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ice queen

The little backyard that could...

And in the "Score one for the little guys" competition ....

The saga starts early January 2006. My flatmates found this house (the one I live in now). Four bedrooms, no lounge room (hey, that's what the kitchen is for, isn't it?). Nice big backyard. Vegies, a tree, grass, compost heap (well, we made that...). We knew before we signed that the new owner would, after 3 months, reclaim part of the yard so that he could store a trailer. That was okay, we thought: how much land does a trailer take up? Well, we found out much sooner than expected. We received a call at 10am on a Monday morning, two months into our tenancy. "Your landlord is coming around tomorrow to conduct maintenance on the fence". Apparently 'maintenance' translates into: "tearing down your fence and re-erecting it 3 metres from your backdoor, placing it straight through your vegie garden and depriving you of your clothesline". Oh, and he's not storing a trailer, he's planning on building a car park to rent to the shops on busy Sydney Road nearby. I came home on Tuesday to discover what he'd done, and honestly? I felt traumatised. Physically sick. Not only had he taken more than we'd thought, but he'd done it a month ahead of schedule, for a totally different reason than we'd been told, and he'd ruined our vegie garden. But what could we do?

You'd be surprised. He'd been such an arse about it, we decided to take him on. First step: contacting the council to see if he'd lodged a request for permits for the 'carpark' plan. No, he had not. A letter to the council was drafted. No more carpark. Secondly, We thought we'd just run it by the Tenant's Union, to be sure of our rights. They suggested a letter to the real estate, complaining about the transgressions (2 months, not 3; carpark, not trailer; no clothesline...) We requested: 1) increased security, 2) a new clothesline; and 3) a rent reduction. Answer: a deadbolt, a clothesline, no rent reduction. So, we contacted the Department of Consumer Affairs and requested an independent valuation of the property to see how much rent we should be paying. Upshot? Our backyard has been reinstated and $520 has been knocked off this months' rent as compensation for time without our backyard. Okay, granted, the landlord razed the backyard (we now have a mud pit) and put up a fence so dodgy that the current strong winds have blown it down, but we won. And the real estate is going to  inspect the backyard and will have to order him to fix the fence or knock this month's rent even lower. TAKE THAT, ASHLEY - YOU PRICK! 

The short version: never be afraid to stand up for yourself. What have you got to lose that someone hasn't already tried to take from you?



Go you! Good on you for not letting him walk all over you! Reclaim your vege patch!! :D
we ended up getting another $40 off this month's rent because of the fence blowing down and having to be rebuilt (another week without the yard). HA!
Ha! Excellent! You should spend that $40 on buying plants and veges for the garden to rub his face in it ;)