TonyD

Estate Agents and their lies.....

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    Having found and signed a 12 month lease on a lovely house last month with a view to moving in in 2 weeks time, my wife was looking on the internet for the postcode and finds an advert showing it is for sale! Surely a mistake? We rang the estate agent who told us not to worry, they were just doing some market testing. Of course, alarm bells start to ring so we decide after seeing that there are further viewings to go ourselves as potential "buyers" and expressed interest and asked how quickly would we be able to move in should we decide to proceed? "No problem at all " we were told, "as the property is empty you can move straight in"!! So, it seems these people have no morals whatsoever to both us as tenants and some poor family that would buy the house without knowing that they would have tenants for 12 months!

    Questions are:

     

    1. I am sure we are within the rights of the tenancy agreement to cancel as they have not given us formal notice that they intend to sell but as they have already demonstrated such low morals could they attempt to keep our bond?

     

    2. We paid a deposit of the best part of 900 dollars, are we entitled to it back?

     

    3. Has anyone else experienced this type of practice with estate agents before and if so what was the outcome?

     

    4. Assuming they get a sale they must have some plan in place to get us out, does anyone know what stunts they would pull in order to get us out?

     

    It would be the easiest option to move in but we don't want to have the constant worry that we could be forced out by fair means or foul. We also have to leave our current house in 2 weeks time so as you can imagine a bit of a dillemma!

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    Guest Guest75

    No official advice I am afraid - but the treatment you have received is dodgy in my opinion to say the least.

     

    Words like scum and phrases like "sharp practice" coming to mind.

     

     

    Looks like just your Dollars were taken into account.

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    Guest Guest75

    Thinking on............... Is the house purely an investment property and is it to be sold with a sitting tenant.

    An investment property with rent coming in is always a more attractive offer.

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    Guest BurgessFamily

    OMG I hope that is a 'clerical error'.

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    Thinking on............... Is the house purely an investment property and is it to be sold with a sitting tenant.

    An investment property with rent coming in is always a more attractive offer.

    Not if they asked as a potential buyer when they could move in and were told it's empty!

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    If you have signed a 12 month lease then they can't force you out until the end of the lease. When you say you have paid a deposit do you mean a bond? That is usually about 6 weeks rent, so $900 doesn't seem like enough for a bond (which is held by an independent body, not by the estate agent). We have never had to pay a deposit.

    We had something similar happen to us. We rented a house that was up for sale and up for rent at the same time. Having had our previous rental put up for sale whilst we were in it we said we wouldn't rent the property unless it was taken off the market. No problem they said, the 'for sale' sign came down, we moved in and signed all the paperwork, but a month or so later I noticed that the house was up for sale again on realestate.com.au with 'contact agent' as the address. The agents hadn't informed us tenants of this development.

     

    We phoned the agents and pointed out that they had promised the house would be taken off the market. Don't worry they said, we will only sell it to another investor and you will just continue as sitting tenants. Anyway, after then having the inconvenience of having several potential buyers view the property, it did eventually sell - and you guessed it, the buyer wasn't an investor but someone who wanted to move in. The agents then had the cheek to ask us if we would move out early, to which we said, we will only move out when we have found something suitable for us. They have no right to get you to leave before the end of your lease. It took us a couple of months to find somewhere else, and we did move out early, someone later said we should have asked for some financial compensation. To be honest I just wanted to get away from the b****tards and all the hassle.

     

    I suggest you check whether your lease and deposit/bond has all been done properly by contacting the government's Consumer and Business Services department http://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/wcm/rentingletting/ - if you can get out of the agreement I would as it all sounds well dodgy. Is it a reputable estate agent? We were renting through one of the main national agents and a right bunch of sharks they were (I can't name names but the company sounds a bit like an old tv police series that starred William Shatner). Not all real estate agents are the same though, we are currently renting (hopefully not for much longer) through Ray White and they have been excellent. Good luck.

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    We had the same issue and went to the agents. They apologised and said they were giving it one last shot to sell it. Two years down the line we are still in our rental and all is good, so hopefully all works out for you too.

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    Guest davistev

    I had that done to me last year. Nothing really could be done. However, during inspection time, I was dinged for having oil on the garage floor. I tried to clean it up but it was not perfect. The owner insisted that the entire garage floor be repainted and so I was dinged $1000 from my bond to paint it. The new owner was shown the new floor in the garage and everyone was happy except me. They sold the house. I insisted on being released from the lease with a good reference. It is a pain as moving costs, time off work, disruption to lifestyle is major.

