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QLD Gumtree Property Damage & Overdue Rent from Tenants on Previous Lease

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Heidi, 9 April 2015.

  1. Heidi

    Heidi Member

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    I moved into a property advertised on Gumtree about 7 weeks ago from interstate, so all of my correspondence with the real estate agents and tenants was over the phone and via email or text, no one mentioned any property damage or overdue rent (including the property manager) and I only had photos the previous tenant sent me to indicate the condition of the house (which were misleading).

    One of the girls was exiting the lease early (lease ends in Nov) and I was taking over her room/rent and I sent through an application form to the agency. I realised my other 2 housemates had only been there for a few weeks as well and all the original tenants had left. I then discovered the sink in the en suite (not attached to my room so I had never been shown it) was damaged 10 months ago by one of the previous tenants and needed to be replaced.

    We have also been told the rent is $309 overdue from the previous tenants. The previous tenants are refusing to pay for damages or overdue rent and the real estate agency have told us we have to pay up ASAP or will be in breach of tenancy. When I emailed the person who damaged the sink she said she had attempted to pay it earlier but the costs were going to be covered by the owner's insurance and it is no longer her problem. The property manager has changed since then and has no evidence of that conversation. The RTA has told me it's a lost cause and I need to just pay it. I am not on the lease though, the agency took so long to send out the form to update my name on the lease that I haven't sent it back yet. The RTA says I have an implied tenancy though because I have moved in and I am still liable for the rent and damages even though they have nothing to do with me and I haven't signed anything. Also the previous tenant signed a transfer bond form and I paid her the $600 bond directly. I have since learned that she was not listed on the bond and therefore the bond form can't be processed and put in my name.

    I am moving out now but I'm not sure of what my responsibilities are or how to get my bond back and I am hesitant to get someone to take over my room/rent if I am going to put them in the same position I am in. I am also concerned because my real estate agent keeps telling me the rent is overdue but won't tell me what date it became overdue and the ledger she sent me to show all payments received makes little sense and doesn't match what they are verbally telling us.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you should move out if you can afford to.

    Take notes of conversations while you remember what was said with dates and times. Put as much as you can in email so you have proof of discussions. Might even pay to summarise everything now in an email to the new agents.

    Messy situation likely to get worse. If you leave and they refuse to give back you then go to your VCAT equivalent to get your bond back.

    There should have been an inspection report before you moved in. Was one done? At any stage, did you assume liability for previous damage?
     
  3. Heidi

    Heidi Member

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    Hi Rod,

    I have requested a inspection report but they have ignored my requests because I am taking over just 1/3 of lease responsibility so they have told me I have to take over responsibility from the start of the lease which was in Nov 2013. I've tried to have all my correspondence with them in writing so I have a record but they rarely respond to my emails and they won't put anything in writing for me (e.g. I asked them to give written evidence of overdue rent and they will only respond verbally). I am moving out in the next few days but I'm worried they can still take action against me for unpaid rent and the broken sink (both of which happened before I moved in) and if I get someone to rent my room in my place I will be setting them up to take the fall which I don't want to do and could open me up to legal action from them. The RTA have told me they can't give me back just my share of the bond until the end of the lease and that my only option is to take civil action against the previous tenants for misleading me, I don't have their contact details or full names or anything so I can't really pursue that route either, plus one is now living overseas.

    Thank you for your reply! :)
     

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