That'll teach you to be greedy, bitch!

We recently moved house after our previous owner decided to increase the rent. We found a terrific new joint, bigger and better and thirty bucks a week cheaper. Gave the appropriate notice, left the place spic and span and waited patiently for our ‘bond’ to be returned (app.$1200).

Next thing we get a notice in the mail claiming damages and an invitation to attend the Tenancy Tribunal: some bubbled paint on a windowsill, a broken window, a kick-arse, huge pile of garden refuse down the backyard and replacement of the Bouganvillia creeper from whence the garden crap originated. Damages bill: app $500. :rolleyes:

So I sent the Agent a letter acknowledging liability for the peeling paint (word of advice folks: don’t leave spray-on stain remover containers on windowsills. It sucks at getting stains out of clothes, but it’s a great paint-stripper :smiley: ), but letting them know that the window did not crack due to any negligence or mishandling on our part, and that the pile of rubbish in the backyard was cuttings from the huge creeper that had to be removed after a violent windstorm hit. The creeper took down a fence and half-pulled off a gate, so The Bloke had to remove the fucker to apply his carpentry skills to fixing it all. I mentioned in the letter that I thought their claims were not only unfounded, but a bit bloody rude, considering.

Y’see, all this is normally the liability of the owner/Agent. We notified them the day after the storm (prior to us fixiing any damage) but the necessary person we needed to speak to was run off her feet attending to other more serious damage to other properties: she’d get back to us ASAP. A week later, The Bloke got sick of waiting and fixed the thing.

So today was Hearing Day at the Tribunal. I spoke with the Agent prior to the official hearing, and she said that while the owner had finally agreed that the cracked window was not our responsibility, we were still up for removal of the garden debris, about $290. When I said, ‘No fucken’ way’ (or words to that effect) she mentioned that underneath the pile of cuttings were some rotting cardboard boxes that also had to be removed. Fuck, I’d forgotten about those. :smack:

I offered the Agent $40 to cover that part of the cost, but she said, ‘No fucken’ way’ (or words to that effect) so we agreed to slug it out in front of the Tribunal.

Ten minutes later I walked out with a big grin and the Agent looked gobsmacked. Not only were all the claims dismissed, the Arbitrator sent a clear message that it’s damned lucky for the owner/Agent they don’t get a bill from me and The Bloke for all the bullshit and carry-on. :wink:

Firstly, you shouldn’t have upped the rent in the first place you greedy bitch: a month on (and we’d paid rent up until just over a week ago even though we moved out and handed back keys in April) and the place still hasn’t got any tenants. Secondly, ya should’ve taken the $40. As it stands, you got nought!


I love stories like this. And I’m a landlady! Idiots like her give the rest of us a bad name.

Good for you. The owner of my place and I have a terrific relationship, but I know many people who have greedy, unreasonable landlords.

Nah, most landlords/owners are reasonable folk who would never have considered taking up the Tribunal (and Agents) time over such frivolities. I really think the owner was just thoroughly pissed-off that we refused to pay the increased rent and found somewhere better to live…and this was her ‘revenge’.

Funny how these things backfire sometimes. :smiley:

I won’t even claim to be a good tenant, but when I moved out of my house in Palo Alto, I made a major league cleaning effort. My landlady said as I left, “Well I’m surprised that the house is in such a nice condition”. A month later, I received a bill for $3000 in damages. Listen you whore, at least look me in the eye and tell me that you are going to butt fuck me. I was 300 miles away and it was difficult to contest, but I just sucked down the lost deposit. I knew what her address was and seriously considered lighting her pink Cadillac on fire (or at least, sugar in the gas tank). Well, she’s dead and rotting in hell now, so what do I care.

This is a great story. I was pinged a couple of times whilst renting. First time was signing the usual contract to have carpets steam-cleaned upon vacating the premises only to find on moving in that the carpets hadn’t been steam-cleaned prior.

Second time was a bit more irritating. Usual carp around moving into a grotty place but leaving it clean (paying for my cleaning lady to spend a day cleaning after we had moved out; wiping light switches, insides of cupboards, walls etc). After three years I had created a neat and clean garden out of the mess that was there beforehand - pruned and fertilised the plants etc etc. So imagine my surprise to get a call from the agent after she had inspected the property and given us a glowing report. Apparently the owner was insisting we remove the “piles of rubbish” from the back yard? Huh? Agent was as baffled as we were. Puzzled we went back round…to find the bstd had crawled underneath the decking (which was only open at one side, through a gap about one metre high) and pulled out years upon years of other people’s rubbish. Some of the stuff was vintage. Gah! Well at that point we wanted our bond back more than we wanted to fight it so we ended up complaining bitterly to the (very understanding) agent but removing the rubbish anyway. It was annoying to be over a barrel like that. A pox on him.

Kambuckta: been there done that. My husband has got the final email that we sent that settled everything. Feel you hon. Real estate agents here… well in Sydney, suck. Owners def. have the market.

Well, not all the time perhaps. :wink:

Way to go, kambuckta! It’s great to see people like that hoist by their own petard. I once had a landlord who was a greedy jerk. I had the second floor apartment in an old rehabbed house. When the first floor tenant moved out, the landlord decided to save money by not heating the first floor. With no insulation between the apartments, it was impossible to keep my apartment comfortable, and the floors were frigid. I complained to the landlord, but he refused to turn on the downstairs heat. So, the weather turns colder, and the pipes freeze in the first floor apartment. I notify the landlord that the water’s off, but the pipes thaw before any repairmen show up. So the landlord has tried to save $80-$100 a month on a natural gas bill, and ends up with repair bills totalling over $5000 (according to the plumber I chatted up). Plus, the tenant he still has (me), has decided to move out at the end of his lease.

