Trashed home sparks battle
WHEN Shirley Olsen rented out her beloved Rockhampton family home she trusted it would be in safe hands.
But it quickly turned into a nightmare when she rented it to an insulation company and up to 20 people moved in causing more than $10,000 worth of damage.
Even though the Agnes Street home is now back in Mrs Olsen’s possession she says she is left to clean up the mess at her own expense.
This issue has now turned into a massive blame game between Mrs Olsen, the real estate agency and the tenants – who are all taking legal action against each other.
Mrs Olsen has sought legal advice about the issue to counteract claims she had trespassed and caused most of the damage herself.
She said after the tenants officially moved out an inspection showed damage to the front gate, mattresses, scorch marks on bench tops and filthy carpet and lounges.
The Morning Bulletin yesterday contacted the businesses who cleaned the house last week who agreed the house was truly “filthy”.
The business owner said “it looked like a heap of workers had been living there and had not showered”.
A neighbour to the Agnes Street home said when he first went to introduce himself there was rubbish everywhere and people were always “coming and going at all hours of the night”.
Another neighbour described the living conditions as like “Christmas every night”.
Mrs Olsen said her nightmare began in December when she agreed to rent out her home, as it had become too big for her to live in alone.
She agreed for six tenants who worked for a ceiling insulation company to live there and said when she first me them they were “lovely people”.
But Mrs Olsen said there were a lot more than six people living there, as she was told by an occupant, who was also on a student visa.
She said an occupant told her that 10 men slept in the main room and a few women slept in another.
All Mrs Olsen wants now is to be compensated for the damage that was caused, but it won’t stop there with pending legal action in the mix.
She said she approached The Morning Bulletin because she wanted to warn other landlords of the risk of renting a home.
“You think when you put your house in the hands of a real estate it would be safe,” she said.
The principal of the real estate agency in question yesterday refuted all allegations made by Mrs Olsen.
She said all cleaning would be paid out of the tenants $2400 bond including pest control and carpet and mattress cleaning.
The principal said the extent of damage Mrs Olsen was claiming was incorrect and there was definitely never more than six people living at the home. “Yes they did have large gatherings, but you can’t stop people from going over there for dinner or gathering there,” she said.
The principal said Mrs Olsen also trespassed on one occasion and this would form part of their legal action.
Mrs Olsen said she only entered the property because of its abandoned state and because Ergon Energy had said power had never been applied for.
She said when she went over to the home, as she lived nearby, the power was off and she saw rats under the house and feared something was wrong.
All three parties have filed complaints with the Residential Tenancy Authority’s dispute resolution centre.
Mrs Olsen said she was unsure of what to do next with her rental property because she was now out of pocket.