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October 12, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Stupid people and other tenancy woes

I’m going to go over two issues today. One is damage at the end of a tenancy; the other is Rent in Advance. And yes, I capitalise the second issue, not because it’s particularly important but because I just felt like it.

I am going to share a story with you about an interesting little situation that once arose at the end of one of my tenancy situations. I was living in a nice place with about four other people and the fixed term tenancy we had was ending. I had decided to move closer to the city and in a bold move was moving in with my then girlfriend. Very pretty girl, fuck knows why in the hell she dated me for four years. This has nothing to do with the tenancy issue, but it is interesting to note that I have, in the past, managed to convince women to date me.

Next to our place was another apartment. We both had the same landlord, and like us they were moving out. Unfortunately one of the tenants in their flat had caused some damage to the kitchen bench. I would like to say they were idiots but in fact they were reasonably passable human beings, especially considering they were students. Nothing huge, a small bit of the bench had been chipped off. Now these guys were freaking out a bit when they asked me for some advice, as the landlord had informed them that they would have to replace the entire kitchen bench, and due to its nature this was going to cost them about three grand.

This sort of situation is not unique. There is often damage at the end of tenancies. Often it’s accidental and often it’s due to moronic tenants. Piece of advice, if you ever want to become a landlord, never, under any circumstances, invest in white carpet for a tenancy.

Back to the kitchen bench dilemma. In this sort of situation you need to use what minimal brain functions you posses and think intelligently. If you owned your own house and you chipped the kitchen bench you wouldn’t fork out three grand to get it fixed. Most people would probably just ignore it, but if you did decide to do something about it you would look at getting just that small chipped area fixed. This is assuming you aren’t a flaming retard. Same argument works for all manner of problems. Stain on the carpet, you don’t replace all the bloody carpet. Hole in the wall, only someone with the intelligence level of a Laws student would rip out the wall and try to build a new one (hopefully toppling the roof on top of themselves in the process).

Basically, a tenant moving out is not an excuse for the landlord to do up the place at the tenants’ expense. So don’t go agreeing to pay for a new chandelier because you broke the light bulb in the foyer. Then again if there was a chandelier there previously and you smashed it into oblivion after deciding to play a game of drunken chandelier swinging you’re kinda fucked.

Now Rent in Advance is something that really pisses me off. It’s a simple concept really, you pay some money then get use of a tenancy, then you pay some more money and get more use, etc, etc. Once again some people seem to have difficulty with its simplicity. Do people see a simple concept and decide “Fuck that, I’m too awesome to bother with simplicity. I’m going to knock the simplicity into obscurity so that I no longer have a clue what I am doing”. Or is it just that people really are that stupid?

The landlord can only ask for up to two weeks’ rent in advance. That’s not to stop a tenant paying more, however. Hell, if you have a fixed term tenancy for a year you can pay for the year up front if you have the money. Bad idea if you’re good at saving money, good idea if you’re a chronic gambler and likely to blow all your money on a horse named Irawina.

So if your landlord tells you that you need to pay two weeks’ rent in advance and then two weeks’ rent at the start of a tenancy, inform them that they are an idiot, as that’s just four weeks rent in advance. And that sort of shoddy bookkeeping leads to errors, and given enough time those errors turn into tenancy tribunal hearings.

For tenancy information see the Department of Building and Housing website. For tenancy advice you can also call Tenancy Services on 0800 83 62 62. For bond enquiries you can call 0800 73 76 66.

Got a tenancy issue you think I should consider? Flick me an email at


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