An interesting case came across my desk the other day. It was a rural matter, which incorporated residential tenancies, and agistment.
The simple facts were:
- The agistment agreement was entered into indemnifying the landlord for lost stock;
- The advertisement clearly showed non arable land with no clear boundary fences;
- Because it was agricultural, no condition report was provided.
What happened is that the agisted cattle escaped. The tenants have claimed the jurisdictional limit of $15,000 from the landlord and $455,000 for the agistment leases.
It is yet to go before the tribunal, the saving grace for the agent is three factors:
- Photographs of the condition of the property prior to the tenant taking possession;
- Excellently prepared agreements; and
- Good argument as to how to manage loss.
It is worth remembering that rural tenancy has no jurisdictional limit at NCAT. Careful agreements and good monitoring procedures are essential to protect the landlord’s rights.
The tip for a landlord is: if you are not well prepared or have no eye for detail, pick the best rural agent! The lesson for agents: record management is the platform of protection.