What is acceptable, just got keys to a trashed apartment for rent

So… I've never been in this position and I don't know what my rights are or what is the norm, so I decided to do what you do… turn to ozb for advice.

I inspected an apartment at a great location, there was items inside the house and it was overall dirty which is somewhat what you expect when someone is moving out so I kinda assumed it would all be removed and cleaned by the time someone new would move in.

Today I went into collect keys and the first thing the agent said was- " the house is filthy dirty, I don't get disgusted easily but I'm disgusted, just be warned" furniture hasn't been cleared - though the word furniture is rather generous for the moldy, broken and torn pieces of large garbage that was left behind. Nothing is realy usable or liveable. The floor are disgustingly covered in all sorts of rubbish, benches and draws have sticky shit and dirt all over it. The toilet which I hadn't looked inside the bowl till the agent warned me.. hadn't been flushed in months and had litreal shit to the brim.

She first suggested I use the furniture - and I told her I didn't have a need for broken torn bits of things and had my own furniture. So they said they'd move it potentially but to move my things to the side till they could organise it. She also asked if I could just get cleaners to clean it myself.
And the real issue is she kept asking whether the agent who showed me the place had said they'd clean it up/or if they'd remove furniture. I mean does it really matter if she had or not ? Is there not a standard that a house should be liveable in order for an agency to rent them out ?
I refused to collect the keys and but I don't know where this leaves me. As I already paid rent and bond
Is there a scenario where they could turn this on me and expect me to deal with it? Clean up of this place no exageration would cost thousands - it's an apartment so moving large dirty furniture out on these stairs alone would cost a decent chunk. I never signed anything that said I accept the property in its current state nor did they ever ask.

What are my rights ? Is this normal or acceptable in any form ?


  • +6

    Something doesn't sound right here…!
    You went to inspect the apartment which was a mess. Then you went to collect the keys (but you you say later on that you've never signed anything), then you say you refused to collect the keys. But you've already paid the rent and bond.

    So what exactly have you done?

    If you haven't signed anything, then demand your money back and find another place!

    (To be honest, even if they cleaned it up, I wouldn't live there simply because these agents don't seem to have a clue what's going on. Imagine you needed some maintenance during your tenancy or you needed something fixed urgently - good luck with that!)

    • +2

      I inspected the property last month - I assumed the person living there was moving out and that it would all be cleaned by the time I'd move in (I mean I've seen lot of this type of properties and they just clean it all up after tenant moves out + the agent who showed it said it would be sorted before anyone moves in)

      I signed a contract already - heck my lease has stated already. But some forms (online 2apply ones) ask if you accept the property in its current condition- this property didn't have that so although I have a signed contract it didn't say that I accept it in its current state (didn't mention anything about it).

      • Have you got pictures of this place?

        Go back to the agent and demand in writing that they clean it up (at their cost) because it's a "health hazard" and, if not, let them know you'll be lodging an application with VCAT to break the lease and recover the amounts you've paid.

        If you really want this place and are willing to be a little softer, then give them notice in writing that if it's not cleaned up to a 'livable' condition by a reasonable date (rent-free until then!) , then you will organise cleaners to do so and send them the bill.

        • +3

          I think second option is a great idea. I've already given my notice at my original place so I can't exactly find another place in this time. And I like the apartment outside of the filth which is cleanable.

  • +13

    definitely not acceptable, the apartment should be empty and spotless before you move in

  • +18

    Property manager hasn't done their job.
    Probably took the bond from the previous tenant to clean up the apartment and never got the apartment cleaned.
    Property manager's like this should be named and shamed.

    Should set up a property manager rating service.

  • +8

    Get your phone out and document everything .

  • +2

    on the flip side you wont have to clean it before moving out… no chance of losing ya bond :D

    • +4

      That's one glass half full attitude ahha. But I don't think I could ever leave an apartment in this state, even if I tried

  • +5

    REA got some guts expecting someone to take over an apartment in that condition. Tell them they're dreaming and give them a date - rent free until then and the lease doesn't start till then. or the contract ends.

    • OP has already given his notice at his old place though, so hes still going to outlay a loooot of money for somewhere to store furniture temporarily and to live in as well.

      move in with the agent until sorted, done! xD

    • +5

      I suspect you have no clue what you're on about.

  • +2

    As it is not habitable get out of the lease or get them to get in a cleaner tomorrow to fix everything.

