Repossessing houses with tenants

By Legal Eagle

Once upon a time, I was a lawyer who acted for mortgagees. I used to repossess houses and call on guarantees. Sometimes I’d get mortgagors calling me in distress, saying, “How can the bank take my property? It belongs to me.” Sigh. Well, yes you do own it – but it is subject to the bank’s mortgage (really a statutory charge if you want to get technical).

Property rights are concurrent and multilayered. And, as we will see, sometimes they conflict. You are entitled to exclusive possession of your property while you meet the loan repayments of your mortgage. But once you stop paying your mortgage repayments, and once the lender has fulfilled certain conditions (including giving you notice of your default and demanding payment of the debt), the lender is then entitled to issue a writ of possession. Often, if no other arrangements are made, these actions progress to the point that the lender can then get a warrant for possession of the property pursuant to an order of the court. The lender can then ask the sheriff to repossess the property so that the lender can sell it off to meet the debt. The lender is not being unjust simply because it repossesses the property. That was the deal you made when you took out the mortgage. You wouldn’t have been able to get the money to purchase the property without the lender having that right. Still, it’s better to give people a few opportunities to sort out their difficulties before you bring the heavy hand of the law down on them in full force. Even when you do this sometimes, sadly, people don’t face up to reality until the Sheriff is knocking on the door (literally).

But what happens if there is a tenant in the mortgaged property which the bank purports to repossess? As Jo Tamar at Hoydens explains in this post, then there is a contest between the right of the lessee to possession, and the right of the mortgagee to possession. The original owner/mortgagor falls out of the picture. What rights does the tenant have in respect of his or her lease, at least on the face of it? Section 268 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) provides as follows:

(1) If a mortgagee in respect of rented premises under a mortgage entered into before the tenancy agreement was entered into becomes entitled to possession
of, or to exercise a power of sale in respect of, the premises under a mortgage, the mortgagee may give the tenant a notice to vacate the premises.

(2) The notice must specify a termination date that is not less than 28 days after the date on which the notice is given.

In plain English, this means that once the mortgagee becomes entitled to the house or seeks to sell it, the mortgagee must give the tenant a notice to vacate which gives the tenant 28 days or more to leave the premises.

However, apparently the NAB has applied to the Supreme Court to get a ruling on the rights of tenants in mortgaged properties where the mortgagee did not consent to the leases. The Age reports that NAB is asserting that if it has a warrant for possession, its right to possession is immediate, and it does not have to give 28 days notice:

Renters face being evicted without notice when owners default on home loans if the National Australia Bank wins a Supreme Court battle against Victoria’s Sheriff.

Tenant groups have labelled the bank’s court action as ”ruthless” and ”cold hearted”, particularly after high-profile advertising promoting its customer-friendly face.

In a case that could have far-reaching implications for Victoria’s renters, NAB has taken the Sheriff to court after it failed to evict the tenants of two Ivanhoe East properties.

The mortgagor of the properties defaulted on repayments to NAB after letting them out without the bank’s knowledge, prompting it to seek repossession orders.

NAB wants the Supreme Court to force the Sheriff to evict the tenants without it needing to comply with the Residential Tenancies Act, which requires renters be given 28 days’ notice.

[Incidentally, if the Sheriff is still the same person who was Sheriff back when I was a banking litigator, then he’s a thoroughly decent, compassionate and sensible guy, as are his deputies.]

Like Jo Tamar, I wonder why the NAB is doing this. Sure, it will save them costs, in that they won’t have to wait 28 days to sell the property. But the costs in public relations terms are immense. Already Crikey has an article (behind a paywall) which is critical of NAB and which features a derogatory cartoon. The comments on the Age article are incredibly negative. I think it’s pretty damn rotten myself. Maybe because I’ve been near the pointy end of enforcing warrants of possession myself; I’d feel distinctly uncomfortable about evicting a lessee in these circumstances. Maybe it’s also because I leased for quite a few years before we could afford to buy! It’s an arguable legal point, perhaps, but it’s hardly compassionate or fair. After all, it is not the tenant’s fault that the mortgagor defaulted or that the mortgagor leased out the premises without consent from the lender. Why should the tenant have to suffer because of the actions of another? We’ll see what happens on this, but if NAB succeeds, I think the State government should amend the Residential Tenancies Act to bring the rights of tenants where the mortgagor has not sought possession into line with the rights of other tenants under s 268 of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Update:

NAB has given up on the action, apparently because of the adverse PR.

