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Old 08-10-2007, 07:40 PM   #1
Susan P.
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Rental and agency frustrations
In many ways I need to vent. I know a few of you have experienced on-going or major rental issues. I'm going through a second round of this and feel completely fed up and am looking for some solace and perhaps answers.

I've lived in a current place for two months. Early in the tenancy I provided a list of items that needed repair. One was a large ceiling hole (I don't want vermin and I don't want problems heating the room). One is a dryer than either won't turn off or will only work for 4 min intervals. Another is a leaking tap that leaks all across a vanity, down onto the floor and prevents me from having a washing machine there because of the possibility of water damage and shorts etc.

I've been requesting these issues be resolved for two months and finally resolved one of the major ones myself - at no cost to the owner - all the agency had to do was to make contact with someone and it would all be fixed. But they still didn't act and so I stepped up and sent a letter to the principal of the business via email. When yesterday a tradesperson did not turn up after making an appointment I emailed a property manager and cc'd this principal.

I have now received an email asking me to take him off my emails. No comment, no communication, aside from this.

I find this a VERY wanting approach. I have asked my son to intervene because I know that, unfortunately, sometimes men will only respond to other men. I also believe I'm now being construed as a problem client when in fact they have created the problems.

It's always hard to know what to do in these cases. Do you step it up? Insist on a personal meeting? Write an open letter to everyone concerned? Pull your head in and just call service people yourself and ask them to invoice the agency and try to get it resolved that way - more covertly?

I've had to go through a whole rental tribunal issue before and although I won, these things take a toll on you. I have major knee issues and stress does tend to make this worse so I work to resolve and have no motivation to cause problems unnecessarily. How do I achieve peace, have the issues resolved and lead these agency people to accept I am not the problem here; their poor service is.

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Old 08-10-2007, 07:52 PM   #2
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CAn't really give you a decent advice, 'cause the countries and the order of things are different, but i do hope you can solve this out Hang on! I myself had a fight today with a neighbor about planting something in the yard...
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Old 08-10-2007, 08:03 PM   #3
Susan P.
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Here you can go to a rental tribunal if issues are not resolved to your satisfaction however you really must make every effort to try and sort it out first. I was wanting tactics/ideas I guess more to lead the agency to recognise this is THEIR issue and that *I* am not the baddie here. I think having been patient for several weeks was more than fair. Would any of them accept a hole like that or no dryer and so on? Of course not..but they're not seeing it that way.

I could request mediation but again I'm looking for a psychological tactic i think.

But thanks so much for the response. I'm sitting here feeling distressed at one of those tummy places..you know? You KNOW you can deal with the practical issues as such..but part of you feels like it's being dragged across a stony beach just the same.
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:16 AM   #4
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I'm not one for sticking my head out on things since I suffer from SAD, but if you were promised by the agency and/or property owner that these things would be fixed, I'd keep sending the e-mails. Here you have a "reasonable" time limit to fix things if you had them listed in the renters agreement to be fixed. If they weren't, then you have to keep proof of initial contact time and then they are given a certain amount of time to fix it. Usually it winds up in the courts because the tennant had to pay and sues the owner for compensation.
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:58 PM   #5
iza
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Seriously I would tell that guy "I will take you off the emails once my problems are solved. If you don't want to receive emails, you know what to do".

Maybe a question you could ask is how are you supposed to handle the problem. You can list everything you did to try to resolve it, and tell them that perhaps you don't know the correct procedure. Generally it becomes clear that you KNOW very well the correct procedure, they're just too incompetent to actually do what they're paid to do. I tried that at my university, and it worked. The secretary had to agree with me that I did everything I could, and that the only thing left to do was for her to do her job properly.

Good luck! I've been renting for many years and had both good and bad experiences. I know how these things can be stressful.
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Old 08-11-2007, 02:28 PM   #6
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sheesh. Is there a watchdog agency that you can bring into this? In the US, those who perform poor business practice are publicly humiliated into making things right. I'd send an e-mail to one or twelve of those and blind-copy the principal (for the final time) who's too busy to be bothered. Don't copy him again after that, as he or she will be very curious to know your results.

