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Topic # 84414 30-May-2011 18:54
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I need some advice before the morning so I can deal to it. I have no idea what to do and am at a total loss... very upset.

I moved from Timaru to Dunedin to start up a new life, new job, etc... To many people this is not a big deal as they have friends, family, or oodles of money to make this transition smooth, but for me this is the hardest move I have made in over 10 years.

I looked on TM for flats, single bedroom. Found a few I liked, but settled on the 3rd. The auction had one photo (which was old from summer showing well maintained place), description of tidy and good equipment. A friend called them on my behalf (real estate agent) and was told the place was real good.

I chucked in my job, my previous rental, loaded up my car, came down and signed up sight unseen. Based on the photo, decription, and statements made.

However when I got to the place it is a dive. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but in my life I've never seen a place in worse condition. In relation to the rent I think it seems unbalanced??

Heres some examples... (no inspection was done after last guy left I am led to believe)...

Fast running leaking tap, black inside toilet, holes in walls, rips stains and even lots of white mould growing on the carpet. stains on walls and rips in wallpaper. rubbish in the garage, bottles/cans etc on the section, mouldy curtains inside... etc etc...

Also, I was not told until I was in the door, the owner plans to sell in 4 months. This fact alone would have meant I'd never consider the place!!

I believe I can leave with 3 weeks notice. But since I moved in 3 hours ago, is there a cooling off period?? I was simply in shock once I moved in and was sick soon after its that bad. Place smells real bad too. Not to mention the neighbours arrived and went absoluely ape like he was on drugs... had my hand on phone ready to call cops... only seen people like that a few times in my life...

Anyhow, is there a way to get out of it tomorrow and retrieve my bond (paid in cash, with receipt)... I'd sooner stay in my tent for 3 weeks than here !!!

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  Reply # 475884 30-May-2011 19:06
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Did you sign a tenancy agreement?

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  Reply # 475886 30-May-2011 19:07
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Dunedin and renting - two words that don't sit particularly well with me.
It's one of the few places in NZ where it makes financial sense to own, rather than rent. The properties are (in my experience) very old, poorly maintained and very much over priced. You can thank students for this - as they will pay the earth for a slum and put it down to the 'student experience'. Of course, landlords greed is also a factor...

Re: What you can do.
Call your agent, get them to fix the mould, rubbish, leaky taps etc.
That, combined with a general 'good clean up' should at least help you plan your next move - whether it be to stay, or to leave.
If you need legal advice, my counsel is always the same... call a lawyer.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 475887 30-May-2011 19:08
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I wonder if it is similar to a loan contract where you have time to cancel at the beginning? Someone will know on here. Sorry to hear about that!



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  Reply # 475892 30-May-2011 19:22
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Tenancy agreement was signed upon arrival to Dunedin without seeing the place.

Basically I want out. BUT I would consider staying if the place is professionally cleaned top to bottom at the very minimum... and since I now know they want to sell, and it seems the owner is retired, they simply have no interest.

And if I didn't say it before, there was no inspection done... so I'm worried they will keep my bond (if I stay) and say I did it, or blame me for any part of what was already here. I've taken photos, but there is no proof when they were taken. Apart from obvious that they weren't before today.

Surely there is a way out of the contact this soon into it?

Other places on TM similar price looked far better for the same money. But this "sounded" better based on description.

So far I've been told there is a 24 hour way out of the contract, and 5 day way out... but I can't act on this without knowing what it is or how... and the real estate place will just let the time go by so I'm stuck here.

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  Reply # 475902 30-May-2011 19:37
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Why not ring Citizen Advice? Have you spoken with the land agent. Dunners Fella...yes possibly true down the north end of town aka studentville, but up here in Waverley its all pretty nice to be honest.

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  Reply # 475913 30-May-2011 19:59
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Based on the fact that you've described signing a tenancy agreement I'm assuming that this is a situation where you are assigned to the lease rather than a boarding arrangement where another occupant owns the house or holds the lease.

The tenancy agreement that you have signed should be the standard form produced by the Department of Building and Housing and it's my understanding that this form has a section where the landlord should identify any existing damage to the property. If you signed this document without any damage noted on it, and without having first inspected the property yourself then I'm afraid that you've exposed yourself to significant risk if the landlord withholds your bond on the basis of an accusation that you have caused the pre existing damage.

I'm not sure about the cooling off period, but the Department of Building and Housing does have a help line that you can call to get advice on this sort of thing. Alternatively there is some good information on their web site. 

gzt

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  Reply # 475926 30-May-2011 20:11
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ilDuce: So far I've been told there is a 24 hour way out of the contract, and 5 day way out... but I can't act on this without knowing what it is or how... and the real estate place will just let the time go by so I'm stuck here.


You need to get out of there.

This is what I would do more or less in parallel:

  1. Line up another place on TradeMe (or elsewhere) immediately and move

  2. If the only thing you can line up is a share put your gear in temp storage

  3. Call the agent, tell them the place is a dive, disgusting, unsafe, clearly not fit for human habitation under the residential tenancies act, totally not what you were told, and demand your money back immediately.

  4. Don't mention the neighbors - that's nothing to do with the agent or landlord. 

  5. Take lots of photos, and if possible get a friend or casual acquaintance around for a look to act as a independent witness of the conditions just in case you need one.

Basically, a) the agent has breached good faith (so the contract is effectively void) & b) the landlord has not fulfilled his/her responsibilities under the act (which is a tenancy tribunal matter).

