Reader Question: 

“In my current rental, the previous renter left 8 large cans of toxic paint. I’ve asked the real estate agent to remove the paint. The owner has moved to another part of the property and says it’s not his responsibility. The local council won’t move it. The paint gives off a toxic smell and it’s still sitting there. What are my rights in this instance?” – Sharon

leftover paint
Photo: Daniel R. Blume v Flickr.

Sharon, we asked General Manager at Jellis Craig’s Property Management Department, Sophie Lyon to offer her insight into your query:

She said paint tins won’t normally be collected by the Council, but often you can take them directly to the Council waste transfer station for disposal.

“The Owner should be responsible as it is their property and they are required to provide you with a property that is ‘reasonably clean’ and also to ‘maintain the property’, so you could make application to the Tribunal under one of these sections citing a breach on the owners behalf,” she said.

“However, this process is always time consuming.”

Sophie said that items left behind by tenants become the owner’s responsibility if the bond has been settled and the tenant has moved on.

“If the Owner won’t budge and the Agent can’t assist either, a Tribunal Application may be the only option,” she said.

“Taking it to the Council Depot may be the quicker option. In the event that you are unable to do so because of a physical illness or disability, many Councils will assist.”

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sophie lyon
Sophie Lyon
Partner and General Manager – Property Management at |

As an accomplished property manager with more than 27 years experience, Sophie Lyon brings exceptional knowledge and insight to her role as Partner and General Manager, Property Management at Jellis Craig Boroondara.