UnReal Estate Agent

As many of you are aware, David and I lived at the Arbour on Grey for 18 months. The property management business for the complex, Aurora Property Group, was grossly incompetent. That’s not an issue: it’s rare to find a real estate agency that is aware of their responsibilities, yet alone lives up to them.

Professionalism

Professionally, the Aurora Property Group must have deliberately chosen at some point to not follow RTA (Residential Tenancy Authority) regulations, even after we brought the rules to their attention. Their common, typical issues included:

  • Failing to issue rent receipts.
  • If they did actually issue a rent receipt, it either had the wrong dates or the incorrect amount.
  • They did not feel as though they had to issue Form 11 entry notices for maintenance or inspections. Who knows, maybe they felt it were better for the environment if they saved paper.
  • We changed our bank account at one stage when we were in Melbourne for an extended period, and they refused to give us the details for their trust account so we could pay rent. They just referred us to page 2 of the lease – the lease back in Brisbane.
  • The Aurora Property Group actually – in all seriousness – refused to be our first point of contact for any issues with the apartment. As a prime example, they refused to deal with a hissing speaker in the fire alarm system. Instead, they told us to contact the Queensland Fire Service or the South Bank  Corporation to deal with it. Isn’t that what they get paid for?

None of these were deal breakers. The elephant in the room, the reason the professional relationship between ourselves and the  Aurora Property Group devolved into a shitstorm,  was the dishonesty and negativity of their ‘office manager’, Geraldine Young.

Personality Conflict

I dislike using the phrase ‘personality conflict’ when referencing Geraldine Young, as it implies she actually has a personality. But as a raging narcissist, Mrs Young (such a deliciously ironic surname) just has a black hole swirling where her personality should be.

We only dealt with Mrs young on a face-to-face basis for the first few months of our tenancy, and it was a struggle to keep her focussed. Highlights include:

  • Ranting about midgets. Midgets! I mean, seriously… who can hate midgets that much?
  • Losing her shit over her co-workers, her sub-contractors, and South Bank Corp employees. Do we, as tenants, need to hear any of that? Of course not. Not very professional, Geraldine… not very professional at all.
  • An endless series of contradictions and lies. I don’t know if the poor old dear just gets ‘confused’, or if she is deliberately deceitful. Either way, she would often say one thing to your face, then do the opposite.

The final straw was when Mrs Young called David a racist. All he did is ask for a rent receipt that actually reflected the amount of money we had deposited into their trust account, and somehow she twisted that into David not liking Asians.

We requested all communication be in writing, from that moment on. We refused to tolerate any further dishonesty or negativity from her. Her passive-aggressive friendly façade broke far too quickly and readily.

The Breakdown

As a typical narcissist, Mrs Young could not bear the thought of anyone disliking her on a personal level. So rather than try and fix the relationship, she went on the attack. We actually received one lease renewal during this time; however, we also received a never-ending stream of abusive emails.

We tried our hardest to ignore the crazy lady, but this just inflamed her even further. Eventually she decided to evict us. Her reason: couchsurfing.

Couchsurfers

Let’s be clear about this: David and I never hosted couchsurfers in that apartment. Sure, we hosted many couchsurfers when we were living on the Gold Coast, and it’s an exhilarating and rewarding experience… we just didn’t feel comfortable jamming strangers into a one bedroom apartment in Brisbane.

Mrs Young, however, refused to accept this truth. She even went so far as to introduce photos into evidence at our eviction hearing of the people she claimed were using our apartment while we were in Melbourne.

Problems with this:

  • even if we had hosted couchsurfers, shouldn’t we be allowed to? It’s our home, after all. The words Geraldine Young uttered in court were ‘we don’t want that sort of thing happening here’ as though we were slaughtering goats in drug-fuelled orgies, instead of showing visitors the beauty of Brisbane and giving them a safe space to sleep.
  • the ‘couchsurfers’ in the photos which the insane woman introduced into evidence were actually our godchildren, checking our mail and watering our plants.
  • Geraldine Young knew at least one of the people in the photos, because our goddaughter sold coffee to the vindictive old dear almost every day. I’m not claiming Mrs ‘Young’ perjured herself… maybe she was just confused, again.

I’m a firm believer that everything always works out for the best, and this eviction was the perfect example. It was frustrating and tedious to move again, but afterwards it was extremely liberating to be free of her hateful vendetta.

Stalking

Mrs Young could not handle seeing David and I in person. The sight of us would cause her brain to shut down and her eyes to roll about in her head. Whenever we walked past her office, she’d rush outside to glare at us. I’m surprised she could focus on us, though… those crazy eyes were a little freaky!

