Property Managers Note Well – Landlord to refund ALL rent paid.
The tenant leased a residential flat, part of a larger residence which had been converted into two dwellings. Rent was $165pw and at the time of the Tribunal decision the tenant had been in residence for 22 weeks.
During the tenancy there had been numerous unresolved complaints to the owner concerning difficulties with the sewerage system. A variety of plumbers and contractors had been called in but the owner had taken no action to resolve the problems. The local Council also became involved, at the request of the tenant, and an order to repair had been issued.
At the time of the Tribunal hearing, documents summonsed from the Council, were introduced showing that, whilst a Development Application had been lodged for the conversion into two flats, it had never been approved.
The Tribunal found that the landlord had breached their obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that there was no impediment to the occupation of the premises and accordingly ordered the landlord to REFUND ALL RENT PAID during the tenancy, $3,630.00, (22 weeks @ $165pw).
Moral of the Story.
Property managers should check that all properties they lease and manage are approved by Council and have Occupation Certificates, with particular attention to granny flats, conversions, divided houses and the like. Agencies may well become liable for damages to their client if it is proven that they failed in their advice regarding the necessity for proper approval prior to leasing.