Property owner convicted and fined

Dec 2016

A Brisbane property owner who took advantage of tenants by inserting unlawful terms in the tenancy agreement requiring the tenants to pay for maintenance and repairs, and also charging a late fee for overdue rent was convicted and fined $4,750 in September.

The property owner, Edward Amos, pleaded guilty to 2 charges of contracting outside the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and 1 charge of unlawfully charging penalties.

Mr Amos included special terms in a tenancy agreement that required the tenants to pay for any maintenance or repairs carried out by himself or contractors and also stated that the tenant was responsible for maintaining electricity and gas facilities. In addition, Mr Amos inserted a special term that required the tenants to pay 10 per cent interest as a penalty for overdue rent.

Although the tenants had not suffered loss and the special terms were not enforced, the magistrate noted that it was the third time Mr Amos appeared before the court for the same offences.

In sentencing, Magistrate Michael Quinn said Mr Amos was an experienced and intelligent real estate licence holder who had an advantage over the 23-year-old tenants.

"The Act is, in its terms and by its terms, necessary to protect members of the community from being manipulated and taken advantage of by persons such as yourself," Magistrate Quinn said.

RTA CEO Darren Barlow said he would not hesitate to investigate and charge people who break tenancy laws.

"It is a serious offence for a property owner to insert clauses into the tenancy agreement with the intention of taking advantage of the tenant," Mr Barlow said.

"Anyone who has questions or suspects wrong doing should make an official complaint to the RTA."