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‘Don’t go private’: landlords who didn’t use PMs and regretted it

20 January 2017 Hannah Blackiston
‘Don’t go private’: landlords who didn’t use PMs and regretted it

Another horror story of a landlord who chose to privately rent their home has emerged this week. Why do landlords chose to rent privately and what happens when it all goes wrong?

Amanda Rehbein’s nightmare began when she decided to rent her investment property to a family she found on Gumtree.

However, Ms Rehbein told the Bundaberg NewsMail that after the tenants had been in the Sharon, Queensland property for just five months, she found out they had completely trashed the premises. 

The damage caused Ms Rehbein, of Bundaberg, Queensland, an estimated $10,000.


Property investors often turn to private rentals in a bid to save money, assuming that managing a property isn’t worth the fees property managers charge. But it doesn’t always work out and some investors end up losing more money than they would have if they had hired a property manager.

Executive general manager of Terri Scheer Insurance, Carolyn Parrella, has seen some incredible landlord claims for tenant damage, including the time a tenant stole the entire kitchen from an investment property.

“They say ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, but in this instance they stole that too,” Ms Parrella said.

“Until then, I’d never heard of a tenant liking a kitchen so much they decide to take it with them when they leave. From my experience, theft from investment properties is more common than landlord realise.”

It’s not just damages that landlords are forced to deal with. Without a PM to oversee tenants and contracts, landlords can find themselves out of pocket if their tenants leave earlier than expected.

Investor Rhys Drake learned his lesson the hard way when his investment in Mackay, Queensland was left empty by tenants he had entered into a private leasing agreement with.

“The tenant was properly screened and all the rest of it and everything looked good, but six or seven weeks in, they ended up doing a runner due to family issues,” Mr Drake said.

“They gave us the keys back, but there was a bit of damage to the place – nothing too crazy. It was just pretty standard stuff, carpets and stuff like that. After they moved out, it sat vacant for about two or three months. It was nearly all covered by insurance, but I was out of pocket by about $1,000 once the insurance came back.”

Mr Drake also found his private tenants via Gumtree, a popular website for landlords trying to save money in the rental process.

At the end of the day, the savings were not worth it for Ms Rehbein, who now has to deal with rubbish, maggots and faeces allegedly left behind by her former tenants.

She is seeking to educate other landlords, advising investors thinking of renting privately, “Don't go private”. 

‘Don’t go private’: landlords who didn’t use PMs and regretted it
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