For several months, I could not visit the coffee shop where my goddaughter works without Mrs Young weaving her way through the tables to intimidate me. It was just like a horror movie. I was visually impaired at the time, and all I could hear was the clip-clop of her high heels as she circled me; a hyena stalking a zebra. She would pace around, making bizarre little barking sounds while jiggling her keys.

I stopped going to the coffee shop, obviously… it simply wasn’t worth the anxiety. Caffeine and narcissist-induced adrenaline are not a good combination. David was genuinely concerned that crazy-eyes would physically harm me in some way.

Interesting side note: Whilst researching a book, I investigated a sexual subculture in which jiggling your keys at someone is a sign of desire. Geraldine, I appreciate your attention; however, I prefer my sexual partners warm-blooded. You resemble a crocodile, in smile, actions, and skin texture.

Make Up Your Minds

So Aurora Property Group evicted us, then complained bitterly when we moved out. We had supplied our move out date, but they refused to pad the lift for protection because they didn’t want us to move out. They claimed we were responsible for rent for another 6 weeks… luckily the next QCAT hearing clarified the matter for them.

As David and the removalist were packing the ute, Mrs Young confronted David and told him she was ‘going to get him’. Could she be any more ‘Wicked Witch of the West’? The removalist thought she was hilarious, muttering ‘and your little dog too’ under his breath… Maybe we should have thrown a bucket of water over her, or dropped a house on her sister.

Luckily we had no trouble finding another apartment. Most people are aware of Aurora’s reputation and were quite sympathetic to our plight.

Defamation Lawsuit

Rather than try and repair any damage to our relationship and their reputation by doing the right thing, Aurora and Geraldine Young had Thynne Macartney send us a ‘concerns notice’ as preamble to  a defamation lawsuit. You can see our response to this letter HERE.

I had written a blog article outlining the ongoing saga with Aurora, and they took offence at the public exposure. But as a writer, I know where to draw the line. Every word in the article was either:

  • the truth, verifiable by their own communications to us,
  • the honest  and earnestly held opinion of David and myself, or
  • gross satire

Sure, I may have compared Mrs Young to a horse. Yes, I may have implied that she skipped vital days at real estate agent school just to have cosmetic surgery. It’s called humour, and it’s our best defence for the fear and intimidation we felt at the time. The article had actually been taken down a few weeks before we received their concerns notice.

Oddly enough, the concerns notice also highlighted a few of my microfictions as being defamatory. They are:

I realise the poor old dear gets a little confused at times, however those stories are ‘fiction’. They were made up. While I’m flattered that people see themselves in my work, the stories bear no resemblance to reality.

Note: if you like those microfictions, you should also check out Not-So Funbags

I don’t know if Thynne Macartney actually sanctioned this letter on their letterhead, but the letter was hilarious. It was full of typos and terrible grammar; quite embarrassing for a law firm of their stature. Also, you’d think someone at Thynne Macartney would tell the Aurora Property Group that corporations can’t sue for defamation.

Financial Losses

Another major element of the defamation lawsuit was my claim that the Aurora Property Group has cost the property owner/investors money. Let’s break it down:

  • They evicted us because they didn’t like us, leaving the property unrented for a period without any income for the owners.
  • When they finally re-let the property, the new tenants were paying less rent.
  • They refused to release the undisputed funds and took us to court for the bond. They were awarded a lot less money than we had offered to pay during the RTA dispute resolution process.
  • The Arbour on Grey has a very high percentage of vacant rentals. There are also a lot of properties up for sale. This is a direct reflection of the Aurora Property Group’s reputation, which is largely a result of the behaviours of their ‘office manager’.

The property owners and investors I’ve spoken with have every right to be concerned about the falling property values in South Bank, due to Aurora’s grossly incompetent management.

Twisted Sisters

While the vast majority of people know Mrs Young – either personally or by reputation – and avoid her like the plague, she does actually have one vocal supporter. Yvonne Cronin claims to be the director of several companies in the Aurora Property Group, but ASIC records reveal she is only a officeholder of one. The more interesting fact about Yvonne Crone is that we believe she’s Geraldine’s sister.

These sinister siblings scowl the same, stalk the same, and even have the same bogan accent when they’re angry. Mrs Cronin fired off several inflammatory emails to us in defense of the ‘office manager’, and was also a party to the defamation lawsuit.

Oh, they also performed the same angry losers’ dance at QCAT… some defiant variation of the waving dance performed by airdancers, at car yards across the country. The ladies hips are quite flexible, considering their age!

Malicious Persecution

Even after they kicked us out, Aurora Property Group just couldn’t bear to let us go. Between defamation lawsuits and several QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) applications, they maintain an ongoing pattern of malicious persecution.

As a counsellor, I get it… they want the big win. They want the final showdown, where the judge blasts David and I for being such horrible people. Ironically, these cases keep blowing up in their faces.

