Guest S A !!

Property and Agents YOUR EXPERIENCES.

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    Guest S A !!

    Hi, Just changing properties. Not had a fantastic experience with a letting agent. Property proved to be not as we thought it would be.

    I thought it would be good to share experience here.

     

    As far as I know there isn't a way to check on Agent performance and credibility or on Property value for money.

     

    Probably keep detail of agent and property to a minimum as site moderator control suggests.

    Edited by S A !!

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    Agents do change. My daughter was very selective about choosing her agent to manage their rental property. Six months into a yearly contract the agent had moved on and the Real Estate Co. appointed someone else. Six years on they have had many agents in the same Real Estate Co. and are moderately happy with who they have now and have good tenants. They also inspect the house yearly when they return to this state, as very odd things happen to rental properties.

     

    On the other side, they rent a house (far away) where the landlord will not do any improvements or more than essential repairs and nothing the agent does will chnage his mind. He just will not spend the money. Things like that are out of the agents control.

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    What do you want to know? We have had differing experiences, and I think really we have to go for the house that we think is the right one for us, and then we get whatever agent we get, and it is up to us to try to make that a positive working experience. We had one agent where the person managing the property was fantastic... and then she left, and the person in her place was unprofessional, managed it badly from the tenant's point of view, and gave us a bad reference out of spite. Since found that out from the new agent when we moved to this place, but she was a good judge of character - she wanted to give the house to us, and did so DESPITE the reference, because of what our friends had said about us, and because of the reference for the house two houses before.

     

    My best advice is that you get what you get and it is up to us as tenants to be as polite, co-operative and easy going as possible. An agent doesn't want a tenant ringing up all the time for minor issues, I think they also like it if we are prepared to go out of our way with things that aren't strictly speaking our responsibility too. We put down pavers in this place -they'd been taken up by the agents after the previous tenant wrecked the place - I assume they took some of her deposit but didn't replace the pavers. So that wasn't exactly amazing to move in with , esp with kids. What we did was ask if we could replace the pavers ourselves (they were all still piled up). We did the work (FIL has done paving before so he showed us how, and the kids help). They all did a great job, and I took photos, and emailed them to the agent with the subject "Children make great tenants". I only sent photos with the kids in and not the adults, and then one of the finished job. She forwarded it to the landlord. It set the tone for our rental here, and the agent had been very abrupt and boundaried (as they always are, they have to be) at first - and soon she was calling us her "favourite tenants" and we had great visits for our inspections. Now that relationship could have gone entirely a different direction if we had insisted they paved it, if we had responded harshly to her abruptness- which was really her cautiousness as a lot of tenants are out for what they can get, or what they are entitled to.

     

    The "nice treatment" doesn't work for all rentals - it didn't at the last place, but we had a few major issues they wouldn't (and should) deal with, and I got upset on the phone. Do that and you've had it, mostly.

     

    Agent on this place changed because our agents sold part of their "book" to a new guy starting out. He's been not so organised, equally as cautious to begin with but again has settled to a really positive relationship.

     

    I think the point is - these are our "homes" but it is their "business". I think when we are dealing with problems with our "homes" we have to put a professional hat on, and be extremely polite and professional even when they are rude. It keeps the relationship safe. Agents get a really hard time from landlords and from tenants. They are paid for it but they get war weary, and they then start out from a very defensive and often aggressive point in a new rental relationship. it's our job to try to turn that into something new.

     

    As for the old nasty reference agent? When we went to get our deposit back we took her some Haigh's chocolates and I gave them to her and my words were "I am sure people don't thank you very often". She was surprised, and hopefully a little shamed by my kindness. I confess I took a little pleasure in my choice of words. Gotta have some fun tho hey????

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    On the other side, they rent a house (far away) where the landlord will not do any improvements or more than essential repairs and nothing the agent does will chnage his mind. He just will not spend the money. Things like that are out of the agents control.

     

    Absolutely. ANd in those circumstances it is probably really helpful to acknowledge the agent's difficulty, and make sure they know we aren't blaming them, and appreciate their difficulties. They are more likely to help us problem solve. Depending on the problem, it can sometimes be beneficial (such as with our pavers, a hard day's work) to do the fixing ourselves, after having asked permission first.

