Asking for a Rent Reduction - Am I Being Unreasonable?

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for the advice, I'll leave this one alone! Appreciate the advice on how to handle this kind of thing in the future too

Hi everyone, hoping for some advice here, not sure if I'm being insane.

The oven in our rental started acting strange a couple of months back. The thermostat wasn't working, so it continued heating up to insane temperatures (so hot that the handle of the oven door couldn't be handled for more than a second without it being very uncomfortable), and then it started producing a horrible plasticy burning smell and some smoke. Our property manager organised an electrician came out to replace the thermostat, however the horrible smell continued. After 8 weeks of back and forth (sometimes requiring us to follow up multiple times to get a response or an update), I finally got sick of it and asked for a rent reduction of 5% from the date we requested the repair, until it was fixed. Low and behold, the oven was replaced 3 days later. In my opinion, 8 weeks is an unreasonable amount of time for this to take to be fixed - I would not have asked for a rent reduction if it was a more reasonable time, or even if they had kept me more updated during the process, rather than me having to send 2 emails and call them to get them to give me any kind of update.

They are now saying that my request for a rental reduction has confused them, as they are saying the oven was functional the whole time, and it was our decision not to use it - which I feel is a bit of a stretch, as someone from the real estate agent and the electrician both came out and both confirmed that it was producing a horrible smell, and that it was heating up to an unsafe level. I went back and claimed that I disagreed, that I didn't feel comfortable preparing food in it, etc. It's now been a week since I sent that email and they haven't responded, and I'm wondering whether I should chase it up, or let sleeping dogs lie. At this point it is mostly about the principle of it, I feel a bit defeated just letting them get away with it by just ignoring my emails again.

What do you think, should I chase the rent reduction up? Or am I being too hard on a business that is probably heavily affected by the current climate?

Poll Options

  • 13
    Chase it up
  • 57
    Leave it alone

Comments

  • +7 votes

    I probably wouldn't have waited for 8 weeks to threaten them but since they have replaced it probably just leave it alone?

    •  

      Yeah, lesson learned for next time I guess. When would you say is the appropriate time to ask for a reduction? I've never been in this situation before - the last property I was living in had fantastic real estate agents, every time maintenance was required it was fixed within a week or so.

      • +2 votes

        Depends on the landlord as well since approval is generally needed before a non-urgent repair/replacement can take place.

        I would give it a maximum of two weeks. Give them the first week to sort it out, start hassling through the second week and ask for a reduction at the end of the second week if still no response.

  • +4 votes

    Hey you got a free lesson, next time you have a real problem just push for a rent reduction immediately and the problem will get fixed quicker. :)

  • +2 votes

    Typical real-estate stuff. you are going to have a hard time getting anything out of them (including the truth).
    I would just take this opportunity to make sure any other required repairs are bought to their attention and rectified now (hopefully there are none)

  • +4 votes

    Not sure what state you are in
    but in vic process goes like this:

    1) You contact them and request formally the repair
    … wait 14 days
    2) Send agent 'Breach of Duty Notice"
    …wait 14 days
    3) List matter with VCAT, it is considered an urgent matter as you have sent B.O.D notice so will be heard within 3 Biz days.
    Vcat makes an order requiring repairs be completed within 5 biz days (if they decide in your favour)

    Now.. if after this its still not fixed, you contact VCAT again and they will have another emergency hearing within 1 day
    And if they again find in your favour, rent will be paid into a VCAT account and held until works are completed.

    Now.. in the current climate things are a bit different but VCAT is still working however its mostly via remote means (online or by email )

    Now if you are not in VIC, i am sure your state has a similar system.

    •  

      Hey thanks for this, I am in VIC, so very helpful for the future!

      • +2 votes

        sending the B.O.D notice (u can find on the VCAT website) almost always gets them to act.
        Agents know a notice means your are being serious about things and are willing to take it further.

  • +1 vote

    Ask for cooking lesson voucher

    • +3 votes

      Didn't you hear, its a free six months for everyone..

      hahaha sure sure if you think its 'free' rent, then you have a rude shock coming.

  • +3 votes

    What do you think, should I chase the rent reduction up?

    Lets say you're paying $600/wk rent, so you want a $30/wk reduction for 8 weeks, so $240? Only paying $300/wk, then you're after $120?

    The oven is fixed, move on.

    • +3 votes

      A few months later, new thread:

      Landlord refuses to renew lease for "no reason"!

      • +2 votes

        Landlord refuses to renew lease for "no reason"!

        Yep or landlord has raised the rent $20/wk for 'no reason'.

      •  

        It's not like I came to give a sob story here, I came for advice on what the appropriate thing to do in the situation is. Advice has been to let it go, so that's what I'm going to do.

        •  

          It's not like I came to give a sob story here

          ok……

          Advice has been to let it go, so that's what I'm going to do.

          Great to hear, my example was to show you how much you would be getting back if you pushed it. 5% for 8 weeks is generally nothing as shown and not worth the fight and pissing the landlord off, otherwise you might find a sharp rent increase next renewal :)

  • +1 vote

    bikies!

    • -1 vote

      Sorry, but the OZbargain bikies are no longer available for hire under current social distancing and stay at home laws. Please deal with the problem yourself.

      •  

        Jokes aside they are actually getting hammered by the police, using the "no gatherings" laws as an excuse to raid their clubhouses.

        •  

          using the "no gatherings" laws as an excuse to raid their clubhouses.

          and the problem is?

          Gun clubs can't gather, football clubs can't gather. gym junkies can't gather.

          So why should bikies?

  •  

    Leave it alone. They paid for an electrician to inspect, and subsequently replaced the oven. You got the end result you desired.

    With these sort of things you have to pick your battles. Whether your time and effort is worth it. Keep in mind you have no chance of getting it heard at VCAT for a very long time under the current climate.

    A different Landlord may have refused to inspect or replace unless it was completely dead, and would have made the process inherently harder for you.

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