Porter Matthews Metro – Review

After almost three months of having moved into my own home, I decided to leave a review of the real estate agency I had previously rented through and chose to do so on their Facebook page, under the review tab. Not long after the review was posted, I received a phone call requesting I call Porter Matthews, along with a comment of the same lines on the post. This review garnered some attention from other Facebook users and a few chimed in with their thoughts, some pointing out the futility of a discussion at this point. I declined to respond to Porter Matthew’s call simply because, as some noted on the review, the agency had three years to act on my requests and did not, along with their agents again ignoring my constant requests of emails or sms messages as I work full time hours and cannot answer my phone during those periods.

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In a knee jerk reaction, someone on the Porter Matthews team posted a positive review, one that, as someone commented below, was a breach of privacy with both the address and name of the owner listed. This was later removed, as was the review tab on their page. By no means was my review the only negative one present and I had no intention of taking matters any further,  but as they have chosen to censor a legitimate review, I have decided to post here.

My review was as follows:

“With all good conscience I could not recommend Porter Matthews Metro to anyone. My partner and I rented a property for about three years and were woefully disappointed with our treatment. Whilst we were made aware that minimal renovations would take place, we were not aware of the full extent of damage and wear to the property. Not only was the property riddled with holes (we could see outside through the bedroom floor), but the doors did not meet WA standards and could literally be pulled open from the outside despite being locked. The property was riddled with black mould, had an asbestos shed and fence and we were disallowed from keeping the garden, which turned wild and often housed rats. We discovered that the mould in the property had been painted over before we saw the property and, despite bringing to the attention of agents the spread and extent of this mould in multiple rooms and the rot damage to the building because on unsealed roofs and walls, nothing was ever done.

We experienced a high turnover in property managers, many not introducing themselves or passing on contact details that seemed to regularly change. It would often take weeks for anything to be done, from clearing constantly blocked pipes to replacing the oven that died and I would be left chasing the agent again and again. On three separate occasions we received phone calls demanding payment of our ‘overdue’ rent, only to find the agent was reviewing a different property and that our rent was not due for another few days. Whilst we did have some decent managers during this period, the high percentage of…useless is the only word…far outweighed the good, one even reprimanding my partner for unwashed dishes, despite my partner obviously being injured with only one usable arm (he had been in an accident two days earlier and was suffering a concussion and fractured collarbone with bone fragments floating around in his shoulder) and another telling us blatantly that we had to either crawl into the roof to set traps for the rats in it or call the council ourselves.

Additionally, I returned home one day to find our fence had been removed. After contacting the agent we learned that they had known our fence would be taken down to allow for building next door, but had failed to pass on this information. For months I chased a replacement fence as our property was now entirely open and we had no privacy. We were repeatedly told that a replacement was coming. Over a year later and a fence was not forthcoming. Many labourers working on the building next door believed we were a strata and we were subject to many occurrences of them parking on our property, wandering our property and attempting to use our services. We did alert the building company and the property manager, but still we went without a fence. No compensation or lesser rent was offered.

Upon our leaving the property and a final inspection taking place, Porter Matthew’s were unable to locate the property condition report that we had altered and signed and so used an unsigned copy to do our final inspection. I am happy to say that we did receive our full bond back, but only after discussions were entered into.

With good conscience, I will not and cannot recommend Porter Matthews to anyone.”

Let me touch on some of the issues I have presented. I chose to add distance between myself and the experience before posting this review as I was angry. It does little good to lash out and I wished my experience to be noted as facts. I have emails, photos and have noted many occurrences and dates to justify and provide evidence for items I have said. None of this is unjustified or an exaggeration.

Firstly, the condition of the property.

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When we moved into the property, we were unaware of a large leak in the bathroom, but it seemed the agency was. To have a shower, we had to walk outside, switch on the water and then switch the mains off again once we were done. This was rectified, however no compensation was offered and we were forced to bathe from the sink quickly for over a week so as not to disturb the fixing of the shower.

The house was unsealed, from a hole in the bedroom floor that allowed wasps and other bugs inside, let alone the weather, to an unsealed back room leading to extensive growth and spread of black mould. The property was freezing in the winter due to this and water damage was evident.

Further issues to the property included:

  • Previous tenants leaving furniture in the yard and shed which we were required to dispose of.
  • Many of the doors and windows did not have fly screens.
  • Whilst we were required to mow the lawn, the garden from the shed to the back of the property was off limits to us and was wild. Many animals were living there and there were often complaints from the neighbours in town houses behind us of wild trees growing over their fences and rats.
  • The large French doors at the front of the property did not have WA legally required locks and could easily be pulled open from the outside, even when locked, leaving the property further unsecured.
  • We were not provided with keys for all the doors and windows.
  • Rot and water damage to the eaves and further roof structure of the house.
  • Extensive black mould to multiple rooms.
  • Old pipes that required clearing every few months. Though we were told by Porter Matthews that there was nothing wrong with the pipes, after multiple blockages of the toilet and kitchen sink the pipes were replaced and never clogged again. The pipes themselves, as shown to us by the plumbers, were old copper and heavily rusted. The shower drain and pipe was not replaced.
  • The shed and fences were made of asbestos.
  • Exposed nails in the back room.