     

    Since that time, our landlord actually volunteered to pay for a pest control visit that we'd had to have done, as a result of water getting into the brick and under the house, and we had a terrible march fly infestation. Strictly speaking our responsibility, could have insisted because it was so out of the ordinary that the LL paid - but once the agent told him we'd had the pest control man visit (and it took him 3 visits, altho thankfully we only paid once) - Landlord straight away asked for the invoice and paid. Probably because of how our rental started out and the way the relationship had continued.

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    Guest S A !!

    The Agent should act in accordance to the let agreement. If the agent deems it is within the realms of health and safety they can and should act accordingly. That is why you pay more to let through an agent. Also if it falls into disrepair then you can challenge the agent too, in particular to cooling system and sanitary. I think in most cases ALL agents do this and have a fall back system to recoup the costs or the Lanlord can be legally prosecuted.

     

    I was wondering what experience was like in general. Did you think the agents were acting accordingly, did they act proffesionally? was the property worth paying all that extra in the end, was there a lot of maintenance up keep involved ?

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    I am not sure I think we are paying "all that extra" and to be honest I think it is better to have someone between us and the landlord. Maintenance requests - there's usually something to report, nothing major quite often, and my current agent hasn't had good work men so the things haven't been fixed, but they are tiny minor things that I am not excited about.

     

    I agree that there is a system in place for health and safety, and rent reduction (say in the case of heating failing in winter, etc). OCBA Rental advice people are good for a steer on that kind of thing.

     

    I am happy to pay an agent to stand between me and the landlord, I think the boundaries are better.

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    Guest vikkiann

    We rent in Aldinga and our agent is based in Mile End. As an agent they are ok, sometimes they reply to calls, othertimes they don't!

     

    Our landlord though is fab!! When we moved in, he'd left a note welcoming us and said this may be their house but its our home.

     

    I put a picture up on 1 of those stupid plastic hooks, it fell down and scraped the wall so it now needs filling, sanding and painting.

    I told the agent at our inspection in August then again in November.

    Last Saturday i got a call from the landlord to book a painter in. I asked how we go about the invoice ... Do they take it from our bond or invoice us direct? The landlords response was ... Because we'd been upfront about it, they would pay the invoice. I thought well we must have good landlords!!

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    Guest Treetops

    There are good and bad agents as there are good and bad landlords. I read that nowadays on average people read between 6-7 reviews of a product or company before making a purchase. This forum is great for just such questions. As a landlord myself (hopefully a good one) I chose not to use an agent because I don't think they can promote my property with the same level of passion nor service my clients with the same attention to detail. When we arrived from UK and were in a rental ourselves I found our agent did the bare minimum and were completely inflexible but as somebody mentioned staff change and you might get a more conscientious one next time. I guess when asking for reviews/opinions just make sure they are up to date.

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    Our latest experience with an Agent????

     

    Well at the moment I could use every bad word I know because our agent is somehow refusing to do our final inspection !!! we have moved out a week ago, left the house cleaner that we found it but no inspection done even though has said twice now that he will do it and each time he has not...said his too busy!!!! VERY VERY frustrating and down right rude and I am currently very p'd off....the sooner we are able to buy our own home the better.....

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    The governing body of Real Estate Agents is REISA - The Real Estate Institute of South Australia (http://www.reisa.com.au). I know some very good ('award winning') real estate agents and I'm sure REISA would try and help you out with any queries you may have in finding a good agent.

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    Guest princessglowe

    The only negative thing I would say about Australia is our experience with a particular number 1 real estate agent that has an office in Morphett Vale. The agent that rented us a property lied repeatedly to the landlords when we reported leaks to the property. The agent then didn't do the final inspection until 3 days after we had left then wanted to charge us to clean the outside windows as in her opinion they were not clean enough.

     

    I told her we would see them in an arbitration hearing to which they kindly refunded the bond 2 weeks after threatening us that we wouldn't see our bond for 6 months.

     

    I have rented properties out to people whilst in the UK and have never treated anyone like some agents feel they can do here.