Either way, neither of them has a leg to stand on & you are going to get your money back, it is just a question of time.

If the agent is going to co-operate and act quickly, all good. Either way, the bottom line is that place sucks and you need to be out of there.

gzt

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  Reply # 475937 30-May-2011 20:30
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Also read the TradeMe advertisement down the phone to the agent (and describe the photo) so he/she knows exactly how far in the wrong they are.

If they are immediately sympathetic to your concerns and offer to resolve the situation by fixing you up with another place in your price range immediately - if that works for you, great go look at it, but don't feel you need to accept that option - or anything else they might offer short of your money back immediately.

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  Reply # 475939 30-May-2011 20:33
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Can you stay for 3 weeks? At the very least, hand in your notice right away, and tell them you want all your money back for misrepresenting the place.

If you don't want to wait, just find somewhere now and don't pay any more rent.

They might take you to the disputes tribunal, you might win, you might not.

Put the money you lose down to a life experience and learn from it. If you don't have enough money to move, can you get a temporary bank loan? It might be worthwhile if you hate the place enough.

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  Reply # 475957 30-May-2011 21:06
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gzt:
ilDuce: So far I've been told there is a 24 hour way out of the contract, and 5 day way out... but I can't act on this without knowing what it is or how... and the real estate place will just let the time go by so I'm stuck here.


You need to get out of there.

This is what I would do more or less in parallel:


    1. Line up another place on TradeMe (or elsewhere) immediately and move



    1. If the only thing you can line up is a share put your gear in temp storage



    1. Call the agent, tell them the place is a dive, disgusting, unsafe, clearly not fit for human habitation under the residential tenancies act, totally not what you were told, and demand your money back immediately.



    1. Don't mention the neighbors - that's nothing to do with the agent or landlord. 



    1. Take lots of photos, and if possible get a friend or casual acquaintance around for a look to act as a independent witness of the conditions just in case you need one.


Basically, a) the agent has breached good faith (so the contract is effectively void) & b) the landlord has not fulfilled his/her responsibilities under the act (which is a tenancy tribunal matter).

Either way, neither of them has a leg to stand on & you are going to get your money back, it is just a question of time.

If the agent is going to co-operate and act quickly, all good. Either way, the bottom line is that place sucks and you need to be out of there.


Take this advice and get the hell out of there.




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  Reply # 475974 30-May-2011 21:33
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Ring the Department of Building & Housing on 0800 83 62 62 and discuss your situation.

http://dbh.govt.nz/tenancy-index




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  Reply # 475975 30-May-2011 21:33
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As a rule - never sign sight unseen. But in your case you effectively thought you had seen it so you would definitely have a case about it being mis-represented. Take a whole lot of pictures a.s.a.p. to support your case.

In theory the place has to be clean and tidy for you to tenant - that's the state it is legally? meant to be in before you shift in and is the state you are expected to leave it in when you leave.

As I said - that is the theory. Reality is that anyone who knows Dunedin know that Dunedin is the exception where anything seems to go! In general, most Dunedin landlords don't care a stuff about their properties, the state of them and whats happening in them because they're creaming the money in!

I was so glad that I had a brilliant landlord for the North East Valley house I rented when I worked in Dunedin - it was just a couple of pathetic, crappy flatmates that put me off! (Rule #1 - don't rent with sour puss, bitchy country girls who don't care about other peoples property or paying their share of bills; #2 - don't rent with lazy arse young Polytech students who burn all the electricity they can)

Oh, and definitely contact the Citizens Advice Bureau




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  Reply # 475981 30-May-2011 21:58
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Does anyone think its a good idea/ bad idea to email agent now stating that I would like to leave immediately, would like refund of bond but will forfeit week in advance, but also to give my 3 weeks notice effective immediately??

I came down here with just enough money to get into this place, buy starvation rations for food, and enough to do some serious job searching - but if I have to abandon the flat and lose 3 weeks (the notice period) of my (4 weeks bond, 1 week in advance), then I will be stuffed in a catch 22.

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  Reply # 475985 30-May-2011 22:07
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IlDuce: Does anyone think its a good idea/ bad idea to email agent now stating that I would like to leave immediately, would like refund of bond but will forfeit week in advance, but also to give my 3 weeks notice effective immediately??

I came down here with just enough money to get into this place, buy starvation rations for food, and enough to do some serious job searching - but if I have to abandon the flat and lose 3 weeks (the notice period) of my (4 weeks bond, 1 week in advance), then I will be stuffed in a catch 22.


Hell - don't let then get away with having a weeks rent worth of your money! You owe them nothing - they owe you everything!!

I'm tempted to say - If they don't play ball tell them you are going straight to the media... and then do it. Dunedin as a city is desperate to attract people into the city and this would be a huge embarrassment to them if it hit the national headlines...


ETA - this sort of situation will leave you wanting to get out at any cost, but any cost should be on the agent - they should even have to pay any additional costs you incur by moving again (disconnection/reconnection fee's etc)

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  Reply # 475997 30-May-2011 22:26
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Normally, I would never suggest the TradeMe message boards for anything other than eyeball gouging stupefaction, but in this case, go ask on the REAL ESTATE message board there, there are a number of people there who would give you the advice you need.

Make sure you tell the story concisely and do not leave out anything pertinent (like for example, are you periodic or fixed term).

I would be going on the angle of things you could issue a 14 day notice (breach of RTA).





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