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NCAT. Dispute over unpaid rent.
In October 2019, I moved out of a property I had been renting in Sydney, for nearly seven years.
The property is solely owned by a young woman. I have never met or communicated, in any way with the property owner.
At the time of my moving in, the property was “managed” by the mother of the owner.
Its important to note that the rent was paid by automatic direct bank transfer, into an account solely in the name of the owner.
The property “manager” never handled the rent money.
During my tenancy I never had any dealings directly with the owner. I only knew her by the name of the bank account I transferred the rent money, to.
During these years, there were two occasions when the mother and “manager” (not the owner) contacted me stating they had not received the rent. On both of these occasions I checked my bank account and found the rent had been paid and let her know. A few days later I received word that they had “found” the “missing” rent. All was well.
About a year before I decided to move out, the father of the owner took over “managing” the property as his wife died. The rent was still paid into the same bank account, solely in the name of the owner.
I decided to move out as the father, now “managing” the property, kept increasing the rent.
When I sent my termination notice, I did not receive any communication of receipt of my notice to vacate. I did not receive any communication from the owner or “manager” for a final inspection, so this was not done. It also should be noted that the owner never wanted to inspect the property during the entire time of my tenancy. (Almost seven years)
About a month after vacating, I received an email from the property “manager”, stating the “owner”, (his daughter) has not received the final rent payment.
I checked my bank account and found the final rent payment was indeed made correctly and informed him. Shortly after this, I receive a notice from the tribunal claiming the final two weeks “unpaid” rent, plus some extra amount. The application is in the name of the father of the owner. The owner has not made any representations at all in this matter.
On a date in January, we meet at NCAT at the appointed time. The owner is not present, only her father as “manager” of the property.
Our “discussion”, predictably, ends in stalemate. I produce a copy of my bank statement, showing the amount has been paid. He confirms the payee bank account number as correct, but states “Well we don’t have it, so you have to chase it up”.
I have checked with my bank on three separate occasions that the payment has been processed correctly, which they confirm. Of course they can only do so much as its up to the receiving bank to confirm receipt of the funds. The property “manager” maintains “his daughter” has not received the payment.
This is about to go to NCAT for the third time, having been adjourned the previous two times.
I would have thought producing my bank statement would be enough for NCAT to make a ruling, but they refuse to do so.
The property “manager” keeps insisting we make a joint submission to the banking ombudsman to investigate the “missing” funds. He also wants NCAT to order me to do this.
I do not want to do this as I don’t want to enter into any formal investigation with my name and signature attached to theirs. I certainly don’t want these people to have any of my personal details such as my bank account number and present address, etc, which is required on the submission.
I also feel its quite unnecessary, as I am confident the funds have been transferred correctly. Basically, their mismanagement of their finances is not my problem.
So to my questions –
Why won’t NCAT accept my bank statements as proof of payment?
Can NCAT actually order me to enter into a formal investigation with the banking ombudsman?
Is there anywhere I can get proper legal advice from someone that actually knows this area of the law?
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