     

    Basically as there are so many people requiring to rent they treat everyone like dirt as somebody else will come along.

     

    Rant Over!!!

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    Guest Guest8609

    Guys, please tell me is there any ombudsman for such things - we had a final inspection and the agent was checking things like dust on picture/mirror frames, she had problems that there were shoe prints on the patio (OH going out), dry water marks in sinks, or grease on the cookery book holder. She also had a problem with stainless steel bin lid that was washed and dried with a dry towel BUT there were marks (I was supposed to polish it!!).

    Also she did not stick to the inspection sheet (made before we moved in)that clearly stated that certain things, like the oven hood was partially greasy (that part with filters, impossible to clean, should be replaced rather). The house didn't pass the inspection, but ok, we overlooked the part of the cookertop was greasy, we overlooked one cobweb. we didn't wash behind the fridge (although it has never been clean there, but it's not in inspection sheet). The point is the agent said the house is to be cleaned to HER standards, which was not true.

    It's stated on gov housing website:

     

    "At the end of a lease the landlord will organise a date to conduct a final property inspection. This is to compare the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy to the condition it was originally in. This is done by referring to the inspection sheet that was completed at the start of the tenancy."

    "If the property is not in a reasonable state of cleanliness or has damage that has not been caused by fair wear and tear the landlord will be able to put in a claim for all or part of the bond. "

     

    Basically my concern is we have to pay rent until the house passes the inspection, and with HER standards we will never be able to clean it properly... Unless we hire the cleaning agency she recommended (she says $350-400 which is just ridiculous), then she said the inspection will pass!!

    I wish we had some sort of witness or I feel like making a video of her another ridiculous inspection!!

    Oh, also she complained about the stuff (cleaning agents and cosmetics) left by the landlady (we didn't use it). And she claimed one countertop was greasy (it was the cleanest bit of the house as my OH spilled dishwashing liquid on it and we had to scrub it for ages to wash off the foam).

    I asked whether somebody else could conduct inspection but we'd have to wait and pay the rent, so we will take a risk and have her inspect the house again.

    Edited by Guest8609

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    That is disgraceful.We had the same treatment in our first rental almost 5 yrs ago.Some of these Agents are so 'up themselves' it beggars belief!You should mention the tribunal to her,she won't like that.Of course there are two sides to every Story,but some of these 'Agents' appear to have serious communication issues with tenants.BTW,our second rental was found in the Advertiser newspaper,a private Landlord,and we had no issues with him,and got our full Bond back immediately when we vacated.Glad to be out of the rental racket now TBH.Was not a great experience for us personally.All the best Lenore.

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    Guest Guest8609

    Well, now I know that if I had taken some photos or made a video before or during inspection, that lady would definitely lose case in the tribunal. Probably the worst thing was she kept lying she didn't have to stick to the initial inspection sheet, because she had her agency standards. I suppose she thought that we were new to Oz and we will just agree to pay her for the professional house cleaning.

    My advice is: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Check Residential Tenancies Act; property agents sometimes attach fragments to your contract(the ones that are convenient to them probably ;) ).

     

    Each state has different regulations. In South Oz professional cleaning for the end of tenancy IS NOT required, even if you move in the professionally cleaned property. The only exclusion is carpets but it will be written down - if they were professionally washed right before you move in, then you have to have them washed before you move out. Please, check for more details, as I may not remember everything.

     

    Next thing: the inspector HAS TO stick to the initial inspection sheet. If it says the windowsills are dirty, then they don't have to be perfectly clean at the end of tenancy. It's important, because in case of 'our' windows, the window frames had very old paint - impossible to make it white/clean looking again. It was stated in this document the windows/blinds/sills were dirty, but the agent said it didn't matter, even though we cleaned all those items.

     

    Another thing: reasonable state. I was told by another agent, that checking dust on the top of frames of mirrors hanging high on the walls, or on the tall wardrobes is ridiculous. The chance they are clean when you move in are close to zero, anyway. In my case, cleaning and wiping dry stainless steel appliances was definitely enough, they didn't need polishing!

     

    So we moved in the not very clean house. Initial inspection sheet was made very thoroughly (unfortunately the person who made it could not deal with us at the end of tenancy), plenty of things were marked ad dirty or fair, but still we cleaned them during tenancy and before inspection. Finally, the house was in MUCH better condition, but the problem was the agent behaved as if she had to fail us no matter what. I've read on some forums that many agencies had deals with cleaning companies, they charge hundreds of dollars from tenants for little, ridiculous things and God knows how much they pay to the cleaning agency (THIS should be always monitored!!) plus, God knows if the cleaning happens, because in some cases new tenants move in almost instantly. Also removing one cobweb or cleaning minor things is NOT a cost of eg 400$.

     

    More tips:

     

    When you get initial inspection sheet, you have time to add your notes and return them to the agent. DO NOT NEGLECT IT. Add as much as possible, rmember there is a deadline for you to return it. I noticed some agents mark everything as clean - don't agree to that, if it's neither clean nor dirty (only old and looks a bit dirty) ask for F - fair. Sometimes something looks 'almost' clean, but in reality it is impossible to clean it.

    Also: on the first days take photos/make videos of the property, especially things that are old, broken, don't look/ work very well, anything suspicious. In my current house there are plenty of cracks on the tiles and floors, but the agent said it didn't matter. It does matter to me, because it's only the good will of the landlord and agent whether I 'get away' with it.

     

    Schedule the final inspection several days before the end of lease so that you don't have to pay extra for rental in case you have to do additional cleaning.

     

    Finally, I think it will become my habit in Australia: before the final inspection - take the initial inspection sheet and check all the items, make sure they're in the same state (or cleaner, as we clean thoroughly not selectively + we keep the house clean during tenancy) when you're leaving. I highly recommend doing it and filming/taking photos at the same time (I called the tribunal and they recommended it). The most shocking thing to me was the agent touching the perfectly clean counter top and telling me it was dirty, same things with other places that I was cleaning very thoroughly... I made a video after she left, where I checked all the surfaces and furniture (including floors) with white tissue. The tissue got fatigued, but at the end (4 rooms + bathrooms, kitchen, halls) it was still white! The agent said the counter was greasy and yet her fingers were not dirty or greasy, she also tried to tell me the floor was not mopped, I said I mopped about 2 hours ago, and she said I was lying! On all fours she tried to gather some invisible dust (she found a hair, congratulations, could have been hers :P ), and yet, when she got up, her black trousers were perfectly clean around the knees... You can't imagine how tempting it was to me to take a photo of the rental agent on her knees trying to prove the floor was not clean... She should have used a magnifying glass...

     

    I hope this entry will be at least a bit useful, but I cannot guarantee it is completely error-free, so double check requirements for South Australia and pay attention to some additional conditions you may have in your contracts, I cannot guarantee it is a perfect guide, but many ideas should be helpful. I think if you are new to Oz you seem to be an easier prey to unethical people, not just rental agents, as you may not know your rights. In my case, I knew that the house had to be in reasonable state and NOT worse than initially (hence existence of initial inspection sheet as a tool for comparison), and yet I got almost convinced by the agent that I was wrong. No, I wasn't.

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    Guest sithewindows
    Well, now I know that if I had taken some photos or made a video before or during inspection, that lady would have lost case in the tribunal. Probably the worst thing was she kept lying she didn't have to stick to the initial inspection sheet, because she had her agency standards. I suppose she thought that we were new to Oz and we will just agree to pay her for the professional house cleaning.

    My advice is: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Check Residential Tenancies Act; property agents sometimes attach fragments to your contract(the ones that are convenient to them probably ;) ).

     

    Each state has different regulations. In South Oz professional cleaning for the end of tenancy IS NOT required, even if you move in the professionally cleaned property. The only exclusion is carpets but it will be written down - if they were professionally washed right before you move in, then you have to have them washed before you move out. Please, check for more details, as I may not remember everything.

     

    Next thing: the inspector HAS TO stick to the initial inspection sheet. If it says the windowsills are dirty, then they don't have to be perfectly clean at the end of tenancy. It's important, because in case of 'our' windows, the window frames had very old paint - impossible to make it white/clean looking again. It was stated in this document the windows/blinds/sills were dirty, but the agent said it didn't matter, even though we cleaned all those items.

     

    Another thing: reasonable state. I was told by another agent, that checking dust on the top of frames of mirrors hanging high on the walls, or on the tall wardrobes is ridiculous. The chance they are clean when you move in are close to zero, anyway. Also, in my case, cleaning and wiping dry stainless steel appliances was definitely enough, they didn't need polishing!

     

    So we moved into the not very clean house. Initial inspection sheet was made very thoroughly (unfortunately the person who made it could not deal with us at the end of tenancy), plenty of things were marked ad dirty or fair, but still we cleaned them during tenancy and before inspection. Finally, the house was in MUCH better condition, but the problem was the agent behaved as if she had to fail us no matter what. I've read on some forums that many agencies had deals with cleaning companies, they charge hundreds of dollars from tenants for little, ridiculous things and God knows how much they pay to the cleaning agency (THIS should be always monitored!!) plus, God knows if the cleaning happens, because in some cases new tenants move in almost instantly. Also removing one cobweb or cleaning minor things is NOT a cost of eg 400$.

     

    More tips:

     

    When you get initial inspection sheet, you have time to add your notes and return them to the agent. DO NOT NEGLECT IT. Add as much as possible, rmember there is a deadline for you to return it. I noticed some agents mark everything as clean - don't agree to that, if it's neither clean nor dirty (only old and looks a bit dirty) ask for F - fair. Sometimes something looks 'almost' clean, but in reality it is impossible to clean it.

    Also: on the first days take photos/make videos of the property, especially things that are old, broken, don't look/ work very well, anything suspicious. In my current house there are plenty of cracks on the tiles and floors, but the agent said it didn't matter. It does matter to me, because it means it's only up to the good will of the landlord and agent whether I 'get away' with it.

    Remember to set a timestamp in your camera so that the date is visible

     

    Schedule the final inspection several days before the end of lease so that you don't have to pay extra for rental in case you have to do additional cleaning.

     

    Finally, I think it will become my habit in Australia: before the final inspection - take the initial inspection sheet and check all the items, make sure they're in the same state (or cleaner, as we clean thoroughly not selectively + we keep the house clean during tenancy) when you're leaving. I highly recommend doing it and filming/taking photos at the same time (I called the tribunal and they recommended it). The most shocking thing to me was the agent touching the perfectly clean counter top and telling me it was dirty, same things with other places that I was cleaning very thoroughly... I made a video after she left, where I checked all the surfaces and furniture (including floors) with white tissue. The tissue got fatigued, but at the end (4 rooms + bathrooms, kitchen, halls) it was still white! The agent said the counter was greasy and yet her fingers were not dirty or greasy, she also tried to tell me the floor was not mopped, I said I mopped about 2 hours ago, and she said I was lying! On all fours she tried to gather some invisible dust (she found a hair, congratulations, could have been hers :P ), and yet, when she got up, her black trousers were perfectly clean around the knees... You can't imagine how tempting it was to me to take a photo of the rental agent on her knees trying to prove the floor was not clean... She should have used a magnifying glass...

    I thought you were going to say "You can't imagine how tempting it was for me to kick her up the Arsenal!"

    We are trying to get a rental now so your info has come in very handy, thank you.

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    We had a pretty horrendous time with our agent a few yrs back now .

     

    He seemed quite bemused at the fact, yes can you believe this that we werent happy that mice kept appearing in our oven,was i leaving crumbs about.There was a bloody hole in the wall,not fixed by the landlord where they were coming in.

     

    We were forever having to chase them up and how picky they were on inspections when we had to get cleaners in when we moved in it was so grubby.

     

    I could write a book on some of the issues we have had with estate agents,particularly when buying.Frankly the porkies we have been told are unbelievable.Not all are like that but sadly a lot are.

     

    Be very very wary.

     

    Sue

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    Guest Guest8609

    We were viewing an apartment recently. There were tenants (a couple) present and after we asked the agent about the furniture, it turned out that the agent didn't talk to them! She said 'I'll tell you later because we're not on good terms with current tenants'.

    I couldn't believe it...

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