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Landlord's backflip after real estate agent's 'dangerous' blunder: 'Took a photo'

The mistake caused an Aussie to go through 'absolute hell'.

A misunderstanding during a routine property inspection has nearly left a Melbourne couple homeless.

A property manager recently walked through Jamie’s* rental home and took notice of some medicine that was sitting on a kitchen shelf. The inspector mentioned, “That's a lot of medication” and asked if everything was OK.

The manager specifically pointed at the bottle of dexamphetamine, and the tenant explained it was to manage their attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Bottle of ADHD medication next to an eviction notice served from a landlord
The landlord apologised after the tenant was accused of possessing drugs, when it was actually their ADHD medication. (Source: Getty)

Have you experienced something similar? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

“I thought maybe she knew someone else who took it or had a kid on [the medication] and it might be something we have in common,” Jamie said in a social media post. “Instead she kind of screwed up her face and took her photo.”

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The tenants later received a call from the property manager, who told them the landlord was furious “to learn there is illicit drug use happening on the property and that he's looking into his options for eviction”.

Jamie and their partner were blindsided by the message.

They guessed the manager potentially saw the amphetamine in dexamphetamine and “assumed it was meth”. They asked the property manager what drugs she was referring to but she said she wasn’t going to “argue semantics” because the “drugs were visible during the inspection”.

The situation plunged Jamie into panic and they wondered what their rights were as a tenant to contest such allegations.

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The couple contacted Tenants Victoria, Consumer Affairs, and even the Human Rights Commission to help them. Jamie revealed these groups were able to give general information, however, said their assistance was limited due to being “woefully under the pump and underfunded”.

The couple ended up contacting the landlord directly to sort out the issue and he “was extremely helpful”.

“He has provided us with written evidence that he was misinformed about the nature of the drug use (he was told that there were methamphetamines present, not dexamphetamines) and has provided us with an apology,” Jamie wrote.

“He had not seen photo evidence of the alleged illicit drug use at the time and had placed trust in the agency to report accurately at the time they allegedly reported it to him. He has mentioned that he is seeking a different agency moving forward.”

While they won’t be evicted, they are now looking for a new place to live, describing the whole ordeal as “absolute f**king hell”.

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“I cannot begin to stress enough how absolutely terrifying and hopeless this would have been for someone on Centrelink, or how hard this would be for someone who has communication difficulties to navigate, let alone someone who wasn't lucky enough to have a Reddit post blow up,” Jamie said.

“Most importantly, though, this has opened my eyes to an incredibly dangerous blind spot in how housing operates, and that is a lack of accountability for property managers.”

Property law expert Monica Rouvellas explained to Yahoo Finance that renters were often treated like “second-class citizens”.

In her line of work, she has seen many examples of tenants experiencing unfair treatment at the hands of landlords and property managers.

“From questionable evictions, repairs that are never completed and outright discrimination simply for being renters, it’s never been harder to be a tenant,” Rouvellas said. “Yet, despite so many Australians being renters, the law remains firmly stacked in favour of landlords.

“I’ve seen many examples of tenants complaining about the properties they are living in - because they are damaged and need repairs, from broken floorboards to appliances - who are then evicted for complaining.”

She said while it might seem bleak for renters, they had been warned to “arm themselves with knowledge about their rights and hope for the best”.

*Not their real name.