by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
Some time ago I wrote a posting about thefts during property inspections, and noted that some estate agents were including clauses in their sale agreements with vendors that indemnify the estate agent against theft or damage during a property inspection. I also suggested that it is time to “take estate agents and thieves out of vendors’ homes“. My last posting drew attention to a pair of estate agents who advise potential purchasers to secretly invade the privacy of home-owners by “sneaking a peek” into cupboards in order to identify whether the vendor will “sell at ANY PRICE…“. The material in this posting was provided by the victim of a typical open house theft, and provides harrowing details of the violation, loss, bullying, stress and indifference a theft victim can experience.
“I had been renting the one bedroom unit for about three years.
I received a letter from the managing agent saying that the owner wanted to sell.
The estate agent insisted on having “open house” inspections, which I objected to, but I was told I had no choice.
During the week of the 2nd of April, 2007 I was called by the selling agent and told there would be an open house that weekend. I told them that was fine, as I would be away for the Easter long weekend but would tidy the house before I left.
I arrived home on Monday afternoon and immediately noticed things were amiss. There was a book splayed open on the floor just inside my front door. Maybe the agent had bumped it off the shelf on their way out, no big deal. Also, a couple of pairs of my underpants were on the floor next to their drawer in my bedroom. Odd, but conceivable I could have left them there in my hurry to pack on Friday morning.
After that I went to put on a load of washing and found the mug of $1 coins I kept for the washing machine to be missing from the drawer in my lounge room. At this point I thought someone had been opportunistically rifling through the drawer when the agent was in the other room and pocketed my $35-odd of washing machine money…