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Blame On Both Sides

A tenant in a small rural cottage has been ordered to pay her landlord rent arrears, cleaning and power bills after she left the home early and in a less-than-acceptable state of cleanliness.

By: Property Investor Team

1 December 2020

However, this was mitigated by the landlord’s inaction over a leaking hot water cylinder (which caused a higher than usual power bill), and the lack of a working heat pump in the property.

On August 18 this year, Toni Ann Speedie vacated a rental property that she had been living in four days ahead of the end of her tenancy agreement, namely August 22. She stopped paying rent at this time.

The landlords, Mr and Mrs Strugnell, claimed that Speedie left the house unclean, which meant they had to spend significant time and money remedying the situation themselves.

Additionally, Speedie had not paid any power bills (the cottage had a separate meter) during her time of tenancy, and the landlords was wanting compensation for this.

Adjudicator R Merrit found that Speedie was indeed liable for paying back the rent money owed, along side some compensation for the cleaning.

However, while Merrit recognised that the power bills needed to be paid, some compensation was granted to Speedie due to the lack of a working heat pump and a leaking hot water cylinder (for which Ms Speedie was awarded $350 and $300 respectively).

In conclusion, the landlords were awarded $1,045 for rent arrears, cleaning and power. Other claims - a claim for compensation for a damaged laundry door lock on the part of the landlords, and a claim by Speedie around a breach of quiet enjoyment and unlawful entry to the premises - were both dismissed.


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