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Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Old Apr 16th 2013, 8:29 pm
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Default Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Hey folks, thought I would leave a little rundown of what's happened to us over the last few months as it may be of some benefit for people in the future. the important part is in the last few paragrpahs, so feel free to skip all the crap beforehand

I moved to Brisbane in Feb 2011 on a sponsored 457 Visa to work as a Civil Engineer in the rail industry. Life was good, Brisbane weather is great, having a pool was great, kids loved it.

After 12 months things were going great, the rail industry was booming, so much so that I went for a couple of interviews, demanded the world and still got two job offers. Then managed to get a 20% wage rise out of my current employer to stay there.

Come September/October time things start to change, coal price falls, QLD Govt stop spending money, miners cut back investment plans. Consultancies and contractors across QLD and WA start laying people off.

I get the bad news along with 40 other 457 Visa holders in my company on 12th December. It's been coming, so not unexpected.

The very next day I get the ball rolling for leaving Australia as the chances of another role are slim and we had been planning to move back July 2013 anyway.

The main worry for me is the house. I had a rental contract up to 5th July 2013, and being on a 457 would be due to leave the country on 8th february. So on the 13th Dec I submit an early termination form to the letting agent looking to break the lease on 31st January, giving them 7 weeks notice to leave relet the property.

The next day I visit the tenancy advisory people to discuss my options as I want to be able to leave 31st january and not have to worry about anything. They advise me to go for a hardship termination on the basis of being made redundant and forced to leave the country. This potentially would allow me to get my bond back and walk away. This would require going to QCAT (civil tribunal) for a hearing and ruling. They advise me to consider making an offer to the owners to try and resolve it beforehand.

I decide to play it cool for a few weeks, it's a beautiful house in a great suburb of Brisbane. The house is readvertised within a few days, but we understandably get no viewings over xmas and New Year.

Come the 2nd week of january I start to get nervous and make an offer of 2 weeks rent as compensation, meaning I would have given 9 weeks to find a tenant. The letting agebt comes back and says the owners arent interested and want us to pay the remainder of the lease, 22 weeks, coming to $20k. I politely refuse, but by this point I'm starting to get worried.

By this point I'm starting to get suspicious, we've been advised of 4 viewings, but only 2 ever happened. I'm starting to suspect they aren't even trying to relet the house. So I do a bit of digging and find out they're only offering a 5 month lease as the owners claim they had planned to move back in once we left. The rent is $920 a week and the bond nearly $4k, no one is going to put up $4k for a 5month lease, meaning it's never going to be relet.

I'm now fuming, but just want it over and done with so offer 4 weeks rent (the bond) as compensation. Again they reject it outright. So I advise I will be going ahead with my application for a hardship termination. The letting agent then spends a week trying to intimidate me in person and on the phone, I tell him where to go.

Around the same time they get a viewing which turn out to be a couple from Glasgow (like us), we are actually there and do a bit of sweet talking and the next day they make an offer of $750 a week for 6 months. The letting agent phones and I offer to make up the $170 difference for the 20 weeks, meaning I'm out of pocket but will get my bond back making me roughly level. For some reason the owners reject it.

So, two days before leaving Brisbane for good, I submit the hardship termination having absolutely failed to resolve it before leaving.

I ask our friends to keep an eye on the house to see what's happening and after a few weeks I find out that the owners have moved their sons in. The owners then counter claim demanding 13k from me, claiming that is them attempting to minimise my losses out of the following 3 situations:-

1. I pay the rent until the end of lease = 20k

2. They lease to the scottish couple for 750 a week for 6 months, i pay the 170 a week for 26 weeks, the loss of 3 weeks rent from 1st Feb to 22nd Feb and put them up in a serviced apt from 5th July to 20th Aug = 15.5k

3. They move in their two 2sons and 2 friends, all of whom pay 100 a month rent, i pay the 520 a week difference for 18 weeks and 1 week at 920 = 13.3k

Roll on 4 weeks, we're back in the UK and I need to phone into a QCAT hearing.

Firstly I present my case. Family of 4, no jobs, living in parents house in 1 room. kids out of school etc etc - offered to pay rent until end of Feb, meaning I would have paid 7 weeks rent beyond being made redundant, effectively handing over my redundancy payment.

Then they start to present their case, after a few minutes I sense things are going my way.

Court officer is saying stuff like

did you make every effort to relet the property
why didn't you accept the 750
are you being serious, you really expect Mr McCafferty to pay you 20k?
this is maybe the most ridiculous thing I've heard in here
why should Mr McCafferty subsidise you and your mates getting cheap accommodation

So the ruling went in my favour. The jist of it being, family home or not, if the owners are renting out their property it must be treated as such and if the lease is broken they must make every effort to relet the property, the owner cannot put obstacles in the way and must make every attempt to minimise the losses of the person leaving.

Sorry for all the fluff at the start, if anyone ever wants anymore detail on breaking a lease or a hardship termination just pm me.
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 6:52 am
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Glad to hear common sense won in the end - what was the actual decision? Do you have to pay anything at all? Some people just take the p.

Hope everything works out great for you back home!
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Wow, what a palaver! Glad it was sorted - some people can be so unscrupulous. Just out of interest, did you consider just cutting and running - after you move out the country, there must be v little they can do to pursue it surely?
I got stuck paying 4 weeks for a break lease. Very attractive property and agent made no attempt to re-let. Now just changed my lease to periodic. Less security I know, but at least limited damages in a lease break.
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 3:50 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Glad it is sorted Bob and great advice for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Originally Posted by goldchoccycoin View Post
Glad to hear common sense won in the end - what was the actual decision? Do you have to pay anything at all? Some people just take the p.

Hope everything works out great for you back home!
The tribunal officer said " In light of these discussions Mr McCafferty would you like to make an other offer or shall I rule on the hardship termination immediately?"

I reckon she would have given me the hardship termination and I'd have got the bond back in full, but I maintained my dignity and offered them the bond as compensation. In the cold might of day now I wish I hadn't, but at the time I was off the hook for up to 20k so I was just relieved to get it over with
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Originally Posted by Chortlepuss View Post
Wow, what a palaver! Glad it was sorted - some people can be so unscrupulous. Just out of interest, did you consider just cutting and running - after you move out the country, there must be v little they can do to pursue it surely?
I got stuck paying 4 weeks for a break lease. Very attractive property and agent made no attempt to re-let. Now just changed my lease to periodic. Less security I know, but at least limited damages in a lease break.
didn't really consider running, but there was no way I was paying 20k, if the judgement had went in their favour I wouldnt have paid. When the letting agent manager was playing tough guy he told me the owners would chase me around the world
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Old Apr 20th 2013, 1:47 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

Originally Posted by bingobob777 View Post
didn't really consider running, but there was no way I was paying 20k, if the judgement had went in their favour I wouldnt have paid. When the letting agent manager was playing tough guy he told me the owners would chase me around the world
You know what, it's people like you that reminds me that there are still good folk around, and why i still visit this forum. Thankyou for sharing your tale, great info, and yes i will pm you if i end up in mire. Your a gent or gentess and a scholar, i wish you all the best much love. Thankyou.
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Old Apr 21st 2013, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Leaving Brisbane & breaking lease

I hate real estate agents. Terrible leech on society. Good to hear you won. Been there too, so draining.
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