can't accept the room in this condition. I then asked for the full refund and then asked them for a reasonable amount of compensation.

    They only did the full-refund and refused to pay any other compensation.

    Those all conversations were via email.

    Do you think is this worth taking legal action, or I just have to just let it go?
    I am really new to NSW, never had this kind of experience before. Not sure if taking legal action will worth it and don't know how as well.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Can't help on this one. I don't know the detail, including your extra costs. It may well not be worth the extra cost. Sometimes, it is best to put it down to experience and move on with life.
     

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