Wow. So much for paying professionals…

Man, I’ve dealt with some BS in my near decade of renting, but this has pushed me over the edge. Did I say agencies are better than private landlords? Whoops. I take that back.

That’s twice now the property manager has been an absolute twat upon moving out.

Last time around, dealing with them was a breeze throughout the entire tenancy … until our last afternoon. It was literally the day before we flew out of the country, leaving for 6 months. We waited, shivering, in our garage, as the rain started coming down, for the PM to show up for final inspection. Numerous calls to his phone went unanswered. Finally we gave up, placed the keys in the house and left. First thing in the morning, he starts trying to get in touch asking what happened – useless much? No, we are literally leaving the country TONIGHT, we do not have time to come back for a walkthrough – you will have to do it without us. We didn’t get our bond back until we returned to NZ, either – he never sent through the paperwork to me and I had to chase him for it when we came back to the country.

This time around, it was with an even bigger (and thus, ostensibly more professional) agency. Alas, they turned out to be douchebags pretty early on, and every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it kept building until move-out. These guys instruct you to drop off the keys at the office, and then do the final inspection on their own rather than going through the house with you in person. Two days later we heard from them – outlining an absolute litany of basic complaints about cleaning. (The legal requirement is to leave a property ‘reasonably clean and tidy’, which translated to a pretty grey area. However, I can tell you never had an issue at ANY of the many places we’ve lived. We know how to mop a floor and scrub a shower.) They also conveniently ‘forgot’ that they had sold us the fridge upon move-in (for owner had wanted to get rid of it, probably as it was getting older) and more or less accused us of stealing it. Oh, and I’m not even going to go into the dramas they caused in trying to force us to move out earlier than our planned date.

I’ve been thinking a lot about power, and the imbalance of it in the renting market. I’ve already been incredibly stressed out for months on end, and this whole situation with the house has basically doubled my stress levels since the start of the year. I made the decision early on that my priority was getting the hell out of here with as little headache as possible, while knowing the agency was highly likely to make it a hassle based on their behaviour to date.

So often it’s a question of where you can afford the time/money to pursue a conflict. For example, they insisted on going ahead with hiring a cleaner anyway (end result: splitting the bill). As another example: it’s actually unlawful to have a clause in a lease requiring carpet cleaning at the end of the tenancy. However you’ll find these in many, many contracts. I know I have, and gone along with it because in a tight market it’s a miracle if you can get approved for a place at all.

And for bigger stuff … Do you really want to jeopardise your chances of ever getting another place to live, if you take something to the Tenancy Tribunal and have that associated with your name as public record (no matter what the result)?

Cannot wait to be off the renting hamster wheel.

4 thoughts on “Wow. So much for paying professionals…

  • Reply Sense March 21, 2015 at 01:09

    That is ridiculous! I’m seriously pissed off on your behalf. I really hate bullies–that is how I feel most LL’s/agencies are in this town. They know they have the power, so they just abuse it with no conscience. I really, really hate that kind of behaviour. (Also those GD letting fees + GST. GRRRRR.)

    Crossed fingers that your next LL is one of those rare reasonable and responsive people. I’ve had very good luck (twice lucky off of trademe!) so they ARE out there. 🙂

    Case in point: current LL raced to drive from the Coromandel to us before the “typhoon” struck–despite us saying we were OK for a few days–to drop off a swipe card as one of ours is only working sporadically. What a star.

    Good luck to you, hope you find someone as awesome!!

  • Reply dee March 21, 2015 at 14:04

    I think there should be a website rating landlords…or in this case rental agencies. We have it for other services so why not these? I prefer private landlords than agencies (and i rent plus have rented my own home so i’ve some stories from both sides of using them!). I only found out recently about the carpet cleaning! I had two tenancies like that and i paid not knowing any better. I’m currently moving and i’m really scared about my landlord and what she will do to the bond – she is elderly and forgetful and i’m certain she’s going to ‘forget’ some things in the 4.5 years we’ve been here and charge us for it, like the old bath that is cleaner than when we moved in but still horribly stained…. and how it’s the original curtains that are hanging now not the $200 custom made ones i paid for that actually fit the window and aren’t see through…ugh.

  • Reply Rhonda Albom March 21, 2015 at 19:56

    I guess we have been really lucky. We have rented here (actually, on the South Island) five times, and never had any trouble. We own our home in Auckland, and now use it for home exchanges when we travel. It’s a good system.

    Sorry to read about your troubles. Sounds like a nightmare.

  • Reply Linda March 23, 2015 at 05:50

    One of my friends who has been a renter all her life says she just expects to never get her security deposit (bond) back.

    My main concern with renting is having to move when I may not really want to or be ready for it. But my situation may be unique since I know the landlords/owners will want to live in this house eventually (which is as soon as they can get stuff sorted out in their family and professional lives).

    I like it here, and even though the rent is going up already (I’m on a month-to-month contract and stuff can change more frequently than once a year) it’s still a fair price for a very nice place.

    I hope you get some stress relief soon, and that your new place is comfortable for you.

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