real estate agents

Realty Check

Robyn shared some of our moving woes in her post yesterday. Not to be outdone I wrote a complaint letter. Complete with thinly veiled threats that only a PR person working for one of Townsville’s most publicised organisations can get away with…

To give some context – this is a copy of the letter the Real Estate Agent sent us yesterday:

Dear Robyn and Nathan,

Re: Our address

As per phone conversation today, you have been advised that an extension to vacate has been declined.

We respectfully wish to advise that if you do not hand keys back on the 27/01/2010, we have been instructed by the Lessor to lodge a claim against you with the Small Claims Tribunal, this will also go against your permanent rental history.

You were notified on the 26/11/2009 that you had to hand the keys back on the 27/01/2010.

Please feel free to contact the office if you require further information in relation to this matter.

Yours Faithfully,

J0hn Gr1bb1n Realty PTY LTD.

Here ’tis. I’ve replaced some letters with numbers just to avoid this coming up on google in the next few days. Once we’re out of there I’ll change it back for the world to see.

Dear J0hn Gr1bb1n, Karen Ernest and any other relevant staff,

Following a further phone call today regarding our exit of the property at <address> I thought I should put an official response in writing on the record.

My wife Robyn and I have been tenants at the Diprose Street Property since August 2007. We have paid the rent on time every week, have had the property inspected regularly with only minor issues to be corrected after each inspection (eg the dusting of a fan, floor mats under chairs etc). Despite one (I believe) official written warning about the placement of our wheelie bins on the curb, I consider us to have been good tenants who are above reproach.

The same could not be said of our lessor. I wish to place this note on the record – but would ask that it not be mentioned to the landlord until we have vacated the property. I am concerned that if the decision is left up to him we will not receive our due bond back after vacating the property, and I will be carefully documenting any discussions regarding our bond in order to make a case with the RTA if I feel these concerns are warranted.

We have reported minimal maintenance issues in our time in the property – and when we have the response has been less than timely on the behalf of the lessor.

For example, our rangehood cover detached within two months of us occupying the property due to some construction issues – a cupboard door opens into the range hood and disturbs it (we did not mistreat or “swing off” the cover as alleged by our landlord). Despite our timely reporting of this issue the maintenance has not taken place some years later.

We reported a dripping hot water tap in our shower which was not fixed for over a month – costing us money in electricity bills.

Living on site with the landlord has proved a terrible experience – so much so that I will be doing all that I can to make people aware of the situation at Diprose Street. I am not without resources in this department (as you might surmise from my signature block). Let me give you some examples of situations that have been less than professionally handled by our lessor – to the point that I requested that if he must address us in person he address me, and not my wife. Based on some telephone exchanges with your staff over the years I surmise that some of them feel similarly about dealing with the lessor in question.

Some time ago one of the other tenants in the property had a fire, their barbeque caught alight and caused some damage to the property. The lessor, when conducting maintenance on a dripping toilet, told us about the situation. And then yelled at us in a threatening manner about how these properties were his, he built them, and how he would not tolerate damage of this nature.

My wife’s father is a mechanic by trade, and on a visit (about 18 months ago) he changed the oil on my car. He is also a farmer and has a disposal barrel for oil and waste on the farm. He took the oil home with him to dispose of carefully, leaving a drip tray next to our bins on the garden bed to be disposed of in the wheelie bin the following week. Our lessor jumped to the conclusion that we had poured the oil in the garden bed. Berating my wife with an abusive and aggressive tone (leaving her close to tears) and refusing to listen to any response. He promised to monitor the trees and extract the money from us if they died. There has been no subsequent apology or acknowledgment that he was incorrect in his assumption.

These standover tactics are uncalled for – and not fitting of the lessor/lessee arrangement. This is just a snapshot of life at <address> and serves to explain the trepidation we feel regarding our bond handover and the disappointment we felt upon receiving your letter dated 15 January 2010. The phone call referred to in paragraph one of the letter included a promise from myself to pay whatever amount is generated by us overstaying our lease by one day. The threat (attributed to the Lessor in the letter) to lodge a claim against us to the Small Claims Tribunal seems unnecessary and heavy handed, as does a threat to tarnish our permanent rental history on his behalf.

