Leaving home.

I don’t know if many of you have moved in and out of rentals.  I assume quite a few of you have. Nobody ever refers to it as an enjoyable experience. Because it’s not. But it’s not usually all that bad either. At least that’s what I thought until our latest real estate experience.

I’d like to think that I’ve approached the rental real estate* game with some experience. We’re currently in my fourth rental in Townsville. It’s the first one we’ve ever had through this particular agency though, and that, I think is the difference.

You see, it’s time to move out. And aside from the mountain of packing and cleaning** that comes with moving out of a rental there’s a  plethora of professionals to coordinate along with the move.

Enter first dilemma. Inflexible trucking company.  Now, I totally understand that they have a schedule to run and they’re coordinating multiple pickups and drivers etc. Actually, the trucking company we’re going with has been excellent so far. They’ve promptly replied to any questions and messages I’ve left, given me up to date information and seem reasonably priced. Hopefully they’ll do the pick up and drop off well and then I’d be more than happy to recommend them to others.  The trucking company isn’t the source of our problems but have unknowingly become a contributor to them. You see, they can’t come any day in the week we need to move except the 27th of January. Our keys need to be handed into the real estate by 10am on this day. Problem.

At this point I tried to negotiate a different day/time for the trucking company to come, which came to no avail. This left me with the real estate agent and the departure date of the 27th. I spoke with the real estate agency, politely explained our situation and asked if we would be able drop the keys off one day later. I spoke to a receptionist rather than the property manager. My mistake. The receptionist said that we “probably wouldn’t be able to” but they’d ask the property manager. Late the next day, after my second call, the agency rang through to say that our request had been declined by the owner.  At this point Nathan rang through and explained that we’d be happy to pay the day’s worth of rent and that it was a situation we couldn’t do too much about. The real estate agency then gave us the go ahead for the new exit date of the 28th. Fantastic. I rang the trucking company and carpet cleaners to make final confirmations and pay deposits as required. Mistake number two: Trusting a real estate agency.

Now, we thought we had things sorted. Well organised. Under control. Until this evening. When we stumble upon a letter in the mailbox.  From our real estate agent. Saying, in quite polite terms, that our request had been denied. And that if we don’t hand the keys in on the original date then we’d be taken to the Small Claims Tribunal and would have it recorded as a black mark on our rental record. Seriously. In all honesty I don’t think you could get much better tenants than us. We pay our rent early. We look after the place. We don’t cause trouble or noise in the neighbourhood. But no, this delightful real estate agency thinks it’s okay to throw this upon us. They’re not even losing any money.

This is utterly ridiculous.

End of rant.

*I’m deliberately leaving out the name of the real estate agent in the event that they google themselves. We’ve had quite a bit of trouble with them and simply can’t take any more.

** My mother-in-law and littlest sister-in-law very graciously gave up quite a few days of their time to help us pack and clean. Their help has been invaluable.


Amy says:

I will add though that playing hardball yourself is usually worth it, especially if you have been good tenants. They often seem to try it see what they can get away with.

And name and shame (especially if they are a bigger company) might be the way to go. Amazing what the threat of bad publicity does.

queenstuss says:


Amy says:

Much sympathy. Real estate is a particular type of evil bureaucracy designed to bring the strongest to tears…

Why they harass good tenants when they could be chasing tenants like the ones who used to live in our place, who kindly painted murals all over the walls and chucked all their rubbish in the back yard… makes you wonder.

Luke says:

That is rubbish. Will be praying that it works out!
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Izaac says:

Here's a thought*. Just drop the keys back to the real estate that night. I'm pretty sure your lease ends on that day, not at 10am. So make the demands that they are either around when you want to drop them off on that day or else provide other means such as a letter box to drop them into.

*I'm pretty sure you didn't want me to try and solve your problem, but just wanted to get it off your chest

aaran says:

Can I mention their name, eh Gr!b0n R3&1ty. I think they are due for a name and shame, and I can be more brazen about getting a black mark coz I own my place now. We had them, when we moved in to the property it was a mess and quite dirty (well actually it was clean but the others who moved in at the start of lease had to clean it up). When we moved they were quite unrealistic about the state that they wanted it returned, I don’t think anything short of a new coat of paint would satisfy them. We had 10 people come for a cleaning party (minus some who were “bored, but not that bored”) and they sent us back with a page full of points to fix or they would claim our bond. I would recommend getting the entry report and making lots of comments like ‘better than entry standard’ or ‘general wear and tear’. When we questioned them about wanting to claim so much of our bond they commented that it was standard practice. I think they like to play hard ball, don’t be intimidated. Mention the RTA, unrealistic expectations and bad publicity and they will either go easy or take you to the cleaners – worth a gamble.

Arseholes. They play that way because so far they've gotten away with it.

Reckon you could threaten your press connections and hit them with a Today Tonight threat?

Seriously though, they've given you a verbal agreement over the phone. They have to stick by that or pay the consequences themselves. Also, if you're going to go with Izaac's plan, then get the keys to them by close of business that day. You've got a far better chance with RTA that way.
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Emily says:

I rented privately and it was just as bad! They are so inflexible and act like they have done you an immense favour in allowing you to live in their ridiculously overpriced property which they expect to come back to them in much better condition than you ever received it! Renting in general is frustrating if they try to take all your bond on top of it take them to court. Two people from work did it and won