 

Then there were other issues which appear to be simple failure of staff duties. Such as:

  • The six months we lived there we were subject to only one inspection. After this, we had the standard every three month inspection.
  • We never received an inspection report after an inspection. Sometimes we would be left handwritten notes along the lines of, “Wash the dishes and take a photo of the sink after.” We did not complete these actions and were never chased for them.
  • The issue of my partner being injured I did not raise with the agency. I was too mad at that point in time and felt screaming down the phone would not be an appropriate reaction. Looking back, I wish I had.
  • According to WA law “The lessor must attempt to negotiate a day and time that does not unduly inconvenience you before sending you the notice” of an inspection. We were not once contacted at any point to make the sure that the date did not inconvenience us before the notice was sent. In two cases, inspections fell the day or two days after the Australia Day holiday.
  • Despite an inspection every three months and a few messages from myself, no structural or mould issues were ever addressed by the agency.
  • Repairs would often take weeks to be completed. Please see further below for examples.
  • Upon returning home one day in February of 2015, I found our fence had been removed. We were not given notice. It was confirmed with the property manager that they were aware of this. At the time of our departure of April 2016, we still did not have a fence. Our major living area was open to the view of the property next door.
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  • When building occurred on the property next door, the owners of the property warned us that the carport was on their property and would be removed. We were not informed by the agent.
  • The issue of ‘overdue rent’ calls has also been detailed below.

For a more detailed report of events, please see below.

