The Joy of Renting


About a week before I was due to go on holiday I received a phone call.

“Hello Sue, my name is Nadia and I’d like to arrange a meeting to talk to you about selling the house”.   After 2 years of renting, this was how we found out that the landlady had decided to put the house up for auction!

Since that call we have had nothing but trouble.  Nadia did not turn up for the initial meeting (which I left work early for), correction she did turn up, put a ‘For Auction’ sign up on the fence, got in the car and drove off without even a  knock on the door tell us what she was doing or to cancel the meeting.    When I rang to complain she tried to tell me that I’d got the date wrong then tried to rearranged the meeting for the bank holiday Monday.

“You do realise that Monday is a public holiday?” I asked

“Oh” she twittered ” I wondered why I had no appointments that day” !!!!!!!!!!!

We finally met, discussed and agreed viewing times (every week for a month and 2 x  a month Saturday and Sunday),  the auction date and a 10.00am meeting the day after we came back from Tasmania, for someone to measure the property and make a floor plan.  I figured that if they came early I could unpack the car, wash the tent, do laundry, shop for food etc etc  later in the day.

“When you come back we will organise the auction board and photographs” she said and  tottered off in her high heels marking the wooden floor boards as she went.

After the holiday in Tassie with no internet access or phone coverage I checked my emails – she had only confirmed the date of the first viewing and a 1.00 appointment for the photographer to come around that day.  I rang her up.

“We agreed 10.ooam not 1.00pm – and I thought it was a person measuring for a plan.” I said – She emailed me back saying she had rearranged for the next day but could not give me a time.   Now we had plans for both days as it was my birthday and had taken holiday to enjoy ourselves not wait around for photographers, measureres etc.  I emailed her back – ” Sorry this is inconvenient, but we are available on Thursday and Friday after work at 4.30″.

What followed next was a string of abusive emails from her telling me that I was being obstructive.  I emailed back and told her she had every right to give me 24 hours notice, use keys she could get from the landlady  and come into the house. The return email  threatened me with legal action and changing the locks.  Then I received a phone call from our letting manager

“Why are you not allowing her access?” she asked.   I sent her the emails, and all the agreed dates with a detailed explanation.   I then told her that if this behaviour continued I would request a rent reduction, or get a restraining order if Nadia even thought of coming into the house without giving 24 hour notice in writing or call the police if she attempted to change the locks without following the correct procedures through the court  (as you can probably tell I had taken legal advice by then).

Things calmed down until the first viewing went ahead.  Guarding our possessions, because they don’t provide extra staff to do that as people walk around,  we happened to check the internet advert for the house.

“I see you have changed the viewing time for next week” Mitch said to Nadia  At this point she more or less called him a liar.  He showed her the screen and there was the advert stating that viewing time for the next week was  1.5 hours long at 12.00.

“That’s wrong” she said and started making phone calls.

Then we read the auction board again and realised that she had also changed the auction time – I’m not quite sure how we missed this as it dwarfs the property.   The board also showed any would be burglars our possessions and any nosey neighbours how much rent we pay (how considerate of them).    But that is not all, according to the blurb I currently live in  a 3 bedroom house with a car parking space (the equivalent of gold dust in this area).     Amazing,  for 2 years I have resided in a house and not  realised that the car would fit into the half meter wide side entrance and that I have an invisible room – just like Hogwarts in Harry Potter series (the room of necessity).    Of course I realise that I wouldn’t know about it until I was in real need and obviously the amount of times I’ve cursed about the lack of space/storage was not cause enough to make it appear.      Still I hope that it will show up when we are given notice to leave as at that point I may well need somewhere to  live.

