Tenant slams real estate agent over 'humiliating' end of lease experience

The Sydney tenant described dealing with the 'nitpicking' agent as an 'oppressive' ordeal.

A Sydney tenant trying to leave his rental property says his "nitpicking" real estate agent made the experience nothing short of "humiliating".

During an end of lease inspection last Tuesday, the tenant claims he was subjected to a gruelling three-hour interrogation by the agent over the property's condition. "It was the most oppressive and humiliating experience," he posted on Facebook over the weekend.

The tenant shared a screenshot from the real estate agent which read 'the property needs to be vacuum cleaned again, we can still find cat hair almost everywhere,' alongside an image of the sole of his black sock with a few specks of dust.
The tenant was sent an image of the real estate agent's sock, claiming cat hair was 'everywhere' in the rental property. Source: Facebook/NorthernBeachesLiving

From making "misogynistic" comments to his partner about cleaning, to complaining about a "cracked toilet seat" after months of ignoring the tenant's emails on the matter, the real estate agent stooped as low as sending a picture of their sock to the tenant.

"The property needs to be vacuumed clean again, we can still find cat hair almost everywhere," the text message read, showing the sole of the real estate's foot with a few hairs visible on the black sock.

The tenant said he was so "fed up" of having to put up with an apartment "with many leaking issues for years" only to be "bullied and harassed even after our move". "What can we do apart from NSW Fair Trading?" he wrote.

What can tenants do if they find themselves in this position

The main purpose of end of lease inspections is to allow real estate agents to check if maintenance and repairs are required, however, many tenants instead feel under scrutiny during the process.

"Renters often have the experience of real estate agents using inspections as a means to surveil or ‘nit-pick’ how a home is kept," Tenants’ Union of NSW CEO Leo Patterson Ross told Yahoo News Australia.

"The agent should primarily be there to check for any needed maintenance or repairs, as well as check in on the performance of the tenancy agreement.

"If a renter is leaving the property at the end of a lease, they can send an application to Fair Trading via post to receive their bond back without the need of the agent or landlord’s signature," he explained. "If the landlord disputes this, the matter will need to be settled at the Tribunal where a decision will be made on how the bond will be paid."

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