B2’s New Digs

Towards the end of March, Mr D moved B2 to a new place. The last house only had a 3 month lease (as it’s about to be demolished and replaced with two new houses) so we could make sure B2 was happy living on his own. It also gave B2 a chance to develop a rental history. 3 months, of course, went in a flash.

Anyway, the new place is a quite a bit smaller (not a bad thing) and is still close to work and the station for TAFE days. B2 commented the other day that he now a piece of furniture in every room.

On Monday (30th March) I headed to Sydney to help B2 finish the tidy up on the old place (whipper snipper, weeds etc) and start the clean on the next one. The new rental house itself is perfect for B2 however it was putrid! So bad in fact, nothing could be put away in the kitchen until everything had been scrubbed. B2 and I went out and bought the next size up in the Spray and Wipe. I worked on it for nearly 2 days. Oh, and did I mention the mouse shit and cockroach debris everywhere? PUTRID! The side fence had also fallen down meaning that there was no access down the driveway. The fence is still down only B2 has now moved it out of the way.

To make matters worse, the condition report listed most of the house as being clean. The owner of this house should be appalled. The lesson in all of this is to make sure you go through the condition report with a fine tooth comb.

When we moved to Cooma in 2005, a position for a Property Manager with LJ Hooker came up through a friend of a friend. Of course I took the opportunity. Jobs in small towns are not so easy to come by. I did it for 12 months and hated almost every minute of it. I inherited a bunch of problem tenants and spent a lot of time going to tribunal as a result. It is a thankless job and the pay is lousy. I don’t think much has changed in 10 years. Regardless of how bad it was, I gave it 110% and I had a great relationship with most of my landlords (unfortunately some landlords couldn’t tell the difference between normal wear and tear and deliberate damage) and tenants and for the most part it all went smoothly.

The hardest part of this job was living in a small town. Mr D and I couldn’t go out on a Saturday night without tenants approaching me to tell me they’d be in on Monday to pay their grossly overdue rent (no problems affording a beer at the pub and they would never come in on Monday) or to tell me there’s a problem with the front door screen handle (because you know these things always become urgent on a Saturday night when you’re at the pub).

The biggest and most important part of the job, after checking tenant references, was the condition report. The evidence. Most of the houses in Cooma back then were old so it used to take me hours to complete one because I would go over the property with a fine tooth comb. I also took a lot of photos and this was before digital photography became popular. It was tough enforcing the condition report when the tenants moved out (especially the difficult tenants) however I answered to the Landlord, not the tenant. I came to be affectionately known as ‘that bitch from Hookers’.

Anyway, this was the year that my Mother passed away. I took a week off to attend the funeral and to help pack up her house. While I was away, the Sales Manager put tenants into a property in a very quiet street in Cooma North. He did NOT check references, he just had a good feeling about them. He also knew the owner was overseas and would need a tenant fairly urgently.

In the week I was away, complaints had already started to pour in about the noise (parties, breaking glass) and the rubbish that could be seen from the front of the house. The police were called several times.These tenants were my worst nightmare. They paid the two weeks rent in advance and never paid another cent. After many visits to tribunal (me, NOT the Sales Manager) over many months (the whole time no rent is being paid), they finally moved out. I couldn’t believe the damage. Broken windows, broken clothesline, cigarette burns in the carpet, filthy….the list goes on. The bond didn’t come close to covering the damage that had been done. It didn’t make it better however the owner had insurance that covered the rest of the repair work needed.

Not long after this, I walked away from the job. I was employed as a casual despite working full-time so there was no obligation to give notice. I just walked out and didn’t look back. When you start the day crying in the shower you know it’s time.

What’s the point here? Condition reports? Do I think that real estates complete condition reports knowing that the majority of tenants won’t even look at them? Were all of the feelings dredged up from my time as a property manager and all of the other stuff that went on that year?

I have revisited this post a couple of times and it has been toned down quite considerably however, as mentioned in the March Madness post, this is the soap box edition as promised!

B2 is happy, that is the main thing!

Got something to soap box about?

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