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Landlords lash out at family of 'serial rent dodgers'

9News.com.au logo9News.com.au 15/05/2019 Pippa Bradshaw

Video provided by A Current Affair

A couple who rented out their home to a family of five claim they've been left thousands of dollars in debt by serial rent dodgers.

Mia and Ryan advertised their property for rent in November and received a heartfelt application from the Murphy family.

"On all appearances, talking to them, I had a good sort of connection with them, they were really lovely people," Mia told A Current Affair.

a woman smiling for the camera: Landlord Mia said she was now thousands of dollars in debt after a family of tenants refused to pay. © A Current Affair Landlord Mia said she was now thousands of dollars in debt after a family of tenants refused to pay. Peter and Sheri Murphy's references all checked out, so they moved into the Brisbane property with their three children soon after. 

But it didn't take long before Mia and Ryan claim they had issues.

"About two months into the tenancy, and Ryan was just like, they've forgotten to pay the rent, and I'm like alright, we'll just send them a quick email, just letting you know we haven't received any rent," Mia said.

a close up of a person wearing glasses: Peter and Sheri Murphy have a history of upset landlords. © A Current Affair Peter and Sheri Murphy have a history of upset landlords. But that was the start of weeks of delayed and irregular rent payments.

Now the payments have stopped all together. 

Mia claims she hasn't received any payments from the Murphy's since the start of April.

"They're living there rent-free, and it's costing us a fortune," she said.

a tree next to a fence: The Murphy family moved into the Brisbane property late last year. © A Current Affair The Murphy family moved into the Brisbane property late last year. Mia, who also works as a property manager, served the couple a remedy breach, requiring them to pay the rent arrears within seven days, but the money never came. 

Now they have to wait until mid-June to go to court to have the family evicted.

Fed up with the situation, Mia and Ryan started to research further into the Murphy's rental history, which showed they weren't the only landlords taken for a ride.

On a bad tenants website, Mia realised a new entry had been submitted showing Peter and Sheri had absconded from their last rental with rent in arrears and without cleaning.

a man wearing sunglasses and standing in front of a window: Peter Murphy said the accusations were lies. © A Current Affair Peter Murphy said the accusations were lies. They also discovered the property the Murphy's claimed they had lived at prior to moving into their home, was actually owned by Sheri's uncle. 

Rental history shows they actually lived at three other addresses, all of which the landlords claim they left in a mess and owing rent.

When A Current Affair put the claims to Peter Murphy, he couldn't provide an answer.

"This is ridiculous ... I don't know what you're on about, they've made that up. They've lied," Peter told A Current Affair.

When asked if he'd ever run out on lease or not paid rent, he again stated it was all a lie and they never had. 

A former landlord who was to afraid to talk on camera issued a statement to A Current Affair.

"The rear bedroom's carpet was soaked with urine, texta marks throughout the rooms, all over the carpets and on walls, nail polish on walls, mascara on door framers, nothing wiped down or cleaned," the landlord said.

a person holding a sign: Peter Murphy speaks to A Current Affair reporter Pippa Bradshaw. © A Current Affair Peter Murphy speaks to A Current Affair reporter Pippa Bradshaw. "I just couldn't believe that people would be that vindictive." 

She claims the Murphy's left her property with no notice and three months still left on their lease, costing her thousands in unpaid rent.

Because the Murphy's had mainly rented privately, it's only now their history is catching up with them.

Mia and Ryan claim they're now facing a $10,000 bill to re-rent the property once they can get the Murphy's out due to rent arrears and damage.

"We're not going to let someone else fall victim to what you guys are doing," Mia said.

"You're playing a game but you've picked the wrong people to play the game, sorry."

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