Everyone knows about the pain and struggle of renting and real estate agents. It’s stressful, you’re navigating a very foreign and ‘grown up’ world, and at the end of the day you just want somewhere to live. But never did I think that moving out was the hard part. Early this year when our lease came to an end, we went through the typical end of lease proceedings. Cleaned the house like a motherfucker! Unfortunately due to our naivety, the real estate’s attempt to exploit and abuse us and the system, we ended up in a 9 month case with the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). I didn’t want to do it, hell I wanted to cop the loss of our bond and be done with it. But we fought and we fought hard. Looking back I’m bloody glad we did.
Here’s some things I learned going through the shittest adult thing. EVER!
Take photos. Take photos. Take photos.
One thing I wish I did more of throughout this whole situation was to TAKE PHOTOS! Put a date stamp on them and photograph everything. Print them out so they’re ready. Make sure there’s a date stamp otherwise it can be argued it was taken at a different time or date. Take photos of things you didn’t even know you had to take photos of. You will never regret taking too many photos when moving out, especially if it comes to this point.
Going through this kind of procedure is incredibly complex and quite demanding in regards to the evidence and paperwork you need to provide. Being organised it absolute key! Photocopy everything, print every photo, email, quote, invoice and text message and group them together. You need to allow the evidence to speak for itself and the only way to make sure you’re speaking clearly is to have your shit organised. So whatever it is you’re going through, being organised will put you on the path to speak like the eloquent millennial you are.
Know your rights and what you’re entitled to
This may sound obvious have you ever stopped to look up your rights as tenants? I hadn’t prior to this experience. So we familiarised ourselves with the NSW Fair Trading website and sought information from various sources. Being able to reference specific acts or policies to support your case is incredibly valuable. But it’s also incredibly important to make sure you are well informed so that you can take ownership of your dispute and feel empowered by your knowledge.
When times get tough, times will keep getting tougher
There will be moments where you want to give up. One thing adds to another and another and another and suddenly your’e on the brink of your midlife crisis because you’ve somehow aged 30 years due to the stress! The important thing to remember is to breathe, take a moment, seek support from your friends and know that you’re trying your best.
Fight for what is right
I think the only reason we ended up going through this whole process was because we felt we were treated unfairly. This big organisation that was trying to defame our character. I found the way they treated us entirely disrespectful and insulting which I was not going to tolerate. The way in which I was spoken to was appalling and it’s disgusting to this that there are people like this living alongside us in our society. And I wanted to stand up for myself, my friends and say that this is unnacceptable.
In the end, it wasn’t about the money. We’d committed hours of our time, sleep and energy into this. We would’ve been financially better off if we let them walk all over us with the amount of time we had to take off work. It was about sticking up for ourselves and saying that we will not be taken advantage off. And guess what? It paid off.
As much as this experience sucked, it was definitely an experience that has (unfortunately) taught me a lot. The world and the people in it are not always kind, and some people will try to take advantage of you. But your kindness, understanding, organisation, determination and strength will skyrocket you past those losers trying to take advantage of you. Kill them with kindness and show em who’s boss.
For more information you can refer to the NSW Fair Trading ‘Get Your Bond Back’ Kit
Plus you may find the ABC’s article on getting your bond back very interesting (I sure did!).
[I originally wrote this article for Twenty Something Humans]