The Supreme Court has ordered landlords Frank and Sandra Cassar and their company, Betta Housing Pty Ltd, to pay $6000 compensation to seven former tenants.
The court also issued permanent injunctions against Mrs Cassar and Betta Housing, preventing them from letting and managing residential premises other than through a licensed estate agent.
In June 2011, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria commenced legal proceedings against Mr Cassar, 60, Betta Housing and its director, Mrs Cassar, 54, for failing to meet their legal obligations as landlords.
After investigating complaints, we acted against the landlords over multiple breaches or residential tenancy laws and to protect tenants who had made allegations of threatening and intimidating behaviour. The tenants were living in private rental accommodation owned and managed by the Cassars and Betta Housing.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria alleged that the Cassars and Betta Housing own and manage up to 12 residential accommodation houses in Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Carlton North, and failed to:
- comply with bond lodgement requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997
- provide information to tenants about their legal rights
- refund deposit money, and
- comply with orders made against them by Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
In September 2011, the Supreme Court upheld Consumer Affairs Victoria’s allegations and issued temporary injunctions against the defendants, preventing them from letting out and managing residential premises other than through a licensed estate agent.
Mr Cassar died in October 2011 and the proceedings were amended to join the executor of his estate.
On 24 April 2012, the court ordered that Mrs Cassar and Betta Housing be permanently restrained from:
- letting any residential premises to any other person other than through a licensed estate agent
- granting any residency right in any residential premises to any other person other than through a licensed estate agent
- collecting or directly receiving any money from a residential tenant or rooming house resident
- directly negotiating any residential tenancy agreement or granting any residency right
- otherwise dealing directly with any residential tenant or rooming house resident.
In 2009, Mr Cassar was found guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court of nine charges, including failing to lodge bonds and failing to comply with VCAT orders.