HOME WOES: Helga Vergin with one of the tiles she used to change the unit.
HOME WOES: Helga Vergin with one of the tiles she used to change the unit. Andrew Backhouse

Compensation sought after tenant pulls up carpet

A PENSIONER who improved her unit by removing the carpet and installing tiles instead is warning Gladstone residents to be careful about making unauthorised changes.

Helga Vergin was renting at Cooinda independent living units in Sigg St through Blue Care when she decided the unit was too hot.

"There was no air-con, so I thought I'd do something about it and improve the unit by installing tiles," she said.

"I spent $1000, bought tiles and installed them myself.

"I spoke with the manager before going ahead and thought there was no problem.

Mrs Vergin said she should have gotten written permission.

"Later I was contacted and told that I was to pay $2350 to replace the carpet and lost my $510 bond," she said.

"The manager wouldn't let me finish and kicked me out."

Blue Care acting executive director Michelle McKay denied that Mrs Vergin had been "kicked out".

She said Mrs Vergin had notified Blue Care of her intention to terminate her lease earlier this year.

"This decision was at the tenant's own discretion, and she was not evicted by Blue Care," she said.

"When inspecting the unit, Blue Care found the tenant had commenced unauthorised property works.

"These works, which remain incomplete, have unfortunately resulted in significant alteration of the unit, and Blue Care has no option but to seek retention of the full rental bond to contribute to the cost of repair.

"The issue will be addressed appropriately via formal mediation proceedings with the Residential Tenancies Authority."

Ray White director of property management John Fieldus advised Gladstone residents who were thinking of making changes to put the whole proposal in writing.

"You should then get the landlord's agreement in writing and then amend the rental agreement if required," he said.

"These types of situations are quite rare - 99% of the time the tenants get it right."

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act states that a resident may attach a fixture, or make a structural change only if the provider agrees to the changes.



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