While I agree that we were notified on the 26th of the 11th regarding the date for us to hand our keys back there are mitigating circumstances in our request for a one day extension. We are relocating to Brisbane. The removalist we selected after obtaining a series of quotes (which we started doing early in the piece) closed down over the Christmas Period and only reopened last Wednesday. They had not advised us of their ability to collect our belongings on our preferred date (the 25th of January) prior to closing for Christmas – and it was not until last week that we learned they were unable to make the collection until the 27th. We are seeking to do the right thing by our Lessor, and by you, by having the carpets and blinds professionally cleaned after our furniture is removed. This is not possible until the afternoon of the 27th (we have booked both services). I believe a one day extension in this case is not only reasonable but warranted. The refusal, on behalf of the lessor, seems petty. But I would expect no less having lived under his gaze, and spoken to fellow tenants, over the past two years.

Please be advised that if the situation regarding our bond, the Small Claims Tribunal, or our rental history transpires in a less than adequate manner I will be using whatever means I have at my disposal to make our dissatisfaction with the process a matter of the public record. I do not want any future tenants to experience the pain we have without fair warning.

Yours Sincerely,

Nathan Campbell
Corporate Communications Executive
T0wnsvi11e Enterprise Limited

Nice place, going cheap…

Anyone want to rent our Townhouse in January? It looks like the rent will be going up slightly.

Seems our real estate agent has decided that while they’ll make us stay until the end of our lease with the threat of financial penalties if we leave early, they won’t extend us the right to live in our dwelling unhassled until then.

I spoke to someone at the agency yesterday who inquired as to our intentions to renew (at the end of January). I said that at this stage we wouldn’t be renewing. She said “give us two weeks notice when you want out”, I said “fine”… and on the very same day they put a “For Rent” sign outside our place. Two months in advance.

They’ve listed our place online and just told me on the phone that they would appreciate the opportunity for our place to be open for inspection by would be renters.

They probably compulsively google themselves – so I won’t mention them by name until we leave – but for shame real estate agent… for shame.

I will never ever buy a property listed by this company.

Spiderman Strikes Again

David Thorne, from 27bslash6, is up to his old antics once again. This time he’s terrorising a real estate agent. And I think we can all agree that real estate agents deserve it. Particularly because inspections are a pain and their need to come back again and again borders on voyeurism…

So I enjoyed this…

The email exchange after that report begins like this…

From: David Thorne
Date: Wednesday 30 September 2009 6.04pm
To: Peter Williams
Subject: Inspection Report

Dear Peter,
Thankyou for the surprise inspection and invitation to participate in the next. I appreciate you underlining the text at the bottom of the page which I would otherwise have surely mistaken for part of the natural pattern in the paper. I was going to clean the apartment but had so many things on my ‘to do’ list that I decided to treat them all equally and draw pictures of sharks instead. I have attached one for your honest appraisal.

I have read through your list of chores and intend to rectify the situation by wrapping my entire body in eighteen rolls of super absorbent Thick’n’thirsty® paper towels, hosing down the apartment, then rolling around on the floor and rubbing myself up and down walls. I will cover the more stubborn marks with Liquid Paper. I will also get back to you in regards to the premises being inspected in another two weeks, my agreement to do so will depend on availability and not wanting to.

Regards, David.

And it ends like this… read everything in between here. His site contains a fair bit of material that may offend though, so I wouldn’t click around too much if you’re the easily offended type…
From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 02 October 2009 10.36am
To: Peter Williams
Subject: Nom nom nom

Spider man strikes again

David Thorne gained international (or at least internet) notoriety for trying to pay his bill with a drawing of a spider.

So he’s not the kind of guy you should send this sort of letter to. You’re really just asking for trouble…

There’s some pretty funny stuff on his site – but also some not so funny stuff. Be warned.

Here’s a sample from the string of emails he sent to his real estate agent…

“Currently I only have eight dogs but one is expecting puppies and I am very excited by this. I am hoping for a litter of at least ten as this is the number required to participate in dog sled racing. I have read every Jack London novel in preparation and have constructed my own sled from timber I borrowed from the construction site across the road during the night. I have devised a plan which I feel will ensure me taking first place in the next national dog sled championships. For the first year of the puppies life I intend to say the word mush then chase them violently around the apartment while yelling and hitting saucepan lids together. I have estimated that the soundproofing of my apartment should block out at least sixty percent of the noise and the dogs will learn to associate the word mush with great fear so when I yell it on race day, the panic and released adrenaline will spur them on to being winners. I am so confident of this being a foolproof plan that I intend to sell all my furniture the day before the race and bet the proceeds on coming first place.”

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