Fences, trees and noise – these are the big three when it comes to disputes between neighbours. In an ideal world you are on good terms with the folk next door, you casually mention the issue and you come to some sort of agreement. But things can become complicated if your neighbour is a tenant, rather than an owner-occupier.
When 612 Breakfast listener Steve had
a problem with overhanging trees from the
rental property next door, he had a terrible
time identifying the real estate agent managing
the property. Steve told me he couldn’t get the
information from his neighbours and ended up
having to track down the owner, who put him
onto the property manager.
“They said ‘you shouldn’t have contacted
the owner, your first point of contact should
always be the manager’ but you can’t find out
who the manager is!” Steve recalls.
The whole kerfuffle prompted Steve to email
me, suggesting there should be a register of
rental properties and their property managers.
Says Steve: “If you live next door to really nice
people, you jump the fence and say ‘Hey Bill,
we need to do something about the trees, can
you give me the phone number of the real
But Steve’s neighbours were not so cooperative:
“Absolutely not and I bet there are
a lot of people in Brisbane and surrounding
suburbs who are in the same situation,” he
I invited Steve onto my radio show and here
are just some of the responses that came in
during and after the program:
Naomi emailed: “I think the rental register
is a great idea. Our former tenant had a
drug lab. Luckily the owner of an adjoining
unit contacted the building managers who
contacted our agent. It would have been much
easier if they could have gone straight to a
Anne tweeted that a register would have
been handy for her: “Had a problem with
noisy neighbours once (renters) and ended up
ringing all the local real estate agents to find
the property manager.”
And Fiona texted: “I totally support the
register! If there’s something wrong with my
house, I want and need the property manager
to know ASAP!”
But, according to Cameron on Twitter, it
shouldn’t be that hard: “Any real estate agent
can look up a property to see which real estate
is managing the property. Walk in and ask.”
Tell me what you think at the email below.
Antonia Mercorella, general counsel with
the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, sees
merit in the idea: “Something like that could
be a good idea. It would just be a matter of
how that register is developed, where it’s
maintained and who maintains it.
“Certainly the act that covers residency
tenancies in Queensland is administered by the
Residential Tenancies Authority. The conduct
of real estate agents is governed by the Property
Agents and Motor Dealers’ Act and that’s
looked after by the Office of Fair Trading. “My
gut feel is that a register of this nature would be
maintained by one of those two parties.”
But is a register really needed? And who
would pay for it?
Antonia Mercorella concedes it’s not an issue
that comes up frequently: “In most instances,
the tenant will disclose that they are renting
and then go one step further and disclose the
identity of the agent managing the property and
you can then proceed to communicate through
Barbecue hot tip
It’s that time of year when friendly neighbours
start to invite each other over for barbecues.
So here’s a handy hint, suggested to me by my
Radio National colleague Ian Townsend.
To save money, always run two gas bottles.
If you only have one bottle, you risk running
out while you’re cooking for guests.
So, to avoid
such embarrassment (not to mention ruined
food), you tend to exchange the bottle too early,
before it has expired, hence wasting whatever
gas is still in the bottle.
By interchanging two bottles you can always
comfortably cook away until the very last gasp
of gas, before subtly and seamlessly slipping the
other bottle onto the barbecue.
You then have all the time in the world to
replace the first bottle, which becomes your
standby. A simple idea which will have you cooking with gas!