It doesn't sound as though you're being unreasonable. Do the terms of your lease stipulate that these items are to be in working order during your tenancy? If they do, then shout from the rooftops if you have to. If they don't, then I'd count it up to a lesson learned and move somewhere else. The hole in the ceiling is potentially a health risk. If moving is out of the question, do not hesitate to appeal for intervention.
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:07 PM   #7
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Email again and let them know that you expect it fixed(give a date)and if not, that you can or will have the repairs done and that you then will deduct the expenses for it from your rent payments.
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:01 PM   #8
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If you do as clb1968 said, keep all receipts (you have to show where you made repairs if you deduct the cost from the rent). Also keep all communications that you have sent. Another way to document how you have tried to resolve the problems is to send letters so that the receiving party has to sign for them. Have you tried to talk to a lawyer? (free at most community centers)
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:36 PM   #9
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Be extremely careful about not giving full rent. It depends on the countries/provinces/states, but here if you do that, you will automatically lose in court. The most important thing is to follow the law and the procedures very carefully. But since you went to a tribunal already for rent issues, I suppose you know all this already!
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:59 PM   #10
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Hi all and thanks so much for your comments. I have a few responses. I have found..never..never..short change your rent. I am ahead in rent and will remain so. Here, the owner can have dumped a sewerage truckload on your front lawn but if you are behind in rent or have held some back the tribunal will not rule in your favour. IF you are properly paid up then they will rule for you. However, you can claim part of rent back for not having been able to utilise the place properly. I have done that once before. I claimed, pro rata, a day a week across ten weeks and was awarded.

In my current case, I had sent a letter to the agent and the principal a week prior. I outlined the length of time that had transpired since I first notified about the issues, the list of issues, how I had largely resolved the ceiling hole myself and was disappointed that the agency had not simply made the formal request required of Strata. I ended on an understanding note saying that I knew my own agent had been ill for a week and that whilst I sympathised with that, I felt two months were adequate. I also said that if the dryer was not fixed I would call a repairperson myself and have the agency invoiced.

Nothing. However, I rang Strata and found the agency had indeed made the formal request for the hole to be repaired.

The trouble is with the dryer that here a service person will not simply accept my word re invoicing and will need the agency permission and agreement. I can only try and force this along by asking a repairman to call them but they may and they may not. Guys around here don't need work, they have more than enough.

On this matter the owner is being painful. They feel the dryer 'works' and I'm saying it does not work. Ok, if you put the dryer on say '90' it churns and churns and does not move on the dial. I found that out the hard way after it cooked an item. If you put it on 60 or 30 it lasts 4min and stops. You have to keep going back and forward for 4min intervals. In my view this is not working and it makes a loud bang when it starts. The owner says it 'works'. Now, as my son said, if its the owner that's the problem on this the agency needs to communicate and resolve it between parties. But last I was told..5 weeks ago..a repair person would come. Nothing.

Here our own real consumer voice is Dept of Fair Trading and yes, if I had to, I could go to them and arrange a Tribunal hearing. It is just so much agony and SO time consuming. You have to complete letters and so on. I had to do this once before and swore never again unless absolutely necessary - but I agree this is becoming necessary.

I DO agree that when I was chipped on the email thing I should have said..as suggested..I will stop emailing you when you resolve this. I didn't because I could see that him hearing about a tradesperson not turning up was small cheese in his world and I felt a little apologetic. In this instance I was being too nice perhaps. I am also mindful tho that if you DO go to the Tribunal that anything you write is seen by others.

To be honest, my son and I were surprised at his email because that would not be a good look to the Tribunal. He should be more experienced than that.

What concerns me as a consumer is that we really have no redress here against unprofessional behaviour of an agency. Wording about this DOES exist with Fair Trading but they are very unresponsive to the issues. They will chase an agent up a little but they feel these kinds of cases are not the BAD cases.

I will call a dryer person tomorrow and hope that may get the ball rolling on that matter. Then there is really only one which is the badly leaking tap. I should say, the ceiling hole is a nuisance because it is above where the fridge is. My dining table has to be moved. My fridge has to be moved and so on. It's not a small issue.

But what I hate as much as the issues, is that being assertive and firm equates you as being a pain in the posterior. I dislike this more than I can say.

Thanks again everything and sorry for long rave.
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