Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mr Fixit

Well today I went into a hardware store, bought a door handle, went home and fitted it myself. Of course it took the wife to come home and realise that in order to prevent out cats pushing said door open, the tongueplate needed to be a tad lower to the tongue thingy would actually click in place when you shut it. So she fixed that.

All in all a Mikey + Wife combo = fixed door.

I believe that's the first maintenance I have ever done inside a home. Which makes me a tad pathetic. But still all fixed. Go me. Er ... us.

As I live in a rental property generally I have never had to do this. But I have found that what seems irritating to me and I would like to see it fixed means weeks waiting. That being said our real estate is the best we have ever had. The man bends over backwards to help us.

We got robbed two weeks into moving into this house. They got in through a window that did not have any window locks. Not only did our real estate agent get that fixed within a day, he stuck in sensor lighting as well.

Truly awesome.

That being said, we have had some shockers. This includes.

Telling a real estate agent we were going to re-sign the lease, then returning home after an operation only to find an eviction notice (we were paying month by month). This so the owner could move in for two months while he was back from overseas.

The maintenance man letting himself into our house at 7 am with his kid in tow to fix a lock. While we were asleep (he'd rung first but who answers the fucking phone at 6.50 am on a Saturday?)

Sending pool maintenance people around our backyard without telling us first.

Not providing a key to bedroom lock then claiming we had to get in a locksmith and get said door opened ourselves when we accidentially locked it (a push button lock).

We really should have said something but we liked the house so didn't want to cause a fuss. Then of course we got the eviction letter. What a pack of cunts.

And you? Any shocker landlord stories? Alternatively done anything sketchy to a house that you rented?

I think the worst thing I did was burn 'MIKEY' into a foam matress with a fire poker when I was drunk then leave it in the shed when we moved. I got a call asking if we'd left it there. I said 'No, must have been another Mikey that did that.'

The worst part of renting is cleaning the old place when you move out. Then they take fucking ages to do the inspection and hold up your bond. I once had a call 10 days after we'd moved out asking us to return to clean the soap scum out of the soap holder. We lived on the other side of town and my wife had the car and was in Sydney. So I sure as fuck was not going to catch a bus to do that so I told them to do it themselves. They billed us $20.

I really have to be more assertive.

Trouble is that here in Oz some real estate agents have a black list that they will list clients on. And you have to pay to get your name off it. Sounds like blackmail to me.


  1. Well mike I've been both sides of this issue. I've rented and been a landlord and you don't have to be a tenant to be badly treated. We rented a small cottage on our place, our first tenant was a lovely lady and her young son and she was courteous, always paid the rent on time and if any thing needed fixing was understanding when I could not always do it immediately. She stayed three years and we developed a friendship that has endured. Then I renovated the cottage painted it inside and out, fixed the kitchen and our next tenant was a stinker, always complaining about one thing or another like "the water was making him sick" so I emptied the tank scrubbed it and paid to have it refilled and he was still not happy then he insisted he was getting electric shocks from the stove, so I did the right thing and got my mate the sparky to check out the stove, no fault at all but the cottage has a vynal floor and he was infact building up a static charge as he shuffled about and when he touched the stove he discharged that charge to earth...He played loud music all the time and as we are in the country this was most odious (our house is pretty close to the cottage) I leased the cottage to him on the basis of his being the sole resident and he moved his girlfriend in and she hid inside and portended not to be there. Now before you jump to the conclusion that I was a Nasty landlord I will say that I followed to the letter the requirements of the residential tenancies act the trouble is that it is hard to know, as landlord if the person you are trusting your house to will keep their end of the bargain. Sadly many do not and frankly If I had a tenant who damaged my property I would not hesitate to tell all and sundry that this person is to be avoided, including putting their names on a blacklist

    You see Mikey renting a House is a bargain between the owner and the Tenant all is well when both parties are fair and honourable. The trouble is that to many renters have the sort of Marxist,” landlords ore part of the ruling class mentality” and instead of realising that on the whole landlords are just ordinary people who expect a bargain to be kept, think it is part of the class struggle to act like arseholes.

  2. You see Mikey renting a House is a bargain between the owner and the Tenant all is well when both parties are fair and honourable. The trouble is that to many renters have the sort of Marxist,” landlords ore part of the ruling class mentality” and instead of realising that on the whole landlords are just ordinary people who expect a bargain to be kept, think it is part of the class struggle to act like arseholes.

    That's a fair point man. It is meant to be a fair bargain. And by and large almost all parties do the right thing. Conversely there's always going to be bad eggs on both sides - shitty landlords that violate privacy, jack the rent up without much justification (ie $30 a week because that's what the market will bear), or fail to fix things like raw sewage bubbling out of the ground. And likewise crappy tenants that don't pay on time, wreck the place, treat it like a dump, or in one case that happened to a friend of mine - piss in the heating vents.

    But there's no real estate agents black list prospective tenants can sign up too where landlords can.

    You sound like you went above and beyond man. So big kudos. Cause there's not that many who would make the effort.

