Woman fined more than $7000 for repeatedly breaking WA tenancy laws

A WOMAN was fined more than $7000 after she repeatedly broke WA tenancy laws when renting a property in Bentley.

Bozena Sakowski (56) pleaded guilty to 24 contraventions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 during a hearing at Perth Magistrates Court last month.

Eight convictions, with fines of $500 per charge, related to failure to lodge a security bond with the Bond Administrator and failure to provide a receipt for the bond.

A further 16 convictions, with fines of $200 per charge, related to failure to use the correct forms and information when entering into a written tenancy agreement and failure to provide a property condition report at the start and end of a tenancy.

Acting commissioner for consumer protection David Hillyard welcomed the penalty and said he hoped it acted as a deterrent.

“All security bonds on rental properties must be lodged with the Bond Administrator at the Department of Commerce, but Sakowski took bond money in cash and kept it in her safe or had it deposited directly into her bank account,” he said.

“She admitted that she intended to use the bond money for damage to the rental property and unpaid rent as and when various tenants left and this was a misuse of funds that belonged to tenants.

The Court heard that Sakowski used a 2005 REIWA tenancy agreement form and created her own lease agreement that included conditions such as no children being allowed to visit the property.

“Standard lease agreements were introduced in 2013 to ensure fairness in the rental market and to provide clarity about the rights and obligations of both tenants and landlords,” Mr Hillyard said.

“The breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act in this case meant there was a lack of transparency in the agreement between the accused and the tenants.

Two of the tenants were from overseas, one from interstate and one a first time renter, which means they were not familiar with WA tenancy law.”