50 Comments

  1. Dan
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    The costs advantage can’t be the justification given that mortgagees are entitled by contract to solicitor client costs. The only benefit must be the intimidation factor and the slight possibility that a tenant would agree to remedy the default to secure occupation (by paying to the bank) as long as it would take them yo secure alternative accommodation

  2. Posted October 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Surely the bank as mortgagee in possession as against the landlord is entitled to the rents anyway. It’s just greed and haste and possibly a response to collusive residential tenancies in some cases. Didn’t Lord Denning invent the abandoned wife’s equity in response to something similar? That was surely open to abuse.

    If NAB is successful it will be interesting to see how Mr Baillieu’s government responds.

  3. ken nielsen
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Strange. Sometimes in large companies the people whose job it is to recover loans don’t think or care about PR implications. Senior management, who would care, might not have known about the case.
    Either that or there are some other facts that we don’t know….

  4. conrad
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    NAB has given up today — obviously they’ve lost enough customers already (something they’ve been pretty good at over the last decade or so — I remember when their share price was similar to the CBA — now it’s less than half).

  5. Mervyn Jacobi
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The average price of homes in Australia today is $435,000 (seven times the annual workers wage of $65,000) and yet in 1977 the average price was $31,000 (twice the average annual workers wage of $15,000). They were relatively cheaper in the 1950-1970 era. It is hoped that the next government will get intelligent and reverse that trend and bring decency back to the working community.

  6. Mervyn Jacobi
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    By the way, the top tax in 1850-70, was 66.6%. In 1977, it was approx. 65% and today is 45%. The low top tax allows those otherwise unrestricted to increase their salary up to whatever they can, and some do right up to the hilt. This causes higher costs of goods and services and leaves the workers and pensioners in a real pickle. The economy and conditions are so bad that hundreds of workers can get permanent for work two or three days a week, this is not counted as unemployed, and also does not supply enough finance to pay a mortgage or even rent.

  7. Mervyn Jacobi
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    1950-70, not 1850-70

  8. Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    One does wonder who threw the clue-bat at whom on this at the NAB. It is perhaps worth pointing out to the non-lawyers reading that a lessee has a right in rem. That means the tenant enjoys the same capacity to exclude (ie, good against the world) as the landlord would, were he in possession, and this right is good against the landlord, too: (hence rules against snap inspections and whatnot — notice must be given).

    Of course many mortgagees do not like leases being assigned or properties being sublet, and there are contractual provisions designed to deal with this in the mortgage contract, but surely any remedy to be had in that case is not against the tenant, but the defaulting (and breaching) mortgagor: more to the point, the tenant is likely to have no knowledge of the terms of the contract between the mortgagee and mortgagor when he took out the lease.

    The mortgagor breaches, while the tenant is evicted without notice in order to remedy the mortgagor’s breach.

    Someone at the NAB needs to go back and do contract and property law again, I suspect.

  9. Posted October 27, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I’m not a lawyer; this is not advice, etc. But:

    If I were in the tenants’ position, I wouldn’t be settling for 28 days’ notice. I’d be promising to sue the bank for being an ACCESSORY to the landlord’s INSOLVENT TRADING, unless the bank offered me a very favourable rental agreement or compensated me for moving expenses and lost time. And in case a lawsuit (and the precedent it might set) were not scary enough, I’d also be mentioning the possibility of a private criminal prosecution on the same facts.

    The excuse that the property was let without the bank’s knowledge does not hold water, because:

    (a) It doesn’t alter the fact that the bank lent to an un-credit-worthy borrower;

    (b) If the borrower is in trouble, the interest almost certainly exceeds the rental value, in which case letting the property allows the borrower to benefit from negative gearing and thereby improve the chances of servicing the loan; if the borrower has done that and still defaulted, that’s further evidence in support of point (a).

    The above points bypass anything in the Residential Tenancies Act. But, as a matter of curiosity, s.268 of the Act (quoted by Legal Eagle) refers to a situation in which a tenancy contract to which the lender wasn’t a party collides with a mortgage contract to which the tenant wasn’t a party, and resolves the conflict in favour of the lender (subject to 28 days’ notice).

    Now tell me: Why doesn’t the Act resolve the contract in favour of the weaker party, i.e. the tenant, by enforcing the tenancy contract? — other than because there’s a class war going on, and the upper class is winning?

    Fortunately the tenant has other remedies under other laws.

  10. BCS
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    No offence intended to your readers, but the ‘occupy Sydneyesque’ nature of some comments demonstrates why our society is now such a mess.

    To deal with the eviction issue first, there could be any number of reasons that the bank wants to get the tenants out immediately. The one that comes to mind is the risk of damage to the properties. We don’t know anything about the landlord or the tenants or the relationship between the two, so we don’t know what might be motivating the bank to act in this way.