    My current Real Estate Agent is the friggin' best. And when we buy a house I'd like to do it through him so he gets the commission. I can't speak highly enough of him.

    Of the agents we left (who evicted us) they were hated so much that their receptionist on her last day rang up all their clients and recommended they stop dealing with them...

  3. I'll tell you something Mike that you will discover when you buy your own place it is like being let out of jail, you can forget the heavy weight of the mortgage , the rates and insurance ,the fact that you will have to pay if the Hot water system blows up . Because NOTHING makes you feel so free and independent than being able to say "I own My own home"
    Keep up the DIY mate because the more you can do for your self the more you will be in control of your own life.

  4. Wow, robbed within 2 weeks of moving in? That sucks.

  5. "burn 'MIKEY' into a foam matress with a fire poker when I was drunk"

    Damn that's funny, I laughed and laughed.

    "Because NOTHING makes you feel so free and independent than being able to say " yes I made a hole in the wall, and it felt great! I might do it again, just because I can.

    or: 'I want to put this picture up, hmm, let's see, I might use some super-glue, no wait, I'll use this enormous railway sleeper pin as a nail. Who's gonna stop me?'

    People have less respect for objects they don't own, and people are also very protective of objects they own when someone else has them.

    I don't envy renters or rentees - they both rely on the kindness of strangers, and there are too many dickheads around.

  6. You're lucky to get a real estate agent who treats you nicely even though you're a renter, mikey. So many of our friends have had the experience of a nice real estate agent renting them a place turning into a nasty real estate agent who withholds part of the bond because, say, the tenants used a pest-control company that wasn't the one favoured by the real estate agent before vacating the house.

    The guy upstairs from us has been a horror tenant for the poor managers of our unit complex- although we don't rent through them they are bloody awesome people. This guy looked perfect on paper- he's a 30-something PhD student at UQ with a korean girlfriend. They looked so good on paper that the managers didn't bother to check their references, which was their first mistake, because no doubt he's tried to pull this sort of crap before.

    The guy demanded that the glass pane in their small foyer be replaced with a sliding window (theirs is the only unit above ours- essentially its own floor).

    Then he started writing letters saying that the complex was too noisy and demanding the managers do something about it (which was bollocks- it's an extremely quiet complex on a reasonably quiet street and when there is noise the managers indeed DO do something about it).

    He claimed that the 'excess noise' was 'forcing' him to have the air conditioner on 24/7, and therefore he wanted compensation of $40 per week for the supposed lack of sleep. He wrote a whole series of letters, setting a 'deadline' by which the managers were supposed to submit to his desires in each one. He claimed that he and his girlfriend had been forced to move from bedroom to bedroom in order to try and avoid the oppressive noise that permeated the entire unit, and they even supposedly slept in the lounge room.

    The loudest noise coming from the complex was that moron's air-conditioner being on 24-7: it was right above our bedroom balcony door.

    A couple of weeks ago the guy took it to small claims court; the magistrate (or whoever is in charge of small claims court) threw it out. Nonetheless, this guy managed to put the managers here through a good couple of months of needless stress. I'm only an undergrad, and I don't have time enough to write the number of letters that this guy undertook, and he's a PhD- aren't they supposed to do a lot of work?

    He should be getting his first electricity bill pretty soon, too!

    When Gam and I first moved out of college and were looking for a place, the first real estate agent we went to essentially told us to get lost because most of their business was renting at inflated prices to asian students sight unseen.

    When we finally found and applied for a place that we really liked, my parents were prepared to pay rent 2 months earlier than we wanted to move in in order to ensure we secured the place. Everything looked to be in order, so we went home to NSW. We then got a phonecall from the real estate agent saying that she was very sorry but the landlord was 'touchy' and would not rent to Gam and I. She conveyed to my mother the strong impression that the reason for the 'touchiness' was that Gam was black. That same unit, unknown to us, was subsequently rented to two friends of ours, a couple, also from college, who were both white (one of whom was 17 years old, a smoker and who subsequently violated the lease by getting two cats! I hope the cats peed on the carpet, is all I can say for that landlord).

    That episode, plus a horror story of a friend's daughter being forced to move out of a place two weeks before her exams freaked my parents into buying a unit. One of the real estate agents my dad and I visited was the first one Gam and I had visited when looking for a rental. They were just so nice to us when they smelled money. What a contrast. One of them smoked in the office while we were there- illegal and highly unprofessional! Mum and Dad wound up buying through a different agent. The rents of the place we live now have gone up so much we couldn't afford to live in them if my parents didn't lower the rent (they were nice enough to take into account that fact that Gam will have no income for the two years it takes to do his masters), and we would probably be forced to move just about every year like most of our friends.

  7. Woah Sarah, that's some tale.

    Like Larry and Iain have said. There's badness on both the tenant and the landlord side I suppose.

    One day I will own a home and I won't have to worry about it anymore !

    Thank god.

    I think however fixing a door handle is the limit of my capacity to enjoy renovations :)


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