10 August 2012

The lottery of landlords

When we moved to Sydney in 2007 everybody was prolific in their dire warnings regarding the rental market and the dastardly deeds of landlords and shoddy agencies.  We spent a good weekend looking at houses, applied for a bunch, got almost all and moved into the one I couldn't remember but my guy swore by.  We lived there very happily with views of the television towers and the fireworks on NYE (if you hung off the edge of the balcony looking vaguely south).  Our landlord was splendid.  A paradigm of landlordly virture - quick to fix things, relentlessly fair and equitable - educating us about our rights as we went along so that we never felt she was gypping us and when our little family grew by one and it was time to  move - she gave us a glowing reference.

She ruined us.  Absolutely ruined us.

We've spent the last eleven months in a house that seemed okay at the viewing - with a gorgeous big back yard for us to accommodate both the plus one and soon to be plus two.  The place was older but better to be the worst house on the best street and old doesn't necessarily mean crap.

How wrong we were.  Flooding sewage pipes, rising damp, falling damp, possums, mould, drainpipes pouring water in the back door, half the stove plates not working and regularly shorting electrical fuses.  We rang emergency plumber after emergency plumber until at last the landlord paid for the plumbing to be 'fixed', meaning no flooding but a distinctly unpleasant smell should the weather grow warmer.  Our girls were sick constantly, and for every little thing we needed to ring the real estate agent, who would talk to the landlord who would then say no.  Their plan is to knock the house down in a few years so they don't want to spend money on it. 

So we're moving.  And the landlords wont let us out of the last couple of weeks of our lease because they haven't made any money with us as tenants.  Which is the shittest excuse ever. They wouldn't have made money anyway.  The fuses still short, the stove is still broken, mould still grows randomly in the hallway.  The next tenants are not going to be any happier than we are or indeed any happier than the last tenants.  Our real estate agent is perfectly affable but makes their money from the landlord and not the tenant.  We understand that - it doesn't mean the landlord is in any way ethical or 'good'. And how does that ultimately reflect on an agency?

We're moving to a new house, higher rent, dry.  With a private landlord who has been so helpful he's in danger of making our first Sydney landlord look Grinch like.  Which is quite a feat.  And we can't wait.

A toast to lovely landlords and a pox on the others.