Landlord paid $3,220 by tenant after CTTT hearing

At the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) earlier this month, landlords Simon and Marilyn Hoft were paid $3,220 by tenant Laurie Driscoll.

The landlords' claim for compensation was based on the breaking of a fixed lease from the tenant. Driscoll counter claimed for refund of rent and moving costs due to breach of quiet enjoyment and the leasing on adjoining illegal premises.

Directions hearings were held on 19 June 2013 and 17 July 2013, and matters were heard on 1 October 2013.

The lease began in Bangalow in March 2013, with a fixed term of eight months from 1 March to 25 October, at $420 per week.

On 25 April, the tenant wrote to the landlords' agent to end the tenancy immediately, and vacated on 26 April.

A new tenant was found for 25 June 2013.

While the tenants' claim is that the landlords were breaching the tenancy agreement, the tenant did not give the landlords a termination notice, nor apply to the Tribunal for a termination order.

"I am satisfied that the tenant abandoned the premises during the fixed term. There was a clause in the agreement providing that if the lease was broken the tenant had to pay a re-letting fee of 1 week rent plus GST, a lease fee of $33.00, advertising fees of $285.00 and the loss of rent until a new tenant was found," the ruling found.

The landlords did not claim for all of the remaining rent, just for payment of loss of rent until the new tenant was found.

As the landlord advertised straight after Driscoll left, they were judged favourably as having done everything possibly to mitigate the loss.

Rent had been paid up until 10 May, so the tenant was required to pay from 11 May to 25 June, or 46 days. 

The total amount was said to be $3,540 owing.

The tenant was not found liable for $66 for an electrician to attend the premises, due to a claim about no hot water. This was due to a booster switch having not been turned on, that the tenant may not have known about.

The tenants argument related to the nature of the premises. The tenant rented the upstairs section, while the downstairs section had another tenant. The downstairs section had not been passed by a local authority for use of residence, and so the tenant claimed that the whole residence was not fit for habitation. Photographs used as evidence showed that the upstairs section was actually of good quality.

Noise from the tenant downstairs, however, did assist Driscoll's case as it was noted no tenant should have been in this area. Compensation was assessed at $320, to be deducted from the amount owing to the landlord.

The tenant also claimed safety and fire issues with the property, however as the tenant did not contact the landlords' agent, whose details had been provided, this was unable to be proven.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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