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This story comes from Laetitia Pearce of Home Specialist Property Management, who shares the key lessons she learned during a vacate inspection.
- Be clear and lay out the terms and conditions of the property in writing
- Have a consistent balance between both verbal and written communication with your tenants.
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Hi, my name is Laetitia, and I am from Home Specialist Property Management, and this is my story.
I had a tenant whose first language was not English, so there was a little bit of miscommunication in terms of English. Everything throughout the tenancy was absolutely perfect. Rent was always paid on time, routines were immaculate.
It came time to them vacating. I obviously sent out the vacate pack with what they needed to do. He came into the office, returned the keys, gave me a hug, said good bye and said, “Thanks for everything.”
I then went to that apartment that afternoon to do the vacate inspection. Now the place that he lived at was in a unit complex.
As soon as the doors opened to the lift, I just got this whopping smell. It was horrendous. I thought to myself at that moment, “I hope that’s not coming from my unit.” Opened the door, fair enough, the smell was coming from my unit.
I could not pinpoint what the smell was. It was vomit-worthy. It was very bad. I got down on my hands and knees. I smelt the carpet, and the smell was coming from the carpet. I looked throughout the whole unit. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was. Where it was coming from.
I stood in the kitchen and I looked back into the lounge room, and I saw a large water mark. So instantly I thought, “We’ve had a water leak in here.” Being a Strata complex, the wall where I thought it was coming from was a common property wall.
So I raced back to the office, I called Strata, Strata said that they would get their plumber to contact me. The plumber’s response to me was, “There’s been no water leak in the carpet and I can tell you exactly what happened.”
The plumbers had to go and fix the shower that was leaking in the unit. They gained access and they saw the tenant pouring buckets of water onto the carpet and mopping it through.
I called the tenant and asked him if he did, in fact, mop the carpets, and his response was, “Yes.” I asked him why he did that, and he said he had organised the carpets to be professionally cleaned but he thought they didn’t do a good enough job and he wanted it to be perfect for the next tenants moving in, who he actually knew.
So he decided to mop the carpets. To be perfectly honest, I know it did come from the goodness of his heart, unfortunately, it just did destroy the carpets.
I called the landlord, obviously explained to her what happened. Explained that we would need to do an insurance claim for her to get new carpets laid, and that we would have to take the tenant to tribunal to pay for a portion of that.
It then came to tribunal and the tenant obviously had his own version of the story where he did also write down that he did mop the carpets. Looking at the member’s face that day, I could tell that she was just as shocked as I was. Look, it all got rectified. The tenant had to pay a portion of the carpets.
I guess I would probably maybe put a few more things in writing for that tenant as his first language was not English, just so there was no miscommunication, everything was clear, and I would probably write, “Do not mop the carpets.”
I felt so bad for the tenant. He was so lovely, but yeah, he just, he thought he was doing the right thing.