Property investors choosing to self-manage their portfolio have been given a fresh reminder of the consequences of overstepping the mark.
Carl Raymond Olsen of Meekatharra, 37, has been fined $24,000 for spending tenants’ security bonds, harassing a tenant and taking up to six weeks’ rent up front, according to Consumer Protection Western Australia.
Mr Olsen, who owned and leased out a property 20 kilometres from Perth, was found guilty of 13 contraventions of the Residential Tenancies Act committed during 2013 and 2014, according to the regulator.
Acting commissioner for consumer protection Gary Newcombe said it was important to take this legal action after receiving complaints from affected tenants.
“Mr Olsen took bonds from three tenants and failed to deposit the money with the bond administrator at the Department of Commerce,” he said.
“The law ensures that a tenant’s bond money is secure and will not be misused, so private landlords as well as agents need to lodge the funds with the bond administrator as soon as practicable and certainly no later than 14 days.”
According to Mr Newcombe, Mr Olsen would constantly arrive unannounced and uninvited when one tenant was renting his property and harassed her via phone calls and text messages.
“Notice of no less than seven days and no more than 14 days must be given for any routine inspections, which have to be at a reasonable and convenient time and can only be carried out four times a year,” Mr Newcombe said.
“On top of this, Mr Olsen made tenants pay him four to six weeks rent up front when a landlord is not legally allowed to take more than two weeks rent in the first two weeks of a tenancy.”