65 thoughts on “The Joy of Renting

  1. The first house I rented in Aus was fine. The agency was a bit upity but not like that estate agent. I had the same problem though with them putting a sign up showing my stuff for all would be thieves. I also found it really stressful having people going through my house with no one watching them. I refused to leave while the showings were on. They won’t cover any loss or damage yet pressure you into being out during viewing times. The house I’m in now, the agency has changed from the original one and the second agent was quite nasty the first time she came. She didn’t take her shoes off the first time despite the clear indication no shoes are worn in the house (The row of shoes in the entry on the mat and me in my socks obviously wasn’t a clear enough message). Fingers crossed all goes well for you!

  2. I wish you better luck on this but truly sympathize. Once, I went through this twice in a two-year period because the owners decided to or had to sell their homes. It is very frustrating and I was glad to find an apartment complex to live in rather than renting from owners.

  3. Grrrrrr! my daughter had quite a few ding dongs with the ‘not so professionals’ during a rental period when she was also pregnant, and then subsequently a first time mother of a very premature baby, and her partner working away for months at a time. I could have throttled them for being so damn rude and inconsiderate to her during that time, whilst they were also happily taking an overinflated rent off therm. They were despicable to her, and she endured weeks of short notice inspections and viewings at a time when she could have really done without it, but thankfully her latest rental agents are fabulous and go above and beyond the call of duty. Rentees often seem to get treated like rubbish in Australia and yet they are a much more significant sector of the housing market than in the UK.

    • I think the problem is that we do have rights but don’t like to use them – VCAT is an option but it is very sreessful and not very nice – I feel for your daughter

  4. I can’t believe they put a board up outside your home with a picture of the inside of your home. It’s your home, not just a house for sale. Shocking – renters are not important ? Hope things get better soon. Katie

  5. I personal hate estate agents – everything is going to happen on their terms. Feel so sorry for you and the situation – why couldn’t the landlady tell you herself that she had plans to sell … pretty poor too. I rented privately when I lived in UK, but 3 months’ notice on both parts by law. I would look for somewhere else to live so soon as possible .. and leave the house – and maybe she will sit there with an unsold property, because it will come to a sale soon or later.
    Terrible situation to be in – and it has been handled very poor and badly. Good luck hunting … and please keep us posted.

    • Thanks Viveka, You now I understand wanting to sell if she needs the money but what I think has gone out the window here is politeness, courtesy, respect for us, and an understanding of what we are experiencesing.

      • I understand exactly what you are saying – she don’t know how to talk to you about the sale .. so she leave it up somebody else – that couldn’t care less.
        You just go out there and look for something new … and move so soon as possible. Tough job, but the best thing is just to get real mad and pissed off.

  6. Wow – I really feel terrible for you! Glad you got a some legal advice. I recently had a friend go through the same thing. In the end, through appropriate channels, she moved out in 10 days, put her possessions in storage and moved in with a friend. Compensations were paid to her, but I don’t know all the details! Lucky for her, she has retired so was able to pull off this remarkable feat in such a short period of time! Can’t imagine how invasive this has been for you…I only have the stories of my friend to go by! Good luck – hope you find a new place soon and can move out ASAP and on with your life!

    • Thanks Anita, she was lucky to be able to have the time – because we both work full time it makes making viewing times on other houses a little more problematic. But we need to start

  7. That’s a nightmare! Here, as with you, private tenants have no rights. Myself and my two girls are on our fourth house in four years. The first didn’t tell us he had gone bankrupt and the first we hear is a letter from the court saying the house was being repossessed in four weeks, the second suddenly decided his nephew could live in our home and this one, who said the letting was long term, has decided to sell the house just four months after we moved in!

  8. I’m really sorry to hear of all that hassle after having such a lovely holiday. How easy is it to get a new rental in Melbourne? They should at least give you a rent reduction for the inconvenience.

  9. I don’t know how the law works there, but that could not happen here… the renter has so many more legal rights than the owner… so when renting a house out one has to have so many conditions in the lease agreement that it becomes a book.. As a house owner that rents the property out I cannot even go on the property without the tenants permission…

  10. Sorry to hear about this. We went through all this about a month ago. Luckily the owners were really reasonable and dropped the rent to cover the inconvenience and cleaning etc – you can certainly ask for this. The agents were pretty good negotiating everything with us and then another investor bought the property so we don’t have to move – big relief. I hope things turn out but it’s pretty unpleasant dealing with the uncertainty around it all.

