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Ask Deborah Awyzio Your Own Question
Deborah Awyzio
Deborah Awyzio, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 863
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (QUT), BIT (QUT), Family Law Accredited Specialist, over 12 years experience
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I have a tenant that just moved out of my rental property

Customer Question

I have a tenant that just moved out of my rental property and has that threaten to take me to court because he believes there were items that were repaired satisfactorily. The claims to have seeked legal advice and claims he is entitled to a compensation figure close to $11,000.
He claims that he does not want to pursue this but only wants his vacating rent ($642) to be waived and bond ($1608) to be return.
My property manager did indicate that i was willing to do this as long as he does not pursue any further compensation later on.
He has replied in email that the above was all he was seeking and that he would not pursue any further compensation. My property manager sent him a letter outlining the contents of his email but he has refused to sign it. He was only willing to sign it after he sought legal advice and is making me pay for his fees.
So is this email the tenant has sent enough or do we need something more formalised (signed letter)?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise Please understand this is not legal advise but a guide to assist you.

Do you have details of the issues and anything in writing from the tenant to the agent? Did the agent advise you of these issues?

Why did the agent make these admissions? Did you instruct him to do this?

What is the agreement reached?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One issue was that the hot water unit was broken and i had organised and got an equivalant one replaced within a day but later on they claimed that it was supplying less than half the amount of hot water than it use to.Another issue was that there was mould on the ceiling of the bathroom which i had no knowledge of. I later found out that it was reported to the agent during the inspection but then they failed to give me the inspection report or notify me.I had spoken to the agent regarding waiving of the vacating rent and returning the bond. I told him that i would most likely go down this path but just had concerns that they might still take me to VCAT. I did not realise that the agent actually sent email to the tenant telling him this.So the agreement is that the vacating rent was to be waived and the bond returned. All i wanted was to have it in an letter and have him sign it but he refused to sign. He says that he believes that his confirmation email saying that he will not pursue the matter in the future is enough.That is where we stand at the moment.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

If you replaced it with the same type and size then you have complied. When they complained did you have it checked to make sure it was not faulty?

If they tenant has agreed to this then you ned to get a red of release prepared where you do not make any admissions but both parties agree that the matter is settled and you part ways. You will give them back their bond and what ever else you agree and they will not sue.

The deed has to be in details setting out the period of the lease etc. and what the tenant say the issues are.

If both of you sign it then it can be used against the tenant to void any action.

I hope this makes sense?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did replaced the same type but size i was told was a fraction smaller but it was the most equivalent. I did get it check out afterwards and made sure it wasnt faulty.I'm guessing this deed needs to be signed. My question is what happens if they refuse to sign? They have already said that they want us to for their legal fees to get any documents read by their lawyer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We i say got it checked out afterwards i mean i asked the plumber to go out and check it. I do have the sms trail with the plumber asking him to check it out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
emails sent from the tenant confirming that all they are seeking is waiving of the vacating rent, bond return and that they will not pursue further compensation will not hold up in court?
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

If they refuse to sign then you do not have an agreement and if they decide to sue you then you have to defend it.

Emails can be used to show that there was a discussion and if in the email they agree to this you can use them to say there is an agreement.

But having said that if you have done what you are supposed to then you would be found not liable to pay them anything.

I hope this makes sense?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it makes sense.I have already sent the agents 2 emails stating clearing stating that they will not seek further compensation and then sent a third email to confirm again.He refuses to sign anything unless i pay for his legal fees (which i refuse to pay) so i guess i have no choice but to hang onto all the documentation and emails i have for any potential defence if needed.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Afternoon,

What are his legal fees?

Have you been sent a bill?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No i have not.He says that he will not sign anything unless it has been viewed by his lawyer and i cover the costs.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Which i don't understand why i need to be covering those costs.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

You have to get them to provide you with an idea as to costs.

You should not agree to legal costs.

You ask them to provide you with an estimate from the solicitor but you are not agreeing to the costs

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. i do not want to get any estimate costs because i HAVE NOT and WILL NOT agree to paying any legal fees for him.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

'Well then you have to press on with each party pay their own legal costs.

Send them the Deed of Release as per the agreement in the emails and then rely on all that if they take you to court.

Also prepare your case by getting details from the agent as to the complaints and getting evidence together as to what you have done to meet the complaints and your compliance with the Lease.

If they have breached the lease also get ready to lodge a counter claim.

This is your position and you stick to it. VCAT will not find against you if you have complied.

I hope this makes sense?