I have a tenant who is 10 weeks behind in rent. We refused to offer a new lease which was due to expire 5 weeks into the unpaid rent. We have been told by our insurance company that we can therefore only claim 1 week of unpaid rent as we only had a fixed term lease for the first five weeks and they only pay after the first 4 weeks.
In speaking to the agent we use, I have since found out that they DO NOT subscribe to any register to check tenants previous history. I wrongly assumed that when they check tenants they do so on a register, as well as employment, referees etc. So while we wait for a court date, the tenant has left and won't return the key, so we cannot gain access to repair the damage the tenant has caused. We also cannot report this tenant to the register as it has to be done by the REA. The tenant has now moved on to the next landlord, while we wait longer to gain access. Luckily we are organised enough to cover this type of loss.
Lots of lessons learned on this one.
JLgive90Member@give90Join Date: 2007Post Count: 54
get a locksmith to let you in and change the locks. only costs $200-$300. definitely not worth waiting for a tenant to return key which may never happen.
Why doesn't the agent have a spare key?crashyParticipant@crashyJoin Date: 2003Post Count: 736
yet another case of agent incompetance
and people wonder why we question the hassle factor of rent vs dividends…..
The agent does have a spare and went round the other day. She said they still some limited furniture in the place and photos of the kids, but no sign of anyone living there. The agent spoke with one of the tenants last Friday when she was moving out. They said they would hand the keys back Monday. (I think I have a nieve REA)
What's the deal with legalities before an order has been signed to terminate their tenancy. I thought that by entering without the tenants permission, we would be shotting ourshelves in the foot as far as gettting any money for damages or rental arrears. There are two tenants on the lease and one works, so I am hopeful to get some money in the longer term. The place is in NSW.
Thanks in advance,
If you have reasonable grounds that the property has been abandoned then you can enter to make the property secure and safe but do not do anything else. Take a video camera and film what you do and the condition of the place. The RE/PM can notify the tenancy tribunal of the situation and the reason for why you are entering the property. Your PM should know all this and have contingency plans in order for this situation. The PM also has to make a reasonable effort to contact the tenants before so.
Solution number 2 if the property has gas connected to gain immediate access. Get someone to ring the RE complaining of a smell of gas coming from the property. This can be used as a method to gain immediate access but only to check that gas mains are turned off etc.
Thanks great. I love your thinking. At this stage the agent has applied to tribunal, but we have to wait a couple of weeks for the hearing – the joys of having regional properties.
I think we might just get a debt collecting agency to collect the rent arrears once an order has been made. Even if we have to forfeit 50%, we are still better off than getting nothing.
JLLuke TaylorParticipant@world-changerJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 415
You shouldn't need to wait for the tribunal in regards to entering the property on the grounds of abandonment and to secure the property. Just make sure you document when you and how you tried to contact the tenants, reason for entering and securing the property including time frame on the premises. Make your time on the premises quick but allow yourself time to document anything you need. 15-30 minutes could be considered reasonable time to secure a property disconnect power and gas etc, up to 1-2 hours if you need to fix a lock that was broken or sticky on a door or window. Perfect time to have a spare lock on hand to stop reentry. Remember a sticky lock could be considered a safety hazard and trap people inside so needs to be fixed. The law might cover tenants but it also covers property owners and land lords if applied the right way.
Thanks for all your advice. The agent did go in and checked that it was locked up, hence knowing the carpet needed cleaning, the yard needs a tidy and the possessions that are left in the house. The tenant had advised by phone that she would return the key, but every time she says she will, she never shows. Now she won't answer her phone. I would instruct the agent just to go ahead and clean up, but she still has stuff in the house, even if it be minimal. We are not in a position to go and see for ourselves, so we rely on the agent. They seem to think that the bond should cover all repairs and cleaning, which is good.
JLScott No MatesParticipant@scott-no-matesJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 3,856
Technically, the place may have been abandoned. There are specific regs covering abandonment including being able to take out the tenant's possessions and to put them into storage. The agent is not doing their job as they are not mitigating your losses.
Landlord insurance surely covers lost rent on continuing agreements (ie expired leases).