Why Management selection is so important

September 3, 2009

News — Andrew

Maggots and piles of rubbish leave home owner with big bill

Bay of Plenty Times

Martin Tiffany

Maggots in the kitchen, rubbish overflowing out of the garden shed, and graffiti on the outside wall are just a few of the things that  greeted a Tauranga property owner when she returned to inspect her house.

Former Tauranga woman Donna Bullock, who now lives in Wellington, said she was shocked to find her Welcome Bay rental property in such a terrible state, especially as she had engaged a property manager to look after it.

She said the tenant had moved out on Wednesday and they had come up at the weekend to get the house ready to rent again. They have been left with a repair and cleaning bill that is going to run into thousands of dollars and a house that can’t be rented until the work is done.

A skip load of rubbish left by the previous tenants was cleared out of the house on Friday. This included furniture and personal belongings – including toothbrushes and clothes – that have been left behind.
The catalogue of rubbish and damage included rubbish bags and cartons of beers bottles lining the side of the house and filling a shed, holes in the walls, damage to the walls patched but painted a different colour, damaged blinds and curtains that had to be thrown away, and stained and burnt carpets.

Bags of food scraps left in the kitchen were infested with maggots and ants covered the benches.

The tenants also removed a security system by cutting its wires and leaving it in a cupboard, and the laundry floor has buckled after being flooded. It has to be replaced.

The  oven door had also been damaged and can’t shut so the appliance  has to be replaced. Slats from the deck railing have also been removed.

Mrs Bullock said when she bought the house in March 2007 it had been in immaculate condition. The first tenant had not looked after the house and been asked to leave.

She said the Tauranga property management company had been given a second chance as they promised the situation wouldn’t arise again. “Obviously the property manager wasn’t doing their job. The amount of rubbish in the shed alone shows it has been there for a long time.”

Mrs Bullock said she wanted to warn other landlords not to be complacent just because they had a property manager.

She said she was alerting the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand about the property manager and wanted the management fees they had paid for the past two years reimbursed.

Mrs Bullock said she didn’t really have the finances to do the repairs and cleaning and was going to struggle to get it all done. To make matters worse she said the tenant left without paying over $700 in rent and all she was left with from the bond was $100.

A spokeswoman for the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand  confirmed that the property management company and the  manager were REINZ members. She said while there was a REINZ Property Managers Code of Practice there were no specific guidelines as there were too many possibilities and it was  treated on a case-by-case basis.

She said they could  take disciplinary action against the firm but  liability had to be pursued through civil channels.

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