At which time, the landlord tries to keep my deposit, claiming I’m responsible for a stain on the carpet by the door and some other minor items. I filed suit against him in small claims court for twice the amount of the deposit, plus my filing fee. I felt pleased when his lawyer contacted me: ha! I made him pay a lawyer! The lawyer finds out I have copies of all the letters I’ve sent the landlord about the stain his repairman left on the carpet, about the broken switch in the kitchen, about all the stuff the landlord was trying to charge me for; now the lawyer is no longer insisting that I’m going to lose the case, he’s trying to negotiate a cheaper settlement. In the end, I settled for 150% of my deposit and waived the filing fee, but I made the lawyer meet me at the bank and pay me in cash, refusing to accept the landlord’s check. (Lawyer: “But, but, his check is good” Me: “Fine. You take his check and give me your cash.”)

I only moved three blocks away and passed the old building daily. Both apartments remained vacant for six months after I moved. Then the building went up for sale. Jerk.

In Australia nowadays, all ‘deposits’ (or bonds, as they’re called) are lodged with a gummint authority on payment, so they’re guaranteed to not bounce when returned.

But you put me to shame 3acresandatruck. Your gumption and gall are something for me to aspire to. :smiley:

My experiences today are but tame stuff: I was really hoping that the agent would put up a bit of a fight so that I could let fly with all the other ammunition I had stored, eg, the eight weeks without heating during the coldest spell that Melbourne had experienced in 60 yrs or summat.

Silly old bint didn’t argue with the Arbitrator though, so I was just left with a feeling of sweet success. Maybe next time??


Man I love stories like this where the little guy wins in the end. Too often it’s always the shitty landlords that stick it to us. Glad to hear that every now and then, we can come out ahead. Good on you guys.


Yeah, I keep copies of all the letters too, and I don’t do anything verbally - it’s all documented. And since digital photography came along, it’s a matter of five minutes to burn photos of the apartment after cleaning onto a CD and drop that off along with the keys, just so they know I’ve got 'em.

Today was my first ever experience with the Tribunal. Asking some questions of the clerks at the court, and even the very Agent I was challenging, I heard that only one in fifty tenants have the nerve/time/energy to attend and thus defend the claims made against them. Any fucken’ wonder the Landlord/Agents feel they have the upper hand. :frowning:

Just remember folks…these people who own or manage our lodgings are most likely fuckwits who just happen to have a bit of dosh to invest in rental properties, or worse, have paid vast sums themselves to become Estate Agents…about three rungs down from Used Car Salesmen and Lawyers. :smiley:

When you keep those thoughts in mind, not accepting their ‘claims’ at face-value becomes somewhat easier I’ve found. Argue with them, and they flounder.

Just my two-bobs worth for today!

Good to hear your story. Last week I visited a few friends who were graduating, and about to move out in a few days. The landlord came by to lock the door leading to one of the bedrooms, since a new person was coming by later to rent the house and was going to be in the bedroom. Apparently the landlord forgot that the bathroom also has a second door that leads to that bedroom. So after the landlord left, they got into the room and used it to store boxes.

So yeah, the landlord in this case wasn’t a jerk - but not very smart either. :smiley:

It took me three tries to read that correctly. :eek:

Great story, kam.

(BTW, I’ve met kambuckta and she is fucking SCARY. :smiley: )

My situation is a fair bit different - for the first time in my life, I’ve got a landlord who is NICE. A clean-cut young policeman and his pretty, young wife, with a bouncing baby boy, all living in a neat, whitewashed cute cottage (with evil ME livig down the side, but let’s not mention that).

Anyway, he didn’t charge me ANY bond (because I’d gone through a messy separation and was broke at the time), so I feel I owe him. He or his wife just pop over with things like gifts of fresh apricots or whatever. And that’s lovely - but it means the house always has to be shipshape. And I have a different sense of privacy to them (I am a grumpy misanthrope versus their sweet young couple-ness).

So sometimes I miss my distant, callous landlords. At least they had to give the minimum notice of inspection, etc.

Terrific tale - glad you stuck to your guns!

The only “attempted extortion” story I have with a security deposit was in the early 1990s. I rented an apartment in Manhattan, while on a long-term project in the city. I requested (and received) explicit permission in the lease, to transfer “ownership” to a colleague on the project, if I should happen to leave the project and return home before the 12 month lease was up.

So about 6 months later, I wound up moving back home and a colleague took over the apartment. Proper notice etc., they had zero marketing expenses, didn’t lose a day’s rent, no cleaning expenses as you’d expect with a normal lease end / rent to new tenant process… basically it took someone an hour to make a copy of the lease, put the other fellow’s name on it instead of mine, change a date, and collect a new deposit.

6 weeks later, I still had no deposit. I phoned them. The lady rather bitchily said “well, you did terminate your lease early”. I calmly pointed out the lease clause. She said “oh”. I had my money back a week later.

I had a psycho landlord that only gave us 30% of our deposit, even though the place was in better condition than when I rented it (I even caulked the bathtub!) Luckily, I had saved the receipts, and went to court. The judge found that I should receive 90% of my deposit, and that the deposit should have garnered interest for the 3 years I lived there. So she sent it.

Only, she failed to subtract the 30% she had already given me! SO I got 120% of my deposit and interest because she was greedy!

My friend and I had a landlady keep part of our deposit because, among a couple other minor things, we hadn’t cleaned under the refrigerator. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: