In the courts

There are lessons for property investors and managers to learn from others’ unfortunate experiences in court. Here we check out a few cases from last year.

The $64 light bulb
A former tenant hit with a $64 bill to change a light bulb will not have to pay because the receipt provided by a real estate agency had no ABN or other business details. The tenant may have won that battle but she didn’t win the war, with other claims of $3,200 awarded against her.

 “There is no try” when it comes to repairs
A landlord has been ordered to compensate a tenant for inconvenience and lost amenity due to a leak in a dining room which went unfixed for almost a year– despite sending a professional to unsuccessfully attempt repairs. The compensation was set at $35 a week and totalled $1,645.

Tenant ordered to pay over $3000
A tribunal has ordered a former tenant to pay his landlord more than $3000 after the tenant left a rental property in a terrible state– with a broken window, stained carpets and walls, severe cockroach infestation, damaged blinds, a missing kitchen cupboard and rubbish in the back yard. The landlord had claimed more than $7000 in damage repair, but evidence and receipts were missing on some items.

Agency ordered to pay landlord
A Victorian agency has been ordered to pay a landlord more than $5000 after what a tribunal judged to be shortcomings in its advice and actions with regard to a tenant breaking a lease – and because the agency failed to provide sufficient notice of its intention not to represent the owner any longer.

Tenant fall claim dismissed
A tenant, injured when he fell down stairs at his rental home, has been unsuccessful in his bid to obtain compensation for moving costs and lost income after failing to provide any expert evidence about the condition of the stairs and failing to complain about them before the fall.

Tenant fall claim upheld
A landlord is to pay $300,000 to a former tenant injured when a balcony balustrade collapsed leading to a lawsuit in the County Court of Victoria. The balcony had allegedly not been properly maintained and inspected.

Home not fit for habitation
A mother forced to share a bedroom with all three of her daughters due to leaking, mould, dodgy power points and ants in the home’s other bedrooms has been awarded $1600 compensation. A tribunal ruled the home unfit for human habitation during the family’s two-month stay. Compensation included $600 for damaged possessions and $1000 for inability to enjoy use of the premises. The tenant’s moving costs were not covered.