     

    Real estate agents have no morals - We moved out with the house in cleaner condition than when we moved in but we still lost money on the bond.

     

    We changed agents and not had any problems since. According to the news today, house prices across Australia are dropping.

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    Guest Guest75
    Not if they asked as a potential buyer when they could move in and were told it's empty!

     

    Oooops ,missed this............... I am so busy "scanning" today. That is F@#$%^g awful!!

     

    Here I was reading this and offering advice to some of our guests at one of our holiday rentals due to the state of a long term rental they had taken.

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    AnneB, you have also had the misfortune to deal with the same unscrupulous company as us then! We have had to pay a deposit of 2 weeks rent plus a bond close to 3000 dollars. We have looked at the lease agreement and there is a clause that says they have to formally tell us if they are going to go into a contract of sale but I suppose until they get an offer and go into contract they're not yet in breach? Spoke to the Tribunal people and they say we are in a good position but nothing is guaranteed. We're thinking that we may be better pulling out and fighting our corner at a tribunal for our deposit - I understand that the bond can only be taken for damage to the property so if we don't move in then we can't have that taken? If anyone knows that would be helpful. Luckily our current estate agents, who have been brilliant from day one (Harcourts) have been advised of our predicament and liaised with the owner who has agreed to let us extend our lease here by a month to allow us time to find a new place so that we won't be out on the streets in 2 week's time!

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    Agents seem to be like the UK agents of the 80's who would lie, steal and blackmail simply to make their commission.

     

    A rental property can be sold with a sitting tenant although this does depress the sale price as most people even investors want to buy an empty property, make the improvements they require and either move in themselves or rent likely for more money. Be extremely careful and ensure that the contract does not allow for a review by the landlord or contains a clause in case of change of landlords circumstances. In UK the landlord can serve notice to evict therefore inviting you to leave effectively tearing up the rental agreement. A leasehold agreement is very different to a rental agreement and does not allow this to happen however leases therefore have value and are sold.

     

    Buying properties can also be a nightmare, we got gazumped a few years ago despite full asking price being offered! I complained and would only deal with the branch manager.

     

    Best of luck with the agent, always best to sit down with them and explain your concerns, meeting face to face makes things personal and therefore harder for the agent to mess you around. If everything is done over the phone then your simply a voice.

     

    S

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    No surprises that the agents are the same mob that, as you say, we had the misfortune to deal with. They were quite ruthless in pursuing their goals, and renters are the bottom of the food chain. We are currently looking for a house to buy but have vowed that we won't buy anything that they are selling.

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    Just a quick note to confirm that we won the war!! The estate agents eventually admitted that they were in the wrong and wrote me an email confirming we can have our full deposit and bond back! The manager wouldnt see me and it was a particularly pleasant feeling going in today to pick up the cheque and bond refund...... The look on their faces pretending to be not bothered but not doing a good job at hiding it was classic!

     

    Word of advice to all, You have to back up any conversation you have with these people regardless of how unimportant you think it maybe, they will lie to achieve their aims and luckily I had everything documented so they had no choice but to give in! Luckily our current landlord has given us another month so we're back to house-hunting for our new home!

     

    Thanks for all the advice to all the stars of PiA

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    Well done Tony! Good luck finding a new place - I can really recommend a rental agent in the Southern Suburbs who was mega helpful with us breaking lease, even though it meant money out of her pocket. We didn't lose a penny of our bond or deposit.

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    Just a quick note to confirm that we won the war!! The estate agents eventually admitted that they were in the wrong and wrote me an email confirming we can have our full deposit and bond back! The manager wouldnt see me and it was a particularly pleasant feeling going in today to pick up the cheque and bond refund...... The look on their faces pretending to be not bothered but not doing a good job at hiding it was classic!

     

    Word of advice to all, You have to back up any conversation you have with these people regardless of how unimportant you think it maybe, they will lie to achieve their aims and luckily I had everything documented so they had no choice but to give in! Luckily our current landlord has given us another month so we're back to house-hunting for our new home!

     

    Thanks for all the advice to all the stars of PiA

     

    That's fantastic news - well done! Good to someone fight back and win!

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    Well done Tony! Good luck finding a new place - I can really recommend a rental agent in the Southern Suburbs who was mega helpful with us breaking lease, even though it meant money out of her pocket. We didn't lose a penny of our bond or deposit.

     

    Thanks Gus, unfortunately the southern suburbs are not an option for us, my wife does most of her work around Elizabeth etc. so the daily commute is just too much. Great to hear you've found someone you can trust, we have had the same with Harcourts (our current rental agents) who have been absolutely fantastic.

