Read this if you think you’re having a stinky day…
A Victorian landlord was ordered to pay his tenants more than $6600 after their first floor Ascot Vale apartment – their first home as a couple – was flooded with sewage and toilet paper as a result of a blocked drain.
The tenants arrived home from house-sitting to find the sewage, which had flowed through the bath drain and toilet on to the floors and walls as well as furniture they’d bought together, clothing and other equipment.
While the landlord did send cleaners to the apartment and replaced a carpet, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) found that the cleaning had not sufficiently decontaminated the apartment based on a scientific report commissioned by the tenants before they moved out.
The Tribunal rejected the landlord’s argument that clothes damaged by the sewage could have been washed, citing photographic evidence and the nature of some of the clothing fabrics.
The compensation included reimbursement for rent and electricity, cleaners’ fees and moving costs as well as compensation for damaged furniture, clothing and household items. Compensation of $3000 for “inconvenience/loss of quiet enjoyment” made up almost half the total payout.
“This was the first home for the tenants as a couple, who had taken considerable pleasure in purchasing simple items of furniture together, in the hope that they could save sufficient funds to purchase their own home in the future,” the Tribunal noted.
“Many items, although of unremarkable value, held considerable significance to the tenants. The apartment had great sentimental attachment for them, evidenced by their desire to enter further fixed term tenancy agreements whilst they saved for their own home.”