Ah! Home Sweet Home. A place where you can leave all your worries behind and kick back with a cold beer and your favourite Netflix show. Everybody has their personal favourite ritual that they carry out after a long hard day at work. So what happens when you have finally decided to move out but can’t seem to find a new home anywhere because you have a bad rental reference?! There are many reasons people get a bad rental reference. The top two reasons are either because they fell behind in paying rental arrears or the house was left in a complete wreckage after officially vacating the premises.
Once you have a bad rental reference from your landlord or real estate agency, it can make it much harder for you to find a place to stay and live. There are several ways you may be able to rectify this or find another solution.
Here are some of the top tips we’ve heard from our customers on the ways you can get yourself out of a bad referencing rut.
Tip 1: Talk to your real estate
I know this can be a little tough if you haven’t always gotten along with your real estate agent, but now is the time to rectify this. You simply can’t have a bad relationship with your real estate, because they can literally make it impossible for you to find a place. All they have to do when they are called up for a reference is say, “The previous tenant was the worst tenant we’ve ever leased the place/property to.” (Or you know, something to that effect). And just like that *poof*, that stunning place you had your eye on isn’t within grasp anymore because of a couple of words. It doesn’t have to be this way though, you could do the mature thing and call them up. Try to reason with them and explain your situation. You may be able to come to a common ground with them. For example, if the reason they have given you a bad reference is because of your rent arrears then develop a payment plan to start paying the arrears back in small amounts. By doing this, they will see you in a better light and it may get them to stop giving you a bad reference to other real estate agents! Now, if the reason you are getting a bad reference is due to the condition the place was left in after officially leaving the premises, then that can be a tough one to get out of. However, if there was a strong reason behind it, it may be worth it to call the real estate and explain what happened. They may be understanding, or they might want you to pay for the damages/ cleaning. Either way, take a deep breath, compose yourself, and start dialing!
Tip 2: Getting out the big guns!
In some cases, you may be the victim targeted by a poorly run real estate agency. We have heard stories where a couple was homeless for weeks because they had not been informed by the real estate that they had been blacklisted! And, um, I’m not sure if everyone is aware but it is a legal obligation to inform tenants that they are being blacklisted. We have also heard a case where the real estate had deducted bond for property damages that had been present since before the tenant even moved in! Whatever the case, if you know you have done nothing wrong but still keep receiving a bad reference, then it’s time to approach QCAT. QCAT is an accessible tribunal that resolves disputes regarding a range of matters including residential tenancy. They are generally free, or if you are claiming a large amount then you may be charged a small fee. Visit their website to learn more about their services. Or you could call them on 13 74 68. They will be able to advise you on the best way to approach the situation as well as the form you will need to fill out and submit. Once it has been processed and you have a tribunal hearing, you need to come prepared with evidence of how the real estate has wronged you. For example, if they didn’t inform you that you were blacklisted, then print a record of all your email and text exchanges to prove it. If the tribunal goes in your favour, you will have your bad name removed in no time!
Tip 3: Appeal to your future real estate agents with an appeal letter
So if you have decided to completely flush out the option of getting in contact with your current real estate to resolve matters, that’s fine. Makes your life a little harder, but there still may be a way out of it. If you are getting a bad reference from your real estate, it does not necessarily have to mean the end of the world. A bad reference works two ways, the one who gives it, and the one who receives it. If you have decided to cut out the one who gives it, then it’s time to target the one who receives it, i.e. your to-be real estate agent. When you place an application for a place and you know you are going to get a bad reference, attach a counter appeal letter explaining why you are receiving a bad reference. Additionally, pull up your history of renting. If you have rented several times before and this is your first bad reference, you have a stronger case on your side. Include your previous rental history in your application. That, along with your appeal letter may give your future real estate agent a strong enough reason to look past the one bad reference and forward your application to the landlord. If you want to go a step further, take the initiative to call up your past real estate agents/ landlords and ask them to write a reference for you stating that you have always been a good and respectable tenant.
Tip 4: Time to go private!
That’s right. If you have exhausted all possibility of ever being able to rent through a real estate agent. It’s time to try for private rentals. The reason many people don’t go this route is because there aren’t nearly as many private rentals out there compared to real estate rentals. However in saying this, there has been an increase in private rentals recently because according to consumer group Choice, 35% of Australians rent a place/ receive accommodation through private rentals. Private rentals cut out the need for the middleman, or in other words, the real estate agent. This can make it much easier for you to be able to rent a place as you can communicate directly with the landlord/ property manager. There are several ways of finding private rentals including websites, gumtree and word of mouth. Contact your friends, or friends of friends, and relatives, and aunts, and uncles, and nieces, and anyone you can, that may know contacts of people renting a place privately. Hey, you never know where your luck may shine! However, people can also be wary of private rentals because they don’t come with a Rental Tenancies Authority paperwork, which means if something goes wrong, it will be hard to dispute. And unfortunately, a lot can go wrong with private rentals. For example, your landlord can increase your rent whenever they wish, and in some cases, people have been asked to pay for basic plumbing repairs that had nothing to do with them. There are ways to avoid private rental traps too though, that is, keeping a paper trail and so on. Here is a very informative article published by the ABC on private rentals and how you can avoid getting into a bad private rental situation.
The Bottom Line
If you have found yourself in a bad referencing rut, it can get incredibly stressful and, at times, heartbreaking, trying to find a place and failing constantly. There are so many things you are responsible for while searching for a place. Having to juggle work, your commitments and the stresses of life. In the midst of all this, being homeless can be daunting. But you always need to keep your shoulders held high, take a deep breath and maybe sit by the fireplace at night with a cup of hot chocolate and relax for just a little bit to think about all your options. Not being able to find a place is hard, but with a good support network and a place to crash you’ll be back on top in no time. Watch out for our “Where To Stay While You’re In Between Places” article on the top places for affordable accommodation while you’re looking for a permanent place to call your home. In the meantime, if you are looking to store your belongings or move them to a different location, contact Redcliffe Removals today for a quote! We guarantee good quality services at affordable rates.