A North Lakes owner – stymied in collecting the cost of damage from evicted tenants because of the absence of a condition report – has sued the managing agents for failing to ensure the condition report was completed.

James Shedden’s claim to QCAT was rejected for the very reason that the tribunal could not verify the condition of the home when it was rented in October 2012, before the date of his purchase in August 2013.

Managing agent Brisbane Property Market had completed the report and provided it to the tenants at the beginning of the 12-month lease. But it was never returned.

Shedden turned on the agent, claiming it “should be held responsible for the situation and any losses” namely the cost to him of repairs that QCAT refused to allow.

His second QCAT claim sought the recovery of the cost of various repairs, plumbing, landscaping restoration and carpet cleaning for a total of $2.7k.

The second time around, the tribunal made the point that although there is a requirement for an agent or owner to conduct a condition report and give a signed copy to the tenant, there is no compulsion on the tenant to either sign it will return it.

“Nobody can force a tenant to sign an entry condition report. That is simply not provided for in the RTAA.”

What Brisbane Property Market should have done however was to keep an unsigned copy of the report on file for at least one year after the conclusion of the tenancy as provided by RTAA s 65.

Although the agent was in breach of that requirement, tribunal member John Bertelsen ruled that such breach did not mean the agent should be liable.

Shedden could argue for recovery against the agent if he had first proven the claims against the delinquent tenants.

Regardless, the mere fact the entry condition report was not completed, was insufficient to draw a conclusion that the agent ought to bear responsibility for the loss and damage caused by the tenants.

And there is no evidence to determine whether the damage occurred before Shedden became owner, the claim should also be dismissed on that basis.

Brisbane Property Market succeeded in defending the claim.

Shedden v Brisbane Property Market Pty Ltd [2014] QCAT 505 Adjudicator Bertelsen 16/10/2014


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