Mr Wu approached the Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA) with a request for help to sort out a convoluted tenancy agreement.
Mr Wu has a deteriorating medical condition meant that he needed assistance with shopping, cooking and cleaning.
Last year, he invited a female acquaintance, Ms Lim, and her daughter to move into the unoccupied second bedroom of the 2-bedroom unit that he owns and lives in. Ms Lim and Mr Wu agreed that in lieu of rent Ms Lim would supply and prepare food, and do daily household cleaning and laundry.
A solicitor had advised Mr Wu to enter into a tenancy agreement with Ms Lim, and gave Mr Wu a standard residential tenancy agreement form for him to complete at home.
The completed tenancy agreement had many flaws. It stated that the tenancy agreement would commence when Mr Wu left the premises, but Mr Wu said he had no intention of leaving the premises; and it stated that $150 in rent would be paid weekly. Additional terms inserted at the end of the agreement waived rent on condition that Ms Lim supply and prepare food, clean and do laundry. These additional terms appeared to be signed by Ms Lim only and her signature was not witnessed.
MDAA referred Mr Wu to the PIAC solicitor, Nancy Walker (pictured) who provides an in-house legal service to MDAA clients as part of PIAC’s Mental Health Legal Services Project.
Mr Wu sought advice from the PIAC solicitor on the most appropriate form of agreement to enter into. Mr Wu wanted to prevent the possibility of a claim being made against him on the basis of a de facto relationship, and he wanted to prevent one or both of his tenants from making a claim on his estate.
The PIAC solicitor prepared a Deed. It included an agreement that the only existing relationship between the parties was that of landlord and tenant and that neither Ms Lim nor her daughter would make a claim against Mr Wu’s estate.
The Deed bound all three parties to the agreement and was the most appropriate format for a tenancy agreement. The Deed was executed and witnessed accordingly.