Real estate agent wins $2000 rental dispute appeal
A MACKAY real estate agent is trying to recover more than $2000 that she was ordered to pay a former tenant in an ongoing bitter rental dispute.
Jenny Cameron took her fight to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Brisbane and won, in what she labelled a "small victory", but is still out of pocket for the cash.
The Real Estate Mackay City owner successfully appealed a decision made in Mackay Magistrates Court in October 2018 ordering her to pay Kay Atkin just over $2000.
The money was in relation to rent paid in advance and various property she had been unable to recover when she moved house.
Ms Atkin had filed the minor claim and a default decision was entered in her favour when Ms Cameron did not respond within 28 days. In November 2018 Ms Cameron tried to appeal, but it was dismissed.
However, Justice Martin Daubney, in a recent judgment, said this had been done "on the wrong basis" and "must be set aside".
Further, Justice Daubney said the original default decision had been incorrect because it "was not for a debt or liquidated demand" but rent paid and various property.
"This means that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to award the default decision and it must be set aside," Justice Daubney said.
"More fundamentally, the nature of the claim means that it may not fall within the definition of a minor civil dispute, and accordingly the Tribunal's jurisdiction at all."
It is understood the matter may now have to be refiled in the magistrates court as a civil dispute.
In May last year Ms Cameron was arrested and forced to spend a few hours in the watch-house in relation to the case, an experience she labelled "degrading".
She was told if she did not pay the money within two days, she would be arrested again.
After the money was paid Ms Cameron appealed the original decision.
"It is good to finally have a small amount of justice," she said told the Daily Mercury in an email.
"The toll of these accusations … has been significant and a financial loss to me and my business, as well as leading me deeper into depression. I have been the victim of verbal abuse and internet trolls."
Ms Cameron said she had emailed her former tenant requesting she refund the money.
But Ms Atkin told the Daily Mercury she was under the impression she did not have to pay the money back.
She said she signed a waiver of dismissal stating "that I don't want to proceed any further".
"It's been a long bloody 12 months … and it's caused so much stress," she said.