A letter to our property manager

Dear XXXX,

Further to our previous correspondence with you and the XXXX office over the course of the past year, we wish to reiterate the continued problems we have had while we waited for the tenancy to end on XXXX. While the property was our first address in Australia, at no point could we call it home. We struggle to understand why so many basic things were missed from the building, the logic behind these decisions and reasonable requests obstructed.

However, I will return to these issues in a moment – as you will see I’ve have copied in our neighbours to this letter, and I am sure they will struggle to read any further than this. So at this point I would like to cover the problems we have had living next to them, and to warn any future tenant not to make the decision to live here lightly.

Despite repeated requests through your office, to the landlord and to them all face to face, where they nod and agree to lock the doors to the garage, they seem incapable of basic security. We keep locking the doors to reinforce this point. We were storing belongings in the garage, and especially after the break-in to the beauty salon, wanted to keep them secure. Not too much to ask, especially should anything go missing, our household insurance wouldn’t be valid as we couldn’t be 100% sure the doors were locked. If there is a problem with their keys, it is their and the landlord’s responsibility to replace them. We do not have a problem with our keys, and never have, although that they keep opening the doors would imply they don’t have a problem with the keys, they are just lazy. When the door is found to be locked, we are heralded by a shout of frustration, sometimes a scream, and a huge slam of a glass door (I don’t imagine for a minute it is reinforced glass either, as that would have been too expensive to justify paying for) to show just how annoyed they are.

We also can find rubbish in our bins; we often find ours full, with no explanation other than general ignorance. Their bins are now being kept on the right hand (East) side of the garage, as they have decided that is where they are keeping them, along with finding some of their belongs, which we don’t mind, but as they struggle to park their cars in the bay on the left hand side it makes it hard for us to park our car. On the tenancy it clearly states the tenants of XXXX have the use of the East side of the garage, we’ve been moving the bins and their belongs back to their side, but are now resigned that it isn’t worth worrying about any more. These sound petty, but when you add them up against the banging of doors in and out of the garage every time; the garage door going up unnecessarily in the middle of the night, knowing full well it is under our bedroom; our pegs going missing from the line in the shared courtyard; it all adds up to a lot of stress. Before Hannah and Kim left, we were a happy community sharing the courtyard, garage and washing line quite happily. Since they left, it has been even more of a struggle to live here.

Since you have been managing the property we have found you to be helpful, sympathetic and efficient in assessing and understanding our problems, for which we are grateful and thankful for.

But I fear that your expertise will not help with this property, as it is so poorly built as to be ridiculous. I know that a new build is expensive at the best of times, but cutting corners on essentials is a false economy as rectifying the problems later costs more. During the heat of the summer, and not even during the exceptional heat experienced this year, the flat is like an oven. The landlord suggested we opened the windows to get a bit of breeze through. As the windows don’t open to allow any air to move through as they are wind-out, getting any air through is difficult. During the winter, the flat is cold, because it is a brick shell with no insulation in the walls; which had it been installed on building would also help in the summer. Because the heating is either on, or off, with no timer fitted, and we don’t want to leave it on all day, it takes an hour to warm up when we get home, also due to the thermostat being on the stairs; probably the coldest part of the flat, it then gets over hot in the bedrooms and bathrooms. It is also so noisy, you certainly can’t sleep with it on as we struggle to hear the TV or stereo, that if you shut off a grate to cut down on the noise, the carpet lifts up (as you saw on your inspection) in the living room and the bedrooms due to the carpet laying cutting corners and not completing the job properly. So we switch it off. Within 30 minutes it is cold again, as the heat escapes straight out the walls. It is easier to watch a DVD in the evenings wrapped in blankets than put up with having to turn the TV volume up and down to compensate.

But the heating is not the only thing installed poorly or cheaply: the lino is coming up in the bathroom, while the hot weather warped it, had it been laid properly it wouldn’t have moved; the windows were painted shut when Dan moved in, and still have to be forced open if they have been shut for a couple of days; the oven thermometer is between 20-30° out, discovered when we attempted to cook a roast in it and wondered why it took hours, so brought a thermometer; the blinds don’t fit properly on any of the windows; the whole building shakes and the windows rattle when the garage door goes up, or when you walk around; there are cracks in the plaster already by the bathroom window and in the bedrooms; the door handles on the cupboards are also the wrong size, so come off in your hands.

I am not going to reiterate all the major issues we had over getting basic utilities connected, but the decision from the landlord to ask the electrician to put his name on the bill, for him to then hand-deliver red bills and legal action letters from another supplier to the utilities that we were connected to and ask us to pay for them, still beggars’ belief. That we had to ask repeatedly for the phone line to be connected, to have the landlord turn up unannounced to show me where the phone socket was in the kitchen, while the line stopped in the courtyard is just another in a long line of problems that make us wish we never moved in.

Based on these issues, that Dan works in building management and that we left a rental property in the UK, built in the 1930s but still with insulation, double glazing, central heating and a timer, the rent is priced far too high for the property. The location notwithstanding, the amount of problems we have had to endure over the period of our tenancy would imply that you offer a six month tenancy for the next unlucky resident, certainly not a year. Please make the prospective tenants aware of the considerable shortcomings of this property.

We both wish you every success with marketing the property, and again wish to thank you for your unstinting hard work and effort.

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