A Brisbane agent has successfully appealed the “substantial injustice” of a tribunal ruling thatrequired a tenant to pay less than 15% of repair costs incurred on behalf of her residential landlord client.

Living Here Wilston filed a claim in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for the recovery of a total of $7.1k against tenant William Clunesino for repairs, outstanding rent and utility charges.

The tribunal allowed a total of just $1.2k and ordered the balance of the residential tenancy bond to be repaid to the tenant.

Living Here’s Jesse MacDonald was incensed by the Adjudicator’s inflammatory language in ruling that many of her claims were “grossly overstated” and that the repairs could be “done for a lot cheaper than that”.

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The Adjudicator – whose identity is not been revealed in the published ruling – had dealt with most of the claims by “splitting them in half” on an arbitrary basis.

McDonald took the matter to the QCAT appeals tribunals where Senior Member Peta Stilgoe – “concerned that the learned Adjudicator showed bias against property managers in general” – agreed to review the findings.

Noting that the Adjudicator’s comments were “unfortunate and unnecessary” she concluded that there was simply no basis for disallowing the invoices presented for garden work and light bulb replacement even though the latter was performed by an electrician at a higher rate than perhaps handyman may have charged.

She also reinstated a $1.2k claim for repairs to a bath tub and vanity that the Adjudicator ruled were unwarranted notwithstanding the damage was evidenced by comparison of entry and exit photos.

Likewise a $2k claim for repairs to wall and ceiling damage that had been disallowed as “fair wear and tear” when the evidence established it was mostly in the nature of “impact damage” that had not been present on the tenant’s entry to the residence.

McDonald was not as fortunate in respect to her claim for the cost of carpet replacement. Given that floorcoverings were already 7 years old, just 30% of the replacement cost was allowed.

Judge Stilgoe allowed the appeal and ordered Clunesino to pay up a total of $6.3k.

RWW Holdings Pty Ltd t/as Living Here Wilston v Clunesino [2017] QCATA 063 Senior Member Stilgoe OAM 26 May 2017


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