Owners of a Cannonvale rental property became aware shortly after entering into a 12 months residential tenancy agreement in June 2012 that more than one person occupied their home.

They instructed Harcourt’s Airlie beach to increase rent by $20 weekly and to note all tenants on the agreement.

Harcourt’s executed the instruction but the tenants (jointly) were only prepared to enter into a lease which expired three months earlier than the original term.

Jonathon Peter and Josephine Prowse had trouble finding another tenant and decided to bring a claim in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal against Harcourts for the 13 weeks rent which they were deprived  by the agency’s alleged negligence.

Resisting the claim, the agency argued the tenant’s response and the resulting loss was simply a “commercial risk” for which they should not be accountable.

Noting that “property managers cannot hold a gun to the heads of tenants to compel compliance,” QCAT senior member Peta Stilgoe ruled nevertheless “they are engaged to manage tenancies.”

Because there had already been an earlier tribunal finding that the agent was in breach of its obligations of the owners, member Stilgoe was of the view that Harcourts should be liable to the owners for the full period of 13 weeks loss of rent, $6.8k.

Peter & Anor v Tyson [2015] QCATA 009 Senior Member Stilgoe OAM 19/01/2015


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