  11. I’m feeling your pain! We thought we found a good, stable landlord. Six months after we moved in, he announced he was putting all of his properties on the market (nearly three dozen) and leaving the state. We discovered our house had been listed when we saw it on the internet.

  12. It is so unfortunate that you have to arrive back to this! Nadia’s behavior is awful and reminds me of agents here in NYC. I can imagine how stressful it is, and hope that you can have a more harmonious search for a new place to live.

  13. Don’t tenants have any legal rights like access to a rental board in your part of the world? Although it varies slightly in different provinces of Canada, renters sometimes have more rights than the owners with notice of more than 3 months in advance for things like sales and end of lease. Access for viewings can be up to 72 hours in advance – we are, though, locked into yearly leases in most cases. We have the reverse problem here with owners often unable to get rid of nightmarish tenants…

  14. That sounds awful. Don’t they realise that keeping tenants on side will improve the sale value and ensure a good purchase price. I wonder if the owners understand the crap you are enduring. I hope things improve for you.

  15. There are some pretty rubbish agents out there! We currently have a comedy about real estate salespeople on NZ TV, and you should hear the squeals that they aren’t like that at all!

    • Thank you Jackie – luckily the landlady would be stuffed if we move out and the house takes a few months to sell as she would be paying the mortgage again so I’ve made a few noises about leaving and they have backed off a little. Still it is pretty stressful and very inconvenient.

  16. I’m renting and my landlady has been trying to sell our tiny house for over a year! I hate having strangers walk through the place with very little notice 😦 Hope things go better for the both of us in the future 🙂

    • It’s awful. I’ve hidden all my stuff away and can’t find half of it now. I have to make sure that no one opens drawers, cupboards, slipa a bottle of wine into their bag or starts going through my things – it feels like such a violation

  17. This is priceless. I have heard this type of story so many times. What is with these letting agents? To renters everywhere, you are not alone; to letting agents everywhere, you are supposed to act on behalf of both the owner of the house and the person/people the house is let to—so try to act with humanity and provide a service.

    • Well said Caron – but I think they just don’t care as long as they get sale. What they need to do is advise the renter of their rights as well. For anyone in Victoria there is an organisation called the union for rented accommodation (or something like that) they were extremely helpful, its a free service and they will provide support if needed.

      • It infuriates me—it is bullying. Hopefully, as a result of your post and others speaking out, people will be more empowered to stand up against this unfair treatment.

      • I’ve heard lots of people complain. In fact, an agent who manages a property near where I live sounds like a double of the one you describe. My brother said they had also been treated in a similar way by an agent in the US, where he lives. Most people believe they can’t do much about it.

    • Luckily I work with the courts and advocate for people so I know the system and my rights – but there are a lot of people out there who don’t unfortunately and they get pushed around by these estate agents.

      • this type of situation calls for words like “abhorrent, etc.” just where do people get off??? Glad you’ve got your situation under control but really? who needs their home turned into a fortress of sorts? You don’t need the aggravation even if you savvy enough to stay one step ahead of this moron…

  18. Oh my goodness what rubbish! Glad you guys stood your ground though! Are you guys going to be able to stay in the house after auction though?

    • Who knows MLD – they may put the rent up if it is bought for investment or they may give us notice either way we would have to find somewhere else to live – the rent is already too much for the size of the house and its condition but we agreed because we are on a monthly contract now and it is close to transport so we dont have to drive everywhere. I guess we will just have to wait until the auction and see what happens but I’ve started to look around for alternative accommodation already.

      • Most agencies will help find you another home. I take it this rental has been through the home owner and not an agency?

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