Apr 26, 2023

Woman's battle with landlord who built metal 'war bunker' fence to block drive

Maneeca Belbin said her landlord Daniel had warned her that he would carry out some works - but only said they would last three months near Sydney, Australia

A tenant has spoken of her distress as she is trapped in a bitter battle with her landlord after he put up a metal fence, blocking her from accessing the garden and driveway she pays for.

Maneeca Belbin moved into the home at Silverdale, in the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, eight months ago and shortly after, her nightmare began.

The woman said she was aware that her landlord, named Daniel, wanted to carry out some landscaping and concrete works, but claimed that he told him the renovation would be "minor" and only last three months.

However, eight months on, the works are still ongoing and the woman said her garden looks like "a war bunker".

The pastry chef shared her story with Australian TV programme A Current Affair, showing the state of the property, with planks of wood being installed across the back door so that Ms Belbin cannot access the backyard.

She said: "As soon as I signed the lease, it turned into this."

The tenant added: "Having him here seven days a week, all day, every day, is not what I paid for.

"I'd get home from work and he would tell me the water was turned off."

Ms Belbin, who spent about six months looking for a new home to share with her two pups before moving into the property, said finding a house in Sydney is "extremely hard".

But now, despite paying her rent, she said she has never felt comfortable living in the home.

Last month, we reported that a tenant uncovered some serious home truths after receiving an email from their estate agent that was meant for their landlord.

The brutal message showed the Australian estate agent encouraging the landlord to raise their rent from $500 (£270) a week to $950 (£510).

The justification for the rent increase was the tenant being "high maintenance" as they kept sending requests to the estate agent for faults to be repaired at the property.

The email alleged the Australian renter had contacted the real estate agent "every day for two weeks" as their air con was not working.

The shocking email said: "You'll recall the discussions I had with you earlier in the year about the 'high maintenance' nature of this particular tenant.

"Out of all the properties I manage, he has the most maintenance requests and occupies the most of my (and therefore your) time. On one occasion (the air-con) he called every day for two weeks. The receptions are sick of him."

They then revealed their sneaky way to try and get rid of the renter - and they were not playing fair.

The estate agent continued: "In order to play this smooth you should offer to renew the lease but with an exorbitant increase.

"I don't think we'd get this much if we re-listed, but we'd certainly get a bit of a boost not to mention the peace of mind of having a better tenant.

"If he agrees to the increase it's a surprise win."

The tenant was furious as he shared the post on Facebook, writing: "The scam is out in the open. Given that they've admitted to a punitive increase because I've asked them to repair their broken-down flat, can I take them to VCAT??"

VCAT is the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and people recommended reporting the estate agent to them.

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