  • 1st Inspection 2014 (a year after being in the property)
    • Had clearly not read the property condition report as he pointed out a lot of things that were on the report.
  • Rent inspection early March 2014
    • Told to pick a t-shirt up off the floor. “Unable to inspect the room”. Stated it “could be hiding a hole”. We have a large rug on the floor.
    • “I know you probably just had lunch, but the dishes need to be done.” I had just finished lunch. It was a plate, a knife and a cup.
    • 2nd time – Asked about mould/stains to roof (we informed him they were there already, as per report)
    • We mentioned we had a rodent problem and he said he would send someone out
      • 27th I chased up the exterminator
      • When exterminator arrived, he mentioned he new the property well and was there every few months.
    • Tree trimming
      • Sent email on the 13th
      • Chased up on the 15th
      • Chased up on the 22nd Reply received.
    • Rent inspection June 2014
      • 3rd time – Asked about mould/stains to roof (we informed him they were there already, as per report)
      • My partner was in a sling with a broken collarbone and was recovering from a severe concussion. His accident had happened just four days prior. Despite this, the house was in good order. Instructed my partner, “You’ve known about this inspection for a The dishes need to be washed.” Was he not supposed to eat at all during the day despite not knowing when the agent would attend? How was he supposed to wash any dishes with one arm?
    • Oven
      • 14/9/14 – I reported that our oven had stopped working
      • 18/9/14 – After hearing nothing, I emailed again
        • Agent told me he had called contractor. We had not received a call from the contractor.
      • 19/9/14 – Agent insisted he had called contractor. Told me contractor had tried calling me. I had no missed calls.
        • Contractor called my partner. Said he had not called me and had only been called by agent on the 18th.
        • Find out that the oven needs replacing. I ask for compensation for week of meals we have not been able to cook. We were given $50.
      • Back door frame scuffed and door left off hinges by people who replaced the stove.
      • Had originally tried the front door, leaving scuffs, flakes and some broken wood. Screen door fails to close properly.
    • 12/11/2014
      • I received a phone call stating that my partner and I were short $10 on the rent.
      • Agent mentioned something about a rent increase.
      • We had just signed our 12month lease with no rent increase.
      • Agent then reviewed our account, realised that this fortnight’s rent had not reached the account yet (as it was not yet due) and informed me he would ring the next day.
      • As of the 14th I had still not received a phone call.
      • 21st Still nothing from agent. I emailed to check as well as request a plumber be sent out as our toilet was leaking. Agent sent me a document that was difficult to read and suggested that we had owed $390 per week rent since October 2013, despite it also stating out rent was $380. I asked him to explain the document, where this missing $10 applied and what he believed our weekly rent was supposed to be.
      • 28th of November. Still waiting on a response
      • 4th of February 2015. Still no response.
      • 17th  of February 2015. Still no response.
    • 4/2/15
      • 2nd time he has called me and told me my rent is a day overdue. He called on a Wednesday both times. Our rent has been paid on Thursday’s, on time, for our entire lease period.
    • 20/2/15
      • Came home to find the side fence had been removed. We were not made aware this was happening. It was a Friday and the property was left open for a weekend.
        • 23/2/15
          • Informed that the owners of the property had given permission for the fence to be removed. We were not informed this would be happening. Told that a temporary fence would be erected over the coming weekend.
          • Temporary fence erected in March. “Fence” is a see through mesh. We have no gate and yard is open.
          • Temporary fence removed when slab went down next door in March.
          • As of 7th July, a new fence has not been installed.
        • As of March 2016. Still no fence. As two houses are being constructed next door, we have had no privacy for well over a year.
      • 3/6/15
        • Told prior to inform agent every time vermin was in the roof. As the roof is not sealed and has holes, animals can easily access the roof and are known to return every few months.
        • Message returned on the date above
          • “If you believe you may have mice in the roof space then just drop some bait up there but if you think it is something large like a possum you may need to contact the council as they will arrange a trap.” – A new agent we have not heard of.
            • 17/6/15
              • Followed up on pest controller
            • 4/7/15
              • Pest controller called. Booked appointment for the 7th
      • 17/11/15
          • Porter Mathew’s realizes our lease ended at the beginning of October. (not he first time our lease renewal has come long after our lease had ended)
      • 8/12/15
        • New agent was very quick to arrange a plumber (same day). I sent an email thanking him.
      •  11/12/15
        • A new agent we do not know called to state that we still owed $10. Once again I asked how. She sent me the same document another agent did previously and was still unable to explain how we owed $10.
      •  28/1/16
        • Rental inspection. Agent noted the trees needed to be cut. Photos were taken. No follow through.
      •  8/3/16
        • Informed Agent that the fence at the side of the house is coming down.
        • 16/3/16
          • Received response. Asked to take photos of the falling down fence. I explained that part of the yard is blocked off and we will find it difficult to take photos. Agent said she would contact the neighbours.
        • 30/3/16
          • Trees and fence have not been taken care of.
        • 11/5/16
          • Still nothing
        • As of date we left the property, fence had not been fixed.
      • 11/3/16
        • Informed that our property manager is now  someone else
        • Left message for Agent on both 10th and 11th
      • 15/3/16
        • No response as of yet
        • 16/3/16
          • Agent asked if we intended to renew lease. I said we did not. I was told that we need to give 30days notice. I explained the deal we had with past and what was written on the lease I signed (6 month lease with periodic after this date). Told that is fine.
      • 17/3/16
        • Emailed stating I do not have contact information for new agent (had previously requested). Received a phone call, but did not receive contact information.
        • Requested plumber
          • Plumber contacted me on 24th, they had just received the work order. Unable to attend until Tuesday 29th due to Easter weekend
        • Agent told me our periodic lease had been accepted and that we were (not legally) required to give 21days notice, but advised too. I had to explain that the periodic lease had been agreed to 6 months ago. She was not aware.
      • 23/3/16
        • Received notice of a rent inspection for mid-April. I sent an email requesting no inspection take place as we are due to leave at the beginning of May.
        • No response. Date passed. Unaware if agent inspected.
    • 30/5/16
      • Handed in notice of intent to leave and end our periodic lease. No response.
    •  9/6/16
      • Letter received stating the agency acknowledged our end of lease and intended to rent out the property upon our departure.
    • 27/5/16
      • Final inspection took place. A week after our departure. Agent was unable to locate signed and altered property condition report and so used a blank one.
      • Agent requested we replace light bulbs or pay for them. I responded asking they be overlooked due to past issues.
  • 10/6/16
    • Received return of bond paperwork.

 

For those that have continued reading, I thank you or your time. I have chosen to remove all names. Porter Matthews were unaware that I had consulted a lawyer before our departure and that they were waiting in the wings should the request of our bond to be returned been denied. The first few months we were in the property, despite the state of it, we were happy. At this point in time we had one agent and she was quick to act to clear pipes or cut trees or call a pest controller. It was only when the agents became lax, multiple and difficult that our irritations grew. As stated in the review, we had some decent agents during the period and we thanked these agents, however looking back, I wonder how good they really were seeing that the house remained mould and rot ridden.

 

I do not write this to start a war, simply as a review of our time and perhaps a call to action to agencies and property owners everywhere to better care for their properties and tenants. We’re people too. We’re the ones paying your salary or your mortgage and we deserve to be treated like human beings.

 

To this date, we believe the property we rented is still vacant and the rent has decreased by $80 a week.

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