Hoping one of the Hubs Real Estate gurus can please help me.
My real estate agent just rang telling me I owe over $2,000 in unpaid rent as a result of a system error on their behalf.
In August, 2011, my rent was increase by $20/week($86.66/month), at the time of signing there where many issues in regards to maintenance and the owner coming and going as they pleased and also discussion of the increase not taking place.
For a few months I was paying he higher rate until I went in one day asking for a total of what I owed and a receipt of what's due etc. It was all at the lower rate, I was actually In front in rent when I believed I should of been behind.
Now this week, September 2013, they have discovered that they simply never put the increase in their system and I owe $2,166!!!
I don't see how I can be liable for their obvious mistake? I've requested rental patent statements, outstanding account etc numerous times these past 25 months, surely they should of picked it up earlier? As my DP said, what would of happened if we'd already moved out?
I will be calling Vcat on Monday (I'm in Victoria) but wondering if anyone can give me any advice until then to ease the stress.
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20-09-2013 16:17 #1
Real Estate Help!
20-09-2013 16:26 #2
wow that would be stressful. I have no adnice other than do not agree to anything until you have sought legal advice.
20-09-2013 16:27 #3
Do you have a signed tenancy agreement with the new amount on it?
I would call Vcat and get there advice. I would go through a mediation before handing over any money!
20-09-2013 16:36 #4
First things first, did they give you a valid notice of the rent increase? I used to be a PM here in NSW, and tenants are entitled to 60 days written notice of a rent increase. If I was to give insufficient notice or there was some other error in the notice, then the tenant wouldn't have to pay it. Also, here, you can't just draw up a new lease at the higher amount, notice still needs to be given.
I'm not sure of the regulations in Vic, but a tribunal member would certainly throw an an agent's claim if the notice was invalid.
Either way, the tribunal is usually a tenant's friend and if you are liable, they would make sure you were given a reasonable time frame and repayment plan. So don't be afraid of using that to your benefit.
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20-09-2013 16:44 #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2013
Wow nice of them to ring you on a Friday afternoon when you can't do anything about it. No advice but I hope you don't worry about it all weekend.
20-09-2013 16:53 #6
Vikki, the notice and lease where written up however it was never entered into their system, therefore I'd being paying the correct amount as per what they told me, now they say as I signed the lease at the higher rate I have the back pay them the different of the past 25 months (lease was signed August 2011).
I just don't see how when I am liable for their mistake when I would of never of let it get this far behind or I'm sure they would of evicted me, surely they can't for this mistake?
And I agree, timing was fantastic!
20-09-2013 16:59 #7
I have no experience sorry, but if you signed a new lease with the higher amount, I'd say they have the right to request it. How frustrating and I hope I'm wrong.
If you have to pay, why don't you try and negotiate a settlement? Say agree to pay half? That's a lot to come up with upfront and it's totally their error. I'd try and push it and enforce the fact they stuffed up. They should be taking some responsibility here too.
20-09-2013 18:44 #8Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
Speak to VCAT, I will chat with one of our property managers and try to come back to you before Monday (I'm in sales so not 100% sure). It's tricky as you resigned the lease at the higher amount so agreed to pay that amount so realistically you should have been paying that amount each month but somewhere along the line it sounds like you started paying the pre increase amount? I suspect you will need to have it heard by VCAT as both parties appear to be somewhat at fault - the agent for not updating their system with the increase and you for paying less than what was agreed upon. Do you have a copy of the rental receipt that showed you were in front? I am really surprised it went on for 2 years, surely the landlord must have checked his statements and seen that the lesser amount was being paid each month? It's a pretty big stuff up and I hope that VCAT make the agent suck it up and reimburse their client. I'll see what I can find out for you
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20-09-2013 19:41 #9
Thanks Lovelymum, see that's my problem, if it was say a few months fine I'd suck it up, but for it to go on for over 2 years! Surely they need to except some responsibility in that fact.
I'm in the process of gathering all my receipts and emails and seeing what I can find. I'd even ask what the exact amount I had to pay each month was numerous times to be told the old amount and therefore paid that, it's not like I underpaid it on purpose.
But yes, they are using the argument that as I signed a lease stating I'd pay the higher amount it was my responsibility to do so, which I was, until the gave me the lower figure!
Ahh, I am so over this real estate agent and property!
20-09-2013 19:57 #10
Was it a two year lease? I fail to see how this has gone on for two years unless you are now on a periodical lease from the one you signed with the increase.
Mummy of Max 2 from donor eggs from my lovely sister.
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