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    Can I just say that not all agents are less than perfect. I have rented for oooh coming up to 14 years now through various agents (Hooker, Residential Letting, Ring Partners, Professionals, Raine and Horne, currently private landlady who is wonderful) and NEVER ......... I repeat NEVER, had a problem with any of them. EVER! For a potential tenant it is well worth your investing some time reading (and understanding) your rights through the OCBA website BEFORE you sign a lease. I have been in two houses where they have been placed on the market while I was a tenant and what that entails is comprehensively covered under tenancies legislation. Whilst I understand that the particular agent in this instance may not have done the right thing, if there were a tenant in the property they cannot just be thrown out at the whim of a new owner, and may indeed be just what a potential property investor is looking for.

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    Guest Guest8609

    I had very unpleasant experiences with Australian agents. Used 4 agencies so far, only one really honest.

    The biggest scam is during Initial Inspection and Final Inspection. Initial Inspection Report usually has everything marked GOOD (condition) and CLEAN - even if it's falling apart or hasn't been cleaned since the house was built. Examples: one agent 'didn't notice' huge red stain in the middle of the hall floor, the other one didn't notice 90% of garage floor had dark oil stains, another one that the shower and toilets in the new bathroom were very dirty. Even after I sent them photos they claimed everything was clean and refused changing their initial inspection sheet. But at the final inspection their perception of cleanliness changes drastically. All of sudden it turns out that the clean cupboard doors won't pass, because they have a 1.5 cm wiping smudge (that you can see only at 11.15am when you open the left door at the angle of 27degrees ;) ) and that the stainless steel bin lid is clean, but not polished (it happened to me, I thought it was a hidden camera trick :D ) so it counts as dirty. White glove test passes on both, but it's 'not clean enough'.

     

    I think the agencies should get fined for just fake results in their Initial Inspection Reports. They mark everything as Clean and Good in hope you overlook something and can't prove your innocence (which sounds ridiculous anyway). Then, at the end, you PAY through the nose for fixing and cleaning things that were already in bad state. You can't even pick cleaners/repairers even though it is paid from your money. Instead the agency will charge you $1000 for painting the garage floor, $400 for re-cleaning the kitchen floor or or $200 for removing a dead mozzie from the professionally cleaned property. All from their 'trusted' service providers. And it seems very common in Oz.

    Edited by Guest8609

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    Guest Guest8609

    We also had workers, builders of any sort coming with no notice and using the keys provided by the agency without even knocking (once early int he morning when I was on my own, sleeping!!). It was happening almost every week for several months! I also had to clean after them.

    We were also forced to steam clean the carpets even though they hadn't been steam cleaned before we moved in. We thought we had to but another agent told us we didn't have to even if it was in the contract.

    Other common lies/tricks like: the house will be professionally cleaned before you move in, the internet connection is in progress and will work next week, that will be fixed, we'll bring tv/washing machine,etc - NEVER believe that, it won't happen.

     

    And another thing: all those agents who lied to me, tried to do some nasty tricks, etc. Are they really that stupid the don't realise that I am a potential house buyer and that I will avoid their agency like the plague ? Not just the agency - I will remember those agents' names and/or faces, I will warn all my friends against letting, leasing and buying from them. Pretty obvious thing, is tricking me to pay some extra money at the end of the lease really worth it? Not to mention such things as human or work ethics... Also, can't they appreciate good tenants? Clean house, tidy garden, no noise, no complaints from us or others. We even watered the garden after we moved out because it was supposed to be hot and the landlord was not back yet. And we offered it because the agent was a decent person and we both truly cared about the property. But it was one agent out of four - so far.

    Edited by Guest8609

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    Guest Mrs Bon Jovi
    I had very unpleasant experiences with Australian agents. Used 4 agencies so far, only one really honest.

    The biggest scam is during Initial Inspection and Final Inspection. Initial Inspection Report usually has everything marked GOOD (condition) and CLEAN - even if it's falling apart or hasn't been cleaned since the house was built. Examples: one agent 'didn't notice' huge red stain in the middle of the hall floor, the other one didn't notice 90% of garage floor had dark oil stains, another one that the shower and toilets in the new bathroom were very dirty. Even after I sent them photos they claimed everything was clean and refused changing their initial inspection sheet. But at the final inspection their perception of cleanliness changes drastically. All of sudden it turns out that the clean cupboard doors won't pass, because they have a 1.5 cm wiping smudge (that you can see only at 11.15am when you open the left door at the angle of 27degrees ;) ) and that the stainless steel bin lid is clean, but not polished (it happened to me, I thought it was a hidden camera trick :D ) so it counts as dirty. White glove test passes on both, but it's 'not clean enough'.

