Brisbane tenant suing former landlord for $1.2 million

A Brisbane man who claims he sustained serious life-changing injuries when he slipped on a flooded floor is suing his former landlord seeking $1.2 million in what’s set to be a test of the landlord-tenant duty of care relationship.

According to The Courier Mail, Justin Pirc has taken legal action against his former landlords seeking damages for personal injury and loss of income.

It’s alleged that Mr Pirc came home to find his Yarrabilba rental property flooded and claims he “stepped, twisted and lost it” and landed on the floor.

Mr Pirc alleges he had repeatedly contacted his landlords about a rat that had chewed through a pipe which led to the flooding.

He claimed the landlord had attempted to fix the issue but used the wrong materials, which the rat then ate a second time to cause further flooding.

“Absolutely this could have been avoided,” Mr Pirc told The Courier Mail.

Mr Pirc said the incident had left him “commercially unemployable”, and struggling to survive.

“I’ve had significant mental breakdowns, I’m in chronic pain and on pain relief every day. I can’t work and the disability benefits don’t cover much at all,” he said.

“I’ve got a noticeable limp.

“There’s not enough stability that you could call it walking.

“It’s been horrific. I sit in a chair all day. It’s quite depressing.”

According to the statement of claim, Mr Pirc’s right knee was dislocated in the incident and he tore the medial patellofemoral ligament.

He said he had to crawl through the water and contact a friend to call an ambulance through his Xbox as his phone was out of battery charge.

Shine Lawyers, on behalf of Mr Pirc, lodged the claim in the Queensland Supreme Court alleging negligence from the landlords and said tenants are owed a duty of care.

“Justin had made a number of reports about issues within the property, but we allege proper steps weren’t taken to correct these issues before it was too late,” Shine Lawyers Helensvale Legal Practice Manager Jessica Preston told The Courier Mail.

“Justin’s life has been ruined through no fault of his own.

“Had his landlords acted competently to fix the issues he’d raised, he wouldn’t be in this position.”

It’s understood that the tenant-landlord relationship was a private one at the time of the incident and complaints, with no property management agency involved.

When contacted for further comment by Elite Agent, Ms Preston said a tight rental market can contribute to property maintenance issues being overlooked.

“There’s a huge power imbalance between landlords and tenants given the current rental crisis, but that’s no excuse for not properly maintaining rental properties,” she said.

“I’d urge tenants to raise any issues with their landlords or real estate agents as soon as they become aware of them, and keep their own records of any reports they make.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.