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Tenant flush after tribunal win over toilet

26 November 2014 Staff Reporter

A dispute over a cracked toilet seat has seen a Melbourne tenant awarded close to $1,000 in a tribunal hearing.

A dispute over a cracked toilet seat has seen a Melbourne tenant awarded close to $1,000 in a tribunal hearing.

Riley Nottingham, 23, took action after waiting four months to replace the broken seat at the one-bedroom Kensington rental apartment north-west of Melbourne.

Mr Nottingham told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) the cracked toilet seat caused him injuries such as cuts to his skin, Nine's Today show reported.

The faulty loo also prevented Mr Nottingham from inviting guests to his home, and he particularly had concerns for women.

“There's a sharp crack on the porcelain, which means that if you sit on it, it cuts the skin,” he told Today. “If a girl was to come over, they couldn't sit down without touching the porcelain.”

“It wasn’t a life-or-death problem, but when you’re paying good rent, it gets to you,” he added.

Mr Nottingham said he made multiple phone calls to his property manager but the problem was not resolved. Frustrated with the service and time frame, he took the matter to VCAT.

“If they take four months to fix it, it's just crap,” he said. “It was a weird European model, so I couldn't replace it myself.”

VCAT member Jessica Klingender said the cracked seat “made the daily requirement of sitting on the toilet inconvenient, uncomfortable, potentially painful and unhygienic”.

She wrote in her decision: “A toilet is a necessity. While I accept that the landlords did make some efforts ... the tenant was without a properly functioning toilet seat for a period of some months.”

VCAT ordered landlords Kim Wah Yong and Heng Lai Liu to pay $933.57.

However, Mr Nottingham said he has little hope of receiving his payout, as he is unable to contact the landlords.

“They were ordered to pay me compensation, but now the issue is they're doing all kinds of things to not pay that,” he said. “The agent isn't giving me the address of the landlord and the magistrate’s court needs the address to get the money. So I'm probably not going to get the money.”

The toilet has since been fixed, however, Mr Nottingham has moved out of the property.

Tenant flush after tribunal win over toilet
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