A legal tribunal has found in favour of a property management company and overturned a ruling that it compensate two former tenants.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal overruled a decision from August 2014 that ruled against KTK Property Management and in favour of tenants Victor Ho and Blythe Ho.
The tribunal also dismissed the awarding of $3,000 compensation to Mr and Mrs Ho.
The dispute was triggered in 2013 when the place being rented by the Hos suffered termite damage. The termites were removed but damage to a window sill wasn’t repaired, according to the tribunal.
“In April 2014, KTK issued a notice to remedy breach to remove an illegal structure that Mr and Mrs Ho had built in the courtyard,” the tribunal said.
“In May 2014, Mr and Mrs Ho filed a dispute resolution request with the Residential Tenancies Authority.
“In late May 2014, they filed a claim for compensation for the loss of enjoyment caused by the [termite] damage. Two JPs ordered KTK pay Mr and Mrs Ho $3,000 compensation.”
KTK appealed to the tribunal, in part because it claimed the tenants did not file their claim within six months of the breach of tenancy agreement, as required by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
The tribunal agreed that the claim had been filed too late and therefore should never have been heard.
The original finding also wrongly accepted that Mr and Mrs Ho had suffered a “substantial decrease in the amenity of the property” due to the termite damage, according to the tribunal.
The tribunal said the odour from the termite bait was not strong enough to affect the tenants or make them alter their living arrangements, as they had argued.
It was also noted that Mr and Mrs Ho renewed their tenancy agreement in March 2014 and accepted a rental increase of $10 per week.
“KTK offered them a six-month tenancy agreement but Mr and Mrs Ho asked for a 12-month tenancy agreement,” the tribunal said.
“These are not the actions of tenants who consider there has been a substantial diminution in the amenity of the property.”