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NSW Granny Flat Lease - Electricity Meter Dispute - Am I Liable?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Claudia, 11 September 2014.

  1. Claudia

    Claudia Active Member

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    I had a kilowatt meter place in a granny flat I had in order to make two tenancies. I asked the real estate agent to have the electric bill sent to them and to read the meters and issue separate accounts. The boys moved moved in the the big house and connected the electricity in their names. The real estate agent told me I asked her to change it no matter the new lease costs. 18 months later she contacts me again and tell me a dispute has arisen over the account, the boys claiming injustice. During this call she tell me the new lease never happened.

    The boys given notice leave owing rent and property damage. Detesting the situation split everything properly and created a separate billing. Two months later the R/E gets a letter from the boys claiming the set up was illegal and wanting 5k back on the electricity?

    I though the set-up was (not ideal) but still within allowable parameters, will I be liable?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Claudia,

    Why is the setup not illegal? The only reason I can think of for the setup being possibly illegal is if you did not get council approval before sectioning off the land to build the granny flat. Is there council approval for the number of dwellings on the land?

    What did the lease agreement say about electricity costs? Was the tenant to bear the costs or were they included in the rental price?

    Are the tenants disputing the electricity costs from their time in the granny flats or from their time in the larger (main) house?
     
  3. Claudia

    Claudia Active Member

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    Hi I thought I would give you a final up-date on the dispute. Dept of Fair Trading were adamant that although the regulation says the unit needs to be separately metered but does not specify that it has to be an NMI (separate account) the standard that has been set at the tribunal the it should be a separate account. After some investigation from the officer at DFT she decided to lodge a claim against the real estate on my behalf for not providing the correct information and letting the tenant at the bedsit live electricity free for almost 12 months without addressing the issue. In the meantime I settled the previous tenants claims and I repaid him 3000.00, although it was painful to see it go out of my account, fair is fair. Hopefully I might get some or all of it back with this new claim.

    Huge lesson learnt.....stay on top of what your real estate is doing! Thanks for the advice
     
    Sarah J likes this.
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Best of luck with your claim against the real estate agent!
     
  5. Claudia

    Claudia Active Member

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    Thanks it was at the DFT suggestion, so i hope it goes well too.
     
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  6. Claudia

    Claudia Active Member

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    Hi,

    Hopefully the last episode in the granny flat saga. The tenant has now moved out. I have given notice to the agent to terminate my arrangement with them a few days ago 30 notice. I can deal with this for the rental of the house as they put the tenants in it but the granny flat is vacant and I could move this immediately and try to get a tenant in ASAP. Do I also have to wait this period with an empty place? Any suggestions?
     
  7. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I would say you should be able to advertise yourself and find tenants to live in the granny flat during this time. However, you should check your agreement with the estate agent first. There may be an exclusivity clause in the agreement that specifies that for a period of time, the agent has sole right to advertise and enter into tenancy agreements on behalf of the owner. If there is no such clause then it should be alright.
     
  8. Claudia

    Claudia Active Member

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  9. Claudia

    Claudia Active Member

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    Thanks Sarah, I'll look into it.
     
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