Breaking free: Terminating the management of difficult owners
When you finally muster up the courage to terminate the management of a difficult owner, it's easy to feel relieved and think to yourself, "thank goodness I won't have to deal with them ever again!". Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
We've all experienced it in property management - an owner who uses every tactic to stall maintenance being carried out on their property. This scenario compromises our professional ability to look after their best interests and damages our reputation with many tenants. With tight vacancies across Queensland, some tenants will tolerate maintenance not being attended to. However, there comes a point where it's enough for some to end the tenancy. This is often the catalyst for a property manager to take the brave step of terminating the management with the difficult owner. This is often the catalyst for a property manager to take the brave step of terminating the management with the difficult owner. Anyone who has been in this situation will feel empowered and breath a massive sigh of relief until you receive notification from QCAT that the agency has been named as a Respondent by the tenant on a QCAT Compensation Claim in the thousands of dollars.
If this happens, what do you need to consider?Under section 419 of the RTRA Act a tenant can lodge a compensation claim within six months of becoming aware of the breach. The six month timeframe is triggered when the dispute resolution request is lodged with the RTA.
From experience, tenants become motivated to pursue a compensation claim on the point of ending the tenancy. This can be exasperated if a claim is being made on their bond which they believe is unwarranted due to having tolerated a lack of maintenance to the property. Additionally, they may have sought additional advice, and may be encouraged to pursue being compensated for the period they paid full rent on the premises whilst it or it's inclusions were not being maintained (section 185 of the RTRA Act).
The tenant would lodge a Form 16 with the RTA dispute process for a Notice of Unresolved Dispute (NURD) to be issued so they can pursue a Non Urgent Application for Compensation. Rather than naming the owner as the Respondent, it's not uncommon for the tenant to name the Agent who was managing the property at the time of their tenancy.
If this occurs and you are no longer the Appointed Agent you need to take the following steps:
1. Lodge a QCAT Form 40 Miscellaneous Application to QCAT seeking to substitute your agency with the owner as the Respondent.
2. Email a copy of the Form 40 to the owner advising of the fact you have lodged the Form 40 to QCAT seeking to substitute them as the Respondent as you are no longer legally appointed to act on their behalf. They will need to self-represent at the QCAT Hearing.
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