Gold Coast real estate agency ordered to compensate tenants for property maintenance issues

A Gold Coast real estate agency has been instructed to pay substantial compensation to tenants of a prestigious rental property due to its failure to address multiple maintenance issues, including water damage and electrical faults.

The tenants, who paid $1350 per week, submitted notices to remedy breaches at the residence, highlighting concerns such as a large hole in the property’s jetty, water damage to the ceilings, electrical faults, and an improperly installed dishwasher, according to The Courier Mail.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) recently issued a decision that found the agency responsible for failing to rectify the identified problems within the specified timeframes.

Some of the damage remained unresolved even after the tenants had moved out.

The agency also attempted to charge the tenants more than $4000 in break lease fees and additional rent, despite the tribunal determining that the agency itself had breached the tenancy agreement.

As a result of QCAT’s ruling in favour of the two tenants, the Gold Coast agency has been ordered to pay $3875.50 in compensation and refund $4953 of the renters’ bond.

The tribunal said the tenants entered into a one-year fixed agreement in March last year and paid a $5400 bond for the property, which has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an in-ground swimming pool, ducted air conditioning, a jetty, and a pontoon.

The tenants submitted their first notice to remedy breaches in August, expressing their concerns about the property’s safety and the property manager’s failure to address repairs promptly.

Among the issues mentioned were a protruding dishwasher that posed a flooding risk, water damage to the ceilings, a dangerous hole in the jetty’s runway, and torn carpeting causing a tripping hazard.

The tenants requested the issues be rectified by August 19 but, in October, they issued another notice as the water damage and jetty issues remained unresolved.

The tenants also reported electrical problems, such as tripping lights and asked that the problems be fixed by October 27.

With the issue still unresolved, the tenants gave the agency a notice of intention to leave on November 27 and vacated the property on December 5.

In its defence and counterclaim, the agency said it had arranged repairs promptly and blamed delays on not being able to secure tradespeople.

The agency contended that the jetty was fixed on November 23 and alleged that it had offered early termination of the tenancy in September, which the tenants declined.

However, QCAT adjudicator Hugh Scott-Mackenzie said evidence presented during the proceedings revealed the agency did not obtain repair quotes until shortly before the tenants vacated, leading the adjudicator to conclude that the delay in addressing the issues could not be attributed to the unavailability of tradespersons.

While the tenants sought $20,113 in compensation, the adjudicator awarded $3875.50, including $2,317.60 for the ceiling damage, $1,327.10 for the jetty issues, and $230.80 for the lighting problems.

Additionally, the tenants were refunded $4,953.83 of their bond, with an uncontested $206 for water use returned to the agent, along with a disputed $240 fee for pet odour treatment to the property.

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