The Ordeal

It’s a boring rant, but I need to vent, then I will move on.

I finally got the bond back on my previous place on Monday. I wasn’t keen on posting about the whole ordeal until I had it.

A couple of issues simultaneously made living at my old place a nightmare. There is an issue with a tree (noxious weed species) in the back courtyard that drops berries for 6 months of the year, rendering the courtyard, and particularly the clothes line, unusable. I had been trying to get my former landlord’s agent (let’s call them FLA – no, I won’t name the agency) to act on removing the tree for 18 months, but at the inspection I had in July, I was told to put it in writing. I pointed out that I had, *twice*. I got only a sarcastic comment in return. I would have thought a business dealing with written correspondence should provide a written response. Writing to the FLA results in a black hole. Oh, and don’t bother ringing them, they tell you to put it in writing. The same day that this occurred, my immediate neighbour made a complaint about the tree (without knowing about the exchange I had just had) to the owner’s corporation. Cue the FLA black hole…

The inspection also set off another chain of events – the FLA did not communicate anything to me at any time, but sent two tradesmen to make quotes on the carpet and replacing a vanity unit and the toilet cisterns. The complete lack of communication meant I had to come to the worst-case scenario of what would happen next – that the place would be put up for sale. This made me very uneasy, and it was at this point I found my new (current) place, but I had to wait a month before I could move. I ended up putting in writing to the FLA that no tradespeople could enter the property, since nothing had been communicated to me (to stall until I could put in my notice). That went into the black hole too – they didn’t even communicate to at least one tradesperson what was going on, and I had to tell him.

Another issue that continued to grind away in the background was a particular ‘problem’ neighbour. She is legendary for her need to come over and ‘chat’ such that you cannot get rid of her for three hours. There’s more to it than that, this is the short version. For much of the time I lived at my previous place, the blinds on the front window were permanently shut. Problem neighbour was causing more than average grief in the block near the end (and since I left).

There’s all those little things that build over time – the place was impossible to heat or cool, received very little sunlight, I was knocked back on keeping a cat, the carpet was knackered, and on it goes. And the rent had risen steeply within the first 18 months I lived there. For the same money I was expecting the rent to rise to (now proven), I could have… exactly what I have now – a free-standing house closer to work.

The weekend before the removalists moved most of my belongings was very stressful. I discovered that the driveway was more of an issue than I had thought when I had inspected the place a month earlier. I could not get my car into the garage, and put a dent in the side of car to prove it, as well as putting myself and the car into a situation in which I was in fear of my life! My parents visited, and I had help from them in moving some of my belongings. My Father got their 4WD stuck half-way up the driveway at one point. It was not pleasant. Thankfully, when the removalists came in, it all ran relatively smoothly. The only damage was a dent in the microwave (which had been damaged moving to Armidale in 2003 anyway – Yay! I now own a dedicated dyeing microwave!).

I cleaned the old place out – leaving it cleaner than when I moved in, as usual. I had a professional carpet cleaner come in (despite suspecting the carpet would be ripped up) as I’m fairly certain FLA had the carpet cleaned a second time after the tenant before me. I did not have time to attend the final inspection as I was deep in exam marking that I was running late with. FLA sent a list of what they were not happy with. It ranged from items that were not clean when I moved in, to the petty (the toilet roll holder being dusty was my favourite!). They clearly went looking for issues (they picked up that I had cleaned the outside of the front window but not the inside – that was because of the ‘problem’ neighbour trying to ‘catch up’ with me!). I had no energy to either try cleaning what they wanted or to engage in argument, so I paid what they said a cleaner would cost to do it (especially as what was quoted was probably half what I thought it would really cost). Their final parting gift (or not, can’t prove a thing of course) was to leave the last digit off my back account details so that the rental bond board was unable to return my bond (hence my only getting it this week). Charming. Pleased to be rid of you, FLA!

My former immediate neighbour rang me on Monday. The vanity unit or the toilet cisterns were only installed on Monday – the tradesman turned off the water to the wrong unit – while she was in the shower! The carpet was replaced, the tree is still there… And despite my arrangement for any addressed mail to be collected by her (only unimportant stuff as I have a PO Box), the ‘problem’ neighbour has got hold of it! I lodged a mail redirection with Australia Post yesterday to end that!

I actually have sympathy for the owner of my previous home – I suspect she is not aware of what has been going on, particularly with the tree (the owner’s corporation are unable contact her to deal with her directly), and is presently out of pocket at least a month’s rent (and the place has been advertised for the past fortnight for a new tenant without success!).

It is much better now it is over. I’m loving the easier trip to work, the neighbours being a bit further away than right on top of me, and the cat is now legal. (Cat? She gets a post of her own. Next time.)

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