     

    I think the agencies should get fined for just fake results in their Initial Inspection Reports. They mark everything as Clean and Good in hope you overlook something and can't prove your innocence (which sounds ridiculous anyway). Then, at the end, you PAY through the nose for fixing and cleaning things that were already in bad state. You can't even pick cleaners/repairers even though it is paid from your money. Instead the agency will charge you $1000 for painting the garage floor, $400 for re-cleaning the kitchen floor or or $200 for removing a dead mozzie from the professionally cleaned property. All from their 'trusted' service providers. And it seems very common in Oz.

     

    Im sorry, but if you happily sign an ongoing inspection report where everything is marked as good an clean when you don't agree they are, then to be honest, more fool you! If they disagree don't back down!

    In our first rental, they sent the report out stating all the walls were clean and unmarked - they weren't! People had lived in the house with children and pets, obviously there were marks. I added 4 pages of things to the report and sent it back :biggrin: She said can you come in to discuss it? Not sure what good that was going to do but I did and all it resulted in was her saying "I can't believe I missed all that I will have to come out and look again." When she came out I was able to point out everything I had added and she had to sign off on every last one of them. When we left we had no issues, full bond returned and all was good.

    Our 2nd rental was an older house and had loads of bumps and marks and they were listed generally in the report as various marks on walls. We were happy to accept that as there really were too many to mention lol. We added a couple of minor things we had noted i.e the windows hadn't been cleaned and all was accepted without issue, again no problems on leaving.

     

    If you are aware of issues then don't ignore them because they may well come back to bite you on the derrière!

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    Guest Guest8609

    I agree we have to be very careful. But being cautious is not enough if the thieves are not afraid to steal from you.

    I always add a lot to the Initial Inspection Report. The point is the agents don't bother to verify my comments (maybe hoping I will lose my copy???), so if the case goes to the Tribunal, it's my word against theirs. I make comments and take notes in the Initial Inspection Report, I also take photos. But I know I may not notice everything. Performing inspections is the agents' job and if they don't do it right or lie in the report - they should be fined, because they do it on purpose! It's really very easy to prove some lies, eg in case of 'clean' garage that actually had 90% of surface covered in stains. As I said, some of them mark absolutely everything clean/good because they hope we tick something that is not true (by mistake or for any other reason) and they will make us pay $$$ for it. Bear in mind, you don't always move in on day 1 and for the next 2 weeks you unpack and arrange the place, so you may not notice some things. And what about the things that are not in the report? I assume there should be no evaluation of them at all instead of the 'reasonable state' required? In ideal world perhaps...

    Also, once at the end of the lease the agent refused to look at the Initial Inspection report, because, as she said ' I don't care about this report, I have MY standards'. She didn't even bring her copy! She was trying to convince me (knowing I came from the UK) that it was the Australian way and I had no right to use the Initial Inspection Report to argue with her evaluation. We then asked her superior to perform the inspection, because she was cheeky enough to call random things dirty without even checking them - we even asked her for a written report of WHAT exactly was dirty, she couldn't even remember what she made up on the spot... She didn't take any photos either, so I assume there was nothing for her to report really...

    Now I'm wiser and I try to cover my a..., but I'm not comfortable with the nasty little tricks. They only exist because regulations don't control the agencies enough.

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    If my agent refused to even look at the initial report I would tell them to take me to the tribunal and let them sort it.

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    Guest Guest8609

    We wanted to take them to Tribunal, but I had doubts whether it would count - I made an HD video of me scrubbing the 'dirty' places with a white tissue to prove they were clean, the tissue got all torn after a while, but still perfectly white. The problem was that I made that video right AFTER the agent had left and not before.

    I also strongly regret I didn't record the inspection - at least the audio, because she was talking so much r..bish and with such a bad attitude (for example she said I was LYING that I cleaned the floors... :shocked: ), that any tribunal would punish her for that. She was also throwing things from the shelves onto the bathroom floor (it was the landlady's stuff, btw) or decided the bedroom was dirty without even entering it. Most of the time I was just totally shocked by her behaviour. Another bad thing was that, afterwards, her colleague claimed that poor thing, she had a bad day (???) and her boss was defending her and making up excuses without even talking to her. He didn't think it was wrong that she refused to look at the Initial Inspection Report. I was wondering whether he was cheeky, incompetent or both... Overall traumatic experience, some people will treat you like dirt if you're (too) polite.

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