We received far more of our bond money back than we expected, thanks to their desire to face us in court rather than accept our offer during the dispute resolution process. They claimed we abandoned the property, despite kicking us out. They have filed adjournments and appeals, all with no luck.

I know you want me, Geraldine, but please just let us go! I’m gay. I know you’re quite manly, but it isn’t going to work out between us.

TICA Listings

TICA is a national tenancy database that holds records of bad tenants. After the final bond hearing, when Yvonne Cronin was outraged the David and I were ‘getting everything they wanted’, the Aurora Property Group listed David and I as bad tenants, and continued adding to the records for the next 6 months… 15 entries in total.

I could understand if it was done just once… I could imagine the twisted sisters getting together, having one too many ‘medicinal’ whiskeys, and cackling over the computer as they get their ‘revenge’ by listing us as bad tenants. But this happened a LOT. #glugglugglug

Let’s be clear: everything they said in the TICA listings was a blatant lie. They defamed David and I. The listings included things such as:

  • unpaid rent
  • damages
  • breaching a tribunal order
  • cleaning

I must admit, I found the cleaning listing quite funny… they performed the cleaning after we moved out, as per their request. And it wasn’t good enough? No wonder Geraldine Young ranted about the quality of their sub-contractors.

But anyways, another trip to QCAT quickly resolved this issue. There are 2 basic requirements that must be met to list someone as a bad tenant:

  1. the amount of financial damage must be greater than the bond held by the RTA
  2. QCAT must have issued an order allowing the listing

Neither of these were the case. The Aurora Property Group just wanted to shaft us. They know we were perfect tenants who just happened to have a personality clash with one of their staff.

Stupidly, the business entities who actually lodged the TICA listings continue to defy the QCAT judgment and still haven’t removed all our personal data from the database. As of 16th Nov, 2016, four weeks after the hearing, there are still database enquiries against our names. These entries make it appear as though we made tenancy applications in June 2016 and October 2016. Tsk tsk, Cronin Management and EILA Aurora Management Rights 😉

Consequences

We tried hard to de-escalate the situation. We never rose to the bait, and avoided the physical areas where crazy-eyes was likely to be. However, the Aurora Property Group went too far by listing us as bad tenants.

Now, they are in for a world of hurt. Aside from the fines and fees that have already had awarded against them, they are now dealing with:

  • an investigation by the RTA’s Compliance Branch for failing to meet their obligations as property managers
  • an investigation into their real estate licences by the Office of Fair Trading
  • a defamation suit due to the TICA listings

Some of these are within our control, others aren’t. You have nobody but yourselves to blame… you should have just kept our relationship civil and professional. These forces have been unleashed by your own actions.

Aurora Property Group

The Aurora Property Group consists of – as far as we know – the following companies:

  • CRONIN MANAGEMENT PTY LTD
  • AURORA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT GROUP PTY LTD
  • JA AURORA PROPERTY PTY LTD
  • JS AURORA PROPERTY PTY LTD
  • AURORA PROPERTY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
  • EILA AURORA MANAGEMENT RIGHTS PTY LTD

These companies were all involved in our tenancy, in one form or another. One company ran the trust account, another two filed the QCAT applications, and yet another lodged the RTA bond. Cronin Management and EILA Aurora Management Rights Pty Ltd actually filed the defamatory TICA listings. Ironically, the company listed in our lease doesn’t exist.

Aurora Property Australia Pty Ltd is the name above their door, yet the whole enterprise just looks dodgy. Why do they need so may company names? How can they get away with filing lawsuits and QCAT applications from companies that aren’t on our lease?

Interesting little house of cards, no?

Narcissistic Rage

As a counsellor, I’ve seen a few raging narcissists over the years. The destruction they cause in the lives around them can be devastating. But it’s not until we encountered Mrs Young that we learned to appreciate just how overwhelming that narcissistic force can be.

Mrs Young is a classic NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) sufferer who reflects her worst fears of her own behaviours back onto her targets. She has accused David and I of stalking, intimidation, and fraud. She has mocked my visual impairment. Every accusation I made in my original article, she turned back on us.

What Mrs Young failed to realise in this situation is that for her, it’s just a game. She gets bored and sets her sights on people, just like a cat playing with a mouse. Her cruel smile at the misuse of judicial processes highlights the satisfaction she gets from this. But for us, it’s our life. Our home was infected with her crazy vibe, and as a visually impaired person I feared leaving the apartment by myself in case the red mist descended and Mrs Young became violent.

Geraldine Young is not a very nice person, to be honest.  But there’s hope. There are treatments. Please seek help, Geraldine. While we intend to make sure the Aurora Property Group suffers for its actions, we hold no grudges against you personally. You are a broken woman. We forgive you.