VIC Rights regarding clothes line in rental property

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GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
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2,214
Unsure if a similar question has been asked already - hopefully I'm not duplicating.

To cut a long story short, my partner and I have just signed a lease on quite a large 5 bedroom house, and not a cheap one at that ($850/week). During the initial inspection prior to signing on, we didn't notice a clothes line anywhere on the property, so we emailed the agent to query if there was one, and the agent replied with a response from the landlord advising that there was, although their response did not really clarify where or what kind.

So, based on that answer, we ended up signing the lease and agreed to move in. We were then invited to view the property again as soon-to-be tenants and noticed that in fact there was NOT a clothes line on the property. We then told the agent that we had been advised there was a clothes line, and as we have a large family, we would want there to be one. The landlord then agreed to purchase one, but the agent then advised us that they (without our seeking our involvement in the process) went and got the cheapest, smallest possible exterior wall mounted washing line (9 metres total line length, we were advised, which based on my visualisation is very small and suitable more for a single person or couple at best?) for $99. We were a bit unhappy and advised the agent that it really wouldn't be fit for purpose as we have a large volume of washing to dry and that we were hoping for/expecting one that was sufficient for a family, and that the one they had purchased would be very limited. They said that they had not installed it on the wall yet and that if we wanted, we could take it back and replace it with a larger one at our own cost.

My question is... given there wasn't already a washing line there but they said there was, and then when they agreed to install one, arguably did not purchase or agree to purchase one that was suitable for and in keeping with the size of the house and family that would live there, where do we stand? Is there any reasonable expectation that installed facilities like clothes lines be 'fit for purpose' in terms of the size and capability? Should we have to pay for one given they initially said there was one and then when we pointed out that there wasn't, they tried to get away with the cheapest possible 'solution'?

Thanks for any advice.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
4,463
780
2,894
Sydney
...where do we stand?
You stand nowhere.
There was no clothesline. When they said there was, that was an innocent mistake, which was promptly remedied.
You have no evidence of it being otherwise.
And there's nothing obviously in the ballpark of misleading and deceptive conduct (which is what you are fishing for).
In the current feral market for residential rentals, there's no need to deceive people into entering into a lease.

In this, as in anything else, the landlord is free to choose the cheapest reasonable, complaint option, as they see it.
After all, it's their building.
As to the size - all you have here is a difference of opinion about what's "reasonable".
There is no standard, no formula, and enforceable "keeping" with which to be "in".
 

GlassHalfFull

Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
529
48
2,214
I actually don't believe it was an innocent mistake given many other things that have occurred since we signed the lease and moved in (a lot of lies, shortcuts, poor maintenance/cleanliness and general disregard for landlord obligations to tenants), but that's a whole other subject.

I'm not 'fishing' for deceptive conduct though. What I'm asking about is this... if they say that a clothes line is part of the property and then it turns out that they were wrong (whether they were deceptive and lied, or whether it was an innocent mistake), my view is that is that they advised us that a facility existed and on that information, we agreed to sign the lease.
And sure, they have the right to choose a cheap, not-fit-for-purpose clothes line, and sure, there's no standard formula, but ultimately an adjudicator at VCAT might have an opinion one way or another about what is a reasonable expectation of facilities given the size and purpose of the house.