Sydney resident and Cammy customer Dom set up a security camera in his garage at home in order to catch burglars. What he caught instead, shocked him.
It was 11:52am on a weekday when Dom noticed his smartphone.
“I was having a coffee up the road when I got a Home Alarm alert on my phone,” Dom said.
“The alert was coming from my garage security camera where I keep my car, scooter and other valuable items.
“Naturally I was worried because I live alone so there shouldn’t be anyone in my garage ever.”
Viewing the event on his smartphone, what Dom saw was a man and a woman, however they didn’t fit the description of burglars.
“The man was dressed in business attire and was holding what looked to be a folder,” Dom said.
“I wasn’t sure what to make of the situation. All I knew was that my garage was being broken into and I needed to act fast.”
Being close to home, Dom decided to rush home and assess the situation rather than call the police.
“When I got home, I found the garage door wide open.”
Concerned, Dom quickly checked his garage for missing items. Thankfully nothing had been taken.
Dom then noticed the apartment below his was open for inspection. That’s when Dom saw the man, the same man that opened his garage. Turns out the man was a real estate agent.
“I couldn’t believe it.” Dom said.
“It explained how this guy accessed my garage but what it didn’t explain was why the he was accessing my property without my permission.”
In most states and territories, inspecting a property without giving notice to the occupant is illegal. This applies to both agents and landlords alike.
Here is a list of suggestions:
Make sure to confirm details like the name of the agent who will be entering, the time, how long they plan to stay and try negotiate a better time. If possible, try to get record of the conversation in writing (an email is sufficient).
Don’t leave money or jewellery where it can be seen. Its best to remove laptops and any other expensive hardware from view. We can’t tell you where to hide your stuff but we can tell you the 10 worst places to hide things.
If the inspection or repairs are being carried out in one part of the house, take thorough photographs of the area. Make sure to include an automatic time stamp on your camera. If any damages occur on the property while you’re away, you can use the images as evidence.
There is no better evidence than video. Set up a surveillance cameras facing the entrance door so you can get a clear view of faces. You can set up several others throughout the house. To cover a large area, try to place the cameras above eye level in a corner of the room.
Immediately after an inspection do a walk around your property. The sooner you report damages or missing items the better. Just like a crime scene, its important not to move anything in case you need to take photographs. For safety, photograph the area again after the visit and compare the photos.
After any inspection, its always good practice to call or email the agent and ask for details of the inspection and/or repair (assuming you couldn’t be there). The more information / documentation you have, the easier it is to defend your position if something goes wrong.
Consider asking the following questions:
After the inspection save your correspondence with the agent, download all relevant surveillance footage and keep all the documents provided by the real estate office. Make sure to keep them in one place for easy reference.
Remember – if you rent – you’re not the only one with keys to your house.
Maybe an inspection has been arranged but you can’t take the time off work to oversee the visit?
Or perhaps the real estate agent is showing strangers through your home because the landlord is selling?
Or maybe the real estate has given a plumber access to your property to carry out work without your knowledge?
Or perhaps, like Dom, your place is being shown to prospective buyers without an inspection even planned.
Renting can be a stressful experience if you aren’t prepared or don’t know your rights as a tenant.
We hope this guide has been helpful – please refer to your local tenant laws when dealing with landlords and agents.
January 11, 2015
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