In the courts

Fix urgent repairs within three days

Here’s an important question for landlords and property managers – how long is too long when it comes to carrying out urgent repairs on a rental property?

The answer: no longer than three days, according to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) in New South Wales.

The tribunal ordered a NSW landlord to pay $1000 to a former tenant after it found urgent repairs had not been completed quickly enough.

The tribunal also ruled that the delays meant the tenant was justified in breaking his lease and did not have to pay a break fee.

The Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) said the repairs – to a dishwasher, toilet, washing machine and the split system – were all urgent and should have been fixed within two or “at the most” three days.

Most of the repairs were done within a week – but it took three winter weeks to repair the split system used for heating.

“The landlord was aware that the tenant was renting the premises at winter time with his heavily pregnant wife and four-year-old child,” the tribunal found.

The CTTT reportedly processed 48,000 tenancy disputes last year, part of a record-breaking 64,000 overall case load.

PM sentenced to jail, fined

A South Brisbane property manager has received a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay $12,280 in fines and restitution after being convicted of taking bond money from a trust account.

Gayle Coral Sullivan has also been permanently banned from holding a real estate licence, according to Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading.

She pleaded guilty to five counts of wrongfully converting trust account money under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000.

Receipts not enough

A landlord has lost a bid to use $2,700 in Bunnings receipts to support a claim for repairs after evicting tenants.
The landlord had claimed that more than $10,300 in repairs – including painting – were carried out at the property in Southport, Queensland.

But Queensland’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled the receipts didn’t provide enough evidence to back up the claim.

Tribunal member Paul Favell said the landlord would have needed more extensive evidence to demonstrate the level of work claimed at the end of the 10 year tenancy.

However, the tribunal did award the landlord $1,660 in repair costs and $1,750 in unpaid rent.

Pool fence fines

Two owners of properties with deficient pool fences in Victoria have been fined in the Werribee Magistrates Court, and ordered to pay Wyndham City’s court costs.

Total bill? One of the owners had to pay $3,340 and the other $4,820 – and that’s not counting the cost of fixing the fences.