Elwood tenants win compensation from landlord after floods cause ‘black water’ contamination

Elwood tenants win compensation from landlord after floods cause ‘black water’ contamination.
A couple who lived in a house in Elwood with their children was awarded just over $6000 after they took their fight to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Rebecca and Graham Matthews claimed their home and belongings were contaminated by “black water” after a major storm on December 28 last year.
Flooding damaged the walls, ceilings and carpets as well as the tenants’ clothing and posed a threat to health.
VCAT deputy president Ian Lulham found that warning put the landlord on notice about the house’s potential for storm damage, and that the landlord breached her duty under the Residential Tenancies Act to ensure premises were maintained in good repair.
A week after the storm, water was still coming from light fittings in the living room and bedroom.
The tenants moved out after suffering headaches, skin rashes and nausea, but continued to pay rent as a sign of good faith.
The City of Port Phillip issued a building order, saying the “stormwater discharge system to the existing dwelling is dilapidated, allowing water ingress to the inner parts of the dwelling, posing a danger to the occupants”.
Mr Lulham found the landlord had breached an obligation to identify and rectify defects, ordering rent from December 29 to January 27 be paid to the tenants.
Also covered in the $6,023.52 payout: the cost of reports, insurance excess, unplanned moving, and an out of home fee of $100 per day.

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