Home owner fined $11k

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS -

A PROP­ERTY owner who con­ducted ren­o­va­tions and changed the locks while her el­derly ten­ant was gravely ill in hos­pi­tal has been or­dered to pay $11,097 in fines by Fre­man­tle Mag­is­trates Court.

The Mun­ster woman, a for­mer real es­tate agent, was found guilty of con­tra­ven­ing two of­fences un­der the Res­i­den­tial Te­nan­cies Act, fined $3000 and or­dered to pay $8907 in costs.

In Fe­bru­ary 2015 she con­tacted the ten­ant’s power of at­tor­ney to or­gan­ise a view­ing of the prop­erty by prospec­tive buy­ers, and to un­der­take bath­room ren­o­va­tions.

No con­sent was given by the ten­ant or the ten­ant’s power of at­tor­ney.

De­spite the ten­ant’s re­fusal, the owner or­gan­ised for the locks to be changed and il­le­gally took pos­ses­sion of the prop­erty to carry out ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions while the lease was in place.

The ten­ant, or her power of at­tor­ney, could ac­cess the prop­erty to re­cover per­sonal be­long­ings such as clothes and med­i­ca­tion.

An ap­pli­ca­tion to the Mag­is­trates Court had to be made by the ten­ant’s power of at­tor­ney for ac­cess to the prop­erty.

The 87-year-old ten­ant, who had rented the prop­erty since 1985, died in June 2015.

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion lawyers told the Court the ac­tions were op­por­tunis­tic, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the ten­ant be­ing in hos­pi­tal.

Act­ing Com­mis­sioner for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion David Hill­yard said this case demon­strated the ne­ces­sity of the strict laws gov­ern­ing the owner’s ac­cess to a rental prop­erty.

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