Rental rip-off

AN Irish business manager who spent four years working in Australia believes local landlords are keeping rent bonds from people on working visas, knowing it’ll be a lot of trouble for them to claw back through the courts.

Patrick Fox had a win of sorts in a recent legal battle, but says he’s heard umpteem complaints from fellow travelers who’ve lost bonds in Perth.

Mr Fox moved into the house in March 2013. A property report prepared by a real estate company listed 99 faults, mostly cobwebs and dust, but he and his three flatmates cleaned it up.

The owners then decided to sell, so the trio’s tenancy was interrupted by home opens. Mr Fox says things dragged on for months, and as the agency became more desperate to sell, he was put under increasing pressure to move out.

When he did vacate to go home to Ireland, he hired a cleaning company recommended by the agent, as well as putting in some elbow grease himself.

Mr Fox says renovators moved in the day he left to sand back the bathroom and kitchen cupboards and fix up a balcony.

“We received no notice that theses works were taking place, with hours of our cleaning efforts wasted,” he told the Herald.  

He was shocked when the agency then withheld his bond, claiming cleaners needed to be sent in.

“I went through the courts but was unable to represent myself on the day due to time difference and no court being open in Ireland at that time,” Mr Fox says.

The tenacious ex-tenant put together his case on paper, and had some luck in the court, getting half his $3300 bond back.

“Had I been able to be present and explain myself I would surely have got more,” he reckons.

Despite the half-win, Mr Fox still hasn’t got his money as the agent has told him it had filed an incorrect form with the bond administrator.

“The money can’t be released according to them until we track down the other lads and get them to fill in a second form,” he says.

Mr Fox says WA’s rental laws are antiquated and need updating. He’s not encountered anything like them anywhere else.

“It really has been a nightmare for me,” he said.

by STEVE GRANT

22 360 Health and Community 10x3

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