    That leads to the bigger issue of landlords’ rights. Because tenancy law is now so heavily weighted against landlords and because landlords perceive tribunals as being ideologically biased against them, landlords are often driven to attempt extreme measures to protect their interests. While landlord and bank bashing may appeal to people who respond to simple messages, such as those who read Crikey and other such drivel, these people do not seem to appreciate that they are acting against their own interests. Biased tribunals and tenancy law are the reason that landlords will not deal with certain classes of persons as prospective tenants. That creates an artificial shortage of rental property for those classes of persons. Some people would be charitable and say that these laws are designed to protect those with less power, but I have been around long enough to know that as is all too often the case today certain groups in society see the law as a weapon to be used against those whom they hold prejudices against.

  11. Posted October 27, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m struggling to see how NAB could have done this. The section leaves very little room for manoeuvre.

  12. Adrien
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    But the costs in public relations terms are immense.

    They don’t care what we think.

    Firstly because we’ve already got a pretty low opinion of them, secondly because of this we’d be too apathetic on that basis to avoid doing business with them., thirdly because most of us won’t even know or remember this case and fourth because we’re all in effect forced to deal with a bank if we want to get paid.

    You’re right, they should amend the law. Not giving someone notice in these circumstances is despicable.

  13. Dan
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    This report http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2011/s3347157.htm seems to suggest that the issue is of lack of knowledge. The quote from the bank representative says that the bank didn’t know about the tenants, which seems to me to be stronger than a suggestion that the leases were in existence without formal consent. This makes sense, as it would be difficult to imagine why the bank wouldn’t have issued the notice if they had known about the tenants, as the process on a writ of possession is likely to take longer than 28 days anyway.

    One could see that it might have arisen if the bank indeed were unaware of the tenants, obtained the warrant and then the sheriff refused to execute the warrant. If some bright spark thought that it was worth pressing the point of whether as a question of law the sheriff could decline to execute a warrant on the basis of a failure by the landlord.

    Interesting though that legal argument might have been, it still stands pretty much on all fours with the relevant section and the court is always going to find that the sheriff must observe the law in the execution of warrants.

  14. Mel
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Adrien:

    “They don’t care what we think.”

    Rubbish, Adrien. Big business PR is a big business in itself. This case is one example, Gerry Harvey shutting up after being almost universally bagged when he whinged about online sales not attracting tax is another.

    Also see this.

  15. Posted October 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Being both a landlord (in Canberra) and a tenant (in Melbourne), the NAB’s attempt to gain a privileged position strikes me as profoundly misguided. If NAB were worried about not knowing, that is what real estate agents are for.

  16. Adrien
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Big business PR is a big business in itself.

    Oh? Really? Well shit twice and fall back I never know’d that. Hot diggety.

    Of course big business public relations is a big bloody business. However you might pause to think what kind of businesses employ PR and advertising types and why.

    Hint: It’s not because they need us all to love them.

    The big four banks are not as concerned with a rosy picture of themselves in the public mind as, say, a furniture retailer. Why? Because they’ve got a captive market. Wanna get paid your wage? Well technically it’s possible to demand it in cash but apart from a diminishing number of fruit growers I fully doubt it actually happens much in the real world. You’re basically required to have a bank account and subject to suspicion if you don’t.

    That being the case and likewise it being the case where your market is dominated by an oligopoly, where transferring your custom from one supplier to another is considerably more of a hassle then, say, going to Freedom Furniture rather than Harvey Norman to buy your matching deck chairs, where your whole industry is regarded already as a pack of Scrooges…

    This changes the PR needs somewhat. So the NAB consider the problem and try to figure out what they can gain boot out tenants 28 days early and what they will lose when this newsbyte adds to the well-established banks are bastards meme in the collective barely conscious.

    And guess what. It won’t cost them much at all. Won’t cost them a thing in fact. So they go ahead and do it. The cultural impact and relations of a business or an industry change according market specifics.

    Mel Gibson is having trouble getting a job in Hollywood because he’s been outed as an anti-semite. This would not affect him at all if he was a mercenary instead of an actor.

  17. kvd
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    While I await a perfectly innocuous post re the Euro crisis being de-moderated, I’m reading this post with dismay. It seems to have gotten to the point where “banks – bad; renters – hard done by” without much more thought than that?

    Questions: Why has NAB gone to the Supreme Court? Is this a specific case or two, of unresponsive/irresponsible tenants – or wider? What is NAB thinking about the future reliability of its negative-geared loan book? Who says the bank irresponsibly loaned the funds? And so on.

    While I am not a great fan of banks’ almost unrestricted, monopoly powers, I think you really do need to move beyond the “80 year old mother, nowhere to go” example before getting irate about the actions and intentions in this.

    And Mel – Gerry Harvey “shut up” probably because he figured out he was ‘talking’ to the wrong people. Not because he didn’t/doesn’t have a very valid point.

