Friday, January 24

The Poor Treatment of Renters

One does get the feeling that as a "Renter" you are low class.  I shall relate a story - but first a little back ground.

During our 40+ years of marriage my husband and I and the children (until they grew up and left home), had rented and purchased.  He had been transferred interstate with his work on several occasions and renting was the best choice for us - and apart from one rather disastrous rental experience it all went well.  The one that turned sour was when we rented privately from a family who had chosen to move to Queensland, and we stayed in their Sydney house.  After a few months in Queensland, they decided to return to Sydney and insisted that we break the lease, which we didn't want to do.  We had nowhere to go - and it turned out very nasty.   As it turned out, my husband landed quite a good job back in Brisbane, so we did move, but the home owner made life very difficult - even on moving day!

We had our own home before I left - and I spent time either living overseas or house sitting, and in June this year I found a lovely rental property at Beachmere.   I love the area (though it can be challenging), and my humble abode and for six months I have managed to keep on the right side of the Real Estate agent.   

Mind you - if asked I would have told of some minor issues I had with them, but recent events have made me unpopular with the agency.  It all happened on the day that we had the highest temperature in 100 years!  The air conditioner didn't work.  I had two men who know about these things more than me, look at it and they both said, it needed repair.  Now I might add I have only turned it on once in seven months, and then on the heating cycle when I wanted to dry some washing.

So this Saturday when the temperature was at record high, and I had visitors, it didn't work.  So on the Monday I reported it to the Agent, who said "We will get it fixed".  As it happened, the air conditioning people were on holiday break (Xmas-New Year) and would be back at work a week later.  I have called in to the RE office on several occasions, emailed them and phoned them, all with no positive response.  "We have advised them"  etc.

So on Tuesday this week, on another record hot day, and with two grandchildren staying with me, I called into the office again, but this time lost my cool.  I shouted angrily at them that they appeared to be doing nothing.  The boss's wife said that they had advised the builder (the story changed) - but I said, it was not good enough. 

I came home and contacted the Rental Tenancies Authority and have the documentation to charge them with breaching their contract with me.  On Wednesday I drove the grandchildren back to Brisbane, and when at my daughter's place, the Agent phoned me and said they had a repair man coming to my place that afternoon.  I re arranged my day and drove back to my home 45 minutes - and waited and waited.  Of course no repair man returned. 

Oddly enough, as I was about 10 minutes from home, the maintenance man phoned me.  He was coming to my place to install some blinds in the bathrooms.  Blinds?  While I did comment on the lack of security - anyone can peer into the bathroom as the window's glass does not provide privacy, but on no occasion has the agent told me that they were going to install blinds.  Happily I let the guy in and have new blinds and privacy, but find it rather rude that the agent had at no time said anything to me about it.

So yesterday morning, I advised the RE agent that the repair man did not arrive - and the response was "That's disappointing" and later an email to say that the repair man would contact me.  Another day has passed and nothing has happened.

Tomorrow morning it will be 4 weeks without the air conditioning.  There is an obligation on the part of the agent/owner to repair in reasonable time.  4 weeks is not reasonable. 

Yesterday I spoke with two other people who live in this street, who have had to or do deal with the same agent, and clearly they are not all happy with the agent.  One, is now in a house with another agent - and they have been waiting for 4 months for a pump to be repaired on their water tank.  They have not been able to use tank water since they moved in, so have to pay high water rates to use town water when there is a good supply of water in their tank - but it is inaccessible.

One of the issues I have identified is that tenants are afraid to upset the agent - lest they be treated with further disrespect.  Interesting.  So I wonder how it will be if I keep on demanding my rights???

If anyone reads this and lives in Queensland, and is a renter, they might get the document from the Rental Tenancies Authority - and make contact with them.


 

4 comments:

peter petterson said...

Disappointing treatment. Some landlords or their agents can be difficult to work with and some downright unfriendly and unfair. In NZ we have a tribunal where tenants of private and state landlords can take their complaints. No lawyers are involved and the findings are legally enforceable

Di Hill said...

Yes, Peter, we have the RTA - ad I have a document ready to serve the agent later today. Tenants are fearful of using the RTA - thinking that they might be "bullied" by the agent. I am not sure if my agents are trying to make my life difficult - 4 weeks without the air conditioning which I pay for!!

Beverley Sharp said...

They expect you pay your rent, which includes an air-conditioned house. You had to sign a contract with them. Good that you choose to stand up to the shoddy treatment, so hope it is resolved very soon.

Beverley said...

Agents are often not very good at dealing with renters problems, but are very good at collecting the rent. Glad to see you are standing up for what should have been attended to weeks ago. You should not have to fear retribution for your actions