COMMENT:

I'm watching the stories on shoddy property managers and disastrous rental experiences with interest, having tried to dip my toe into the rental property market as a prospective tenant.

When looking to rent recently, we were amazed at how difficult it is to find a rental - and at the wild inconsistency in professionalism of property managers.

Half the agents we called to book viewings never even picked up the phone.

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With one house, when we eventually got a call back, the first thing we noticed was the broken front gate. As we went inside, the breakage and disrepair continued.

From the bathroom taps, to the fireplace, to the lights dangling out of the ceiling, to the oven door being jammed open.

The place was filthy, covered in cobwebs and had obviously been vacant a long time.

"You'll be fixing and cleaning all this up I take it?" my husband presumptuously asked the property manager.

"No," was the reply.

"No?" we repeated incredulous given the price.

"No," the agent reiterated.

We viewed another property we quite liked despite it having a few setbacks, and verbally agreed to take it.

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The landlord decided at that point to put the price up. Are you kidding? No thanks.

We viewed another where the landlord would only allow our dog if she stayed outside and didn't enter the property. Yeah nahhh.

Suffice to say, our experience of trying to rent, was a nightmare. And that was without even moving into one.

The shonky goings-on in the rental industry are at all ends of the spectrum too.

Just yesterday, we hear about the lawyer who won $15,000 after he took a Tenancy Tribunal case over a property manager refusing to address repairs. A broken oven, malfunctioning fridge, broken spa filter, defective bathroom fan - the list went on and on.

When the tenants met with the property manager to discuss their concerns, they were labelled, 'difficult tenants'.

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They were triumphant eventually at the Tribunal, but not without the hassle, cost and time of dragging them through the process. And many other tenants would not be in a position to even do that.

But whether it's missing pool tiles or a broken sewerage pipe, the point remains the same.
There're too many dodgy operators out there in a flooded industry, with little or no regulation.

But, and there is a but, whenever this issue is raised, we also hear from the long line of landlords arguing just the same about tenants. Dodgy renters who skip payments, trash the place, break the rules, wreak havoc.

I guess the message on either side of this debate is the same: buyer beware.