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  • #40431
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    Flatchatter

    I know this is a strata forum, but dodgy agents and the lack of any real legal remedy really pisses me off. Im under a ton of stress, dealing with many health issues, and now I have to move out on a short notice because of this agent. And theres nothing I can do about it because its all legal.

    What happened :

    A few days ago, I accidentally dropped something in the kitchen. A new tenant proceeded to file a noise complaint with the agent, who then proceeded to send me a warning via text. It was late when I saw it, so decided not to reply at the time. The next day, I fell sick and spent most of the day sleeping. Apparently, the agent could not wait for a response and issued me with a termination notice for breach of agreement (keeping noise levels down) 2 days after sending me the warning.

    The agent claims the landlord directed her to terminate my lease…I know this is nonsense, because I have spoken to the landlord before when he came to do repairs, and he’s an overseas investor who barely speaks english, and he stated that he leaves everything up to the agent. I’ve also heard the agent state that the landlord and his wife are very difficult to contact as they are often overseas.

    I’m guessing the agent either got pissed that I did not respond to her text quickly enough, or just wanted to use me as a scapegoat as she has been having trouble filling the vacant rooms at the property (she blames me for causing a previous tenant to move out, the funny thing is, that was months ago and I never heard any mention of this till now…sure is convenient).

    Of course, I tried reasoning with the agent, pointed out that this was the first noise warning that I had ever received and it was an accident, and even offered to pay extra rent to help cover the room being vacant, but she just insisted that the landlord’s decision was final.

    It’s really disruptive to force someone to move out on short notice due to “breach of agreement”…even worse, its all legal…no point paying to go to the tribunal, it’s my word vs hers. Theres no way to report agents for being dodgy either.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on sites to look for a furnished room to rent, in Sydney eastern suburbs? The ones I know of are :

    -Domain.com.au
    -rent.com.au (seems to be the same as domain i think)
    -gumtree (lots of dodgy listings here in my experience)
    -flatmates.com.au

    Does anyone have any other site suggestions?

    And does anyone have any suggestions on how to find a non-dodgy property/agent/landlord? I dont think theres any site where you can look up their name, reviews or anything like that right?

    Anyone have any experience using some kind of moving service by the way? I have to move everything myself, by hand, which is really difficult…thankfully no furniture, but a LOT of stuff. Linen by itself weighs a ton, then theres crockery, two laptops, a heater, clothes and other personal items…it usually takes me a whole day to move my stuff.

    #40448
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    It’s not just the agent who’s dodgy, the termination notice is too, if it doesn’t follow the Residential Tenancy Act.

    Go to www. tenants.org and you will find factsheets explaining your rights and the rental agent’s responsibilities.

    #40488
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    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    The notice seems to be valid as far as i can tell. Only 14 days of notice needs to be given. Supposedly I breached the agreement for causing noise. Unless thats allowed as a reason for breach of agreement.

    To make things even better, I called the previous tenant (the one that the agent claims moved out because of me) and he said that he moved out to stay with his friends elsewhere and had no problems with me at all. But I doubt the agent is required to prove that I actually breached the agreement.

    #40497
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The Landlord has to go to the Tribunal to get an enforcable 14-day eviction notice, according to this extract from a Tenants Union factsheet:

    Application to the Tribunal without notice

    The landlord/agent can apply to the Tribunal for a termination order without giving you a termination notice on one or more of the following grounds:

    • You, your guests, another occupant or their guests have caused or permitted:
      • serious damage to the premises or any neighbouring property
      • injury to the landlord, agent, the landlord’s/agent’s employees, or your neighbours
      • use of the premises for illegal purposes.
    • You or another occupant has seriously or persistently threatened or abused the landlord, agent or the landlord’s/agent’s employees.

    The Tribunal may make a termination order and may order you to give immediate possession of the premises to the landlord.

    So unless the landlord has been to the tribunal, the eviction order is invalid. A “no grounds” eviction requires a 30-day notice.  Anything less than that has to be supported at the Tribunal, if you object to it.

    #40517
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    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Yea, I read about that. From what I can tell, the landlord can give you a termination notice and if you refuse to vacate by that date, they can then apply for a termination order. A breach of agreement notice only requires 14 days and i could in theory fight that at the tribunal, but it would cost time/money and it would be my word vs hers, and my experience at the tribunal a few years back has been pretty awful (the judge only wanted to get the case resolved ASAP and refused to listen to my side of the story).

    #40606
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    Miranda
    Flatchatter

    Whoa, surely one can’t be evicted because Of ONE incident of noise like dropping something.     It doesn’t make sense.

     

    #40693
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    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Yea, thats definately not the real reason. She is making all the tenants move out from what I heard. Either she wants to rent the whole apartment to someone, or she gets a fee for getting a new tenant in. I remember an acquaintance who works as an agent telling me that there’s some kind of fee involved to get new tenants in and some agents practice churning to keep charging the fee instead of having long term tenants.

    Since the owner is an overseas investor who just leaves everything to the agent, they wouldn’t ask the obvious question of why there’s such a high turnover rate for tenants.

    #40728
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    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    I just talked to my acquaintance who’s an agent. He said the industry standard for commission is about 2% of rent, and the standard for signing a new tenant gets you 1 week’s worth of rent.

    Assuming weekly rent is $250 per week, that means that having a long term tenant nets you $20 per month in commission while the signing bonus nets you $250…about a year’s worth of commission.

    An agent that does the best thing for the owner by signing long term tenants gets much less money than a dodgy one who forces tenants to move out regularly. Not hard to guess what this results in…

    One might think that the owner would get suspicious if he notices a high turnover rate for tenants, but most owners probably leave everything to the agent (that’s the whole point of getting the agent in the first place after all) and wouldn’t have the slightest clue who is on their property in the first place.

    #40754
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    So are you saying in this scenario, the agent gets $250 signing fee PLUS $20 a month commission.  If so, the incentive to churn is clearly there.

    But that doesn’t get past the fact that a “no grounds” eviction with 14 days notice isn’t legal if it’s not backed by an NCAT order.

    Talk to the Tenants Union – they may know of other cases and will be able to help

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by .
    #40763
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    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    From what I understand, yea, the agent would get a $250 signing fee and continue getting commission, hence the incentive to churn.

    The issue is that its not a “no grounds” eviction, its an eviction for “breach of agreement”. The agreement (which is the standard format residential tenancy agreement) includes a clause for noise, and she’s using that to evict me because I dropped something late at night and a tenant filed a noise complaint.

    I could try to fight it at the tribunal but that takes time/money which I dont have right now…better to just move out really. It’s also my word vs hers and she has the noise complaint to back her up. I’ve actually gone to the tribunal a few years ago when I was renting from someone else, and the judge at the time refused to even hear my side of the story and kept shouting at me to sign a document without reading it, so I dont have any confidence in the tribunal’s ability to help me.

     

     

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