    If the REA does not do anything speak with the REA principle.

  • +1

    Where are you OP? Renting laws differ from state to state.

    Start with trying to get onto your relevant tenants union (tenants Vic where I am - even just start with their website so you’re not getting useless “help” from a forum - lots of helpful folk here but lots of unhelpful advice). Worst case call your relevant Consumer Affairs/fair trading for information.

    In Vic you would find section 65 helpful if you just want it cleaned and would move in if it was - http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/rta199720....

    Or If not keen to move in have a look at 91L - http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/rta199720....

    Best of luck.

  • +1

    Usually the REA does a condition report after the previous tenant moves out and cleaned the place. They would go around and take notes on condition/damages. You would then go through this condition report after you take the lease/keys and either agree or dispute the points in it.

    It sounds like they have not even done the condition report.

    It is best if you have photos of the current condition. If you have not taken over the keys, dont fret.

    Please bear in mind that tenants vic might take some time, however I suggest you try to contact them ASAP.
    In the absolute worse case situation, legal aid might be able to help.

    You do need to let the REA do something to resolve this. However do not let them push you to agree to anything you do not want. IF it comes to arbitration, you need to show that your request is reasonable.

    Good luck!

  • +4

    Your slumlord wants you to do and pay for his work for him. If the owner is too cheap and greedy to clean his own house then I doubt he will let just let you leave your contract either, as it would cost him thousands of dollars in lost rent plus he would certainly need to pay to get it in order before the next tenant moves in. Best case for the slumlord is you clean it yourself, you pay for disposal of all the trash, and probably the slumlord plans on keeping your bond for the damage that was already done before you collected your keys.

    But even if the owner did pay to get it all in order, do you really want to be living there anyway? Suppose there is a leak in the future or a the dishwasher stops working, do you really want to the hassle and time spent fighting for every basic repair.

  • +4

    If you do move in insist that:
    -all furniture and rubbish are moved out
    - it is professionally cleaned including windows and cupboards
    - if it has carpets they are shampooed/steamed by a professional.

    I’d also ask for a pest inspection and treatment after it’s been cleaned, but it depends on the state and the contract whether this is included.

    I’d then go over all the cleaning myself before moving my stuff in.

    If they don’t do this. Go for termination of lease based on the property not being habitable.

    You shouldn’t have to pay for the rent until the property is habitable.

    If you still have access, save a copy of the property listing, including if it said it was furnished or unfurnished.

    Also make sure you do a property inspection noting anything broken, soiled etc on moving in. Take photos and email it to yourself and the agent.

  • +11

    How can you post a story like this without showing us pics

  • -1

    MS Paint Diagram Please (If you can't supply pix)?

  • Don't move in until it's fully cleaned or don't take it.

  • +1

    Have a look at this article, it seems to infer that the landlord does have some such responsibility.


    As for the REA asking whether the other REA said it would be cleaned, if the other REA said it would be they could be in legal trouble if they claimed it and did not clean. It sounds like she's trying to figure out what legal consequences there may be if they don't clean it.

    If it were QLD and the property is unhabitable, it's possible since there's already a contract that the landlord could potentially under legislation be responsible for providing you paid accommodation elsewhere until it is resolved. If you were to bring up this to the REA that you will take this to VCAT (iirc) and the landlord would be responsible for your accommodation fees in the mean time, it could potentially grease the wheels.

    I'm just starting in real estate, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I'm also no lawyer.


    Consumer Affairs Victoria - Renters guide

    Problems with the property when you move in

    The rental provider must ensure the property is in good repair and fit to live in. It does not matter how much rent you are paying or how old the property is.

    You can ask the rental provider to fix the problem. If they do not, contact us for information and advice.

    I also wonder whether the REA would also be legally responsible for renting out a residential property in this condition. I'd ask them this question.

    No REA wants to fear losing their REA license or other penalties. The hope is that an unethical REA will find it better to fix the problems and get in line with the law than to risk everything. Then you can avoid actually having to go down any legal route.

    Make sure you photograph and document everything as evidence.

    Make sure when and if you move in you have the proper entry report done and signed by all parties with the condition of everything and lots of photo evidence.

  • +1

    Take photos and refuse to take them up on the offer of rental. Find a different place.

    That is not acceptable at all.

  • +1

    Get out

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