When Covid 19 hit, new laws were introduced to the Residential Tenancy Regulations on 15 April 2020.  The amendment were easy to apply and once given a clear guideline, property managers do what they do best, simply follow a direction to the letter. Although now long forgotten, Covid brought with it a spirit of good will.

With any legal regime, there comes the user: You know, that person/tenant who tries to take advantage of any given situation. Strangely, that wanker, does not often fit within the guidelines but will have a go anyway. Anything to not pay rent.

In this blog we talk about the top three tenants we have experienced taking advantage of the new laws, with their property managers.

Covid kicked off with a beauty. A young Chinese student completed the Covid documents claiming she had lost 25% of her household income. Like many international students, she had been supported by parents overseas. Due to Covid, the parents could no longer pay her allowance. The tenant claimed that the allowance formed part of the household income.

She was asked for her previous tax assessments, as if it were income she needed to be paying tax. This would also demonstrate proof of income. Once we offered to contact the ATO for her on behalf of her agent, the claim was removed. Funny about that!

The second case is where a tenant was not paying rent at the beginning of the tenancy. The landlord, out of the kindness of his heart, said “I will pay you to clean up the property, provided you pay me the rent’. You might be thinking the landlord is taking advantage of the situation. NO, he paid $5,000 in rent and has not paid for a further 5 months. As expected, he is claiming defects, claiming $1800 for damage to his vehicle. The demage was caused when he ran into garbage on the lot. Guess who put the garbage there, he did! He is claiming the landlord is liable for the tenants negligence. It has become an unfortunate trend that, every time a tenant doesn’t want to cough up their rent, they find a defect otherwise never reported.

The third defies belief: The female tenant claims that the shower screen exploded when she turned the shower on. What was amazing about this incident, she only had a cut on the knuckles. Lucky escape: out of a full shattering glass panel, only the knuckle was injured. Amazing, the injury is consistent with punching a hard surface. Now, the covid application has been reached for: they claim they are affected by covid. No evidence is forthcoming.

Whilst the population worked to defend against the unforeseen outcomes of Covid 19, there have been others who seek to advantage from it.

I am certain there are other cases, but this is just a couple we have dealt with. Would love to hear some of your stories.