    Why do people cheer when they take advantage of such an increasingly large hole in their own country’s ability to provide the services we, all of us, depend upon?

    ps – just read Adrien’s. I should have just shut up and let him get on with it 😉

  18. Dan
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    kvd, the clip suggests that the sheriff refused to execute a warrant of posession – this is effectively a Supreme Court order and therefore any quibbles over its execution would have been in the Supreme Court. Though it only concerned 2 people, the decision would have bound the sheriff in the way that he executed such warrants in the future.

  19. kvd
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dan. One question (very well and simply) answered.

  20. Posted October 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Corporations are bureaucracies: these are not always efficient. (I have never thought that corporate bureaucracies are “better” bureaucracies: merely that they can go bankrupt so are subject to somewhat more intense penalties than government ones.)

    I, mean, really: 28 days notice, is that such an onerous restriction?

  21. kvd
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Lorenzo, I expect the time from lodgment to hearing chewed most of that up anyway. Therefore there maybe is more at stake from the bank’s point of view, than just this case? It would be nice to get all the facts.

    But anyway, yeah, you’re right: banks are bastards; let’s run society without them.

  22. kvd
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    notwithstanding that Bank and Sheriff only discovered the tenants on repossession day

    that has a vague sort of factual ring to it. Be nice to get all the facts up front rather than drip fed, is all I’ve suggested – so, thanks LE

  23. Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Biased tribunals and tenancy law are the reason that landlords will not deal with certain classes of persons as prospective tenants. That creates an artificial shortage of rental property for those classes of persons.

    This is, unfortunately, true. People find all sorts of subterfuges in order to allow them to avoid renting to people with toddlers or to Aborigines, or to unemployed young males. In Roman law jurisdictions where the right of dominium interacts very poorly with anti-discrimination law, the universal practice is to ask for written references from several previous landlords, and in the case of a student renter, for a caution (pronounced ‘kayshun’) from parents, partners or relatives. This is a species of rental guarantee.

    You will not get an apartment in France or Scotland without either or both, the only exception being council properties, which are diminishing in quantity.

    Part of me suspects that the attempt to stop discrimination in housing is about as useful as the attempt to stop discrimination in the provision of mortgages. And we all know how badly that went in the USA.

  24. Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] I don’t think that there is anything special about bank bureaucracies either. This looks to me like pushing for bureaucratic convenience. (Is there any doubt that the bank could evict the unexpected tenants on 28 days notice?)

    Maybe the bank is worried that folk will “stick in” tenants to gum up the works. For a whole 28 days.

  25. Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] People find a way to “price” risks. If they cannot do it with price mechanisms, they find others. Which typically work far less well because they are less discriminating (in the sorting-and-assessing sense).

    Another example of this sort of problem is various sorts of “unfair dismissals” legislation. It just drives employers to similar sorts of networks-and-guarantees behaviour.

    In my cynical view, the children of the elite are fine (they always have the right connections) so selling protection to job incumbents is a no-cost winner. Hence Europe’s youth unemployment problem. Except its long term effects are disastrous.

  26. BCS
    Posted October 29, 2011 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Legal Eagle @ 15
    I absolutely agree that the law should serve to balance power between parties. The question is: what is the right balance between the parties?

    In relating your tale of apprehended bias you have hit the nail on the head. There is no such thing as law or politics; there is only people, and all people develop mindsets and prejudices that influence everything they do. Pick any case in which there is an ideological undercurrent and you know in advance which way the case will go. A case involving a certain media personality comes to mind. We know that such cases are decided well before the case is heard and that the judgment is constructed afterwards to justify the decision.

    So, the question is: how do we take the people element out of the equation? The simple answer is that we CANNOT take the people element out of it and, so, the best solution of all the bad solutions is to dilute power so that no individual or group of individuals can impose their beliefs and prejudices on the community. But, sadly, we can see all too clearly that we are moving in the opposite direction. Groups of individuals with inflexible mindsets are using society’s institutions to force their beliefs on the community and give effect to their hatreds and prejudices, with the threat of punishment being held over the head of anyone who opposes them.

  27. Posted October 29, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    BCS, I think it’s simplistic stereotypes which are problematic. Banks = bad or landlords = bad or lawyers = bad are all examples of such stereotypes. Banks can do bad things, but they can also do positive things and facilitate our choices in life (by giving us credit etc). And sometimes the individuals whose houses were being repossessed were not in the right. The people with 15 aliases with a history of ripping off financial institutions deserve no pity. And then there’s the case where a mortgagor pretended to have a brain tumor and masqueraded as 4 different people in an effort to stave off repossession. If she’d put half as much effort into sorting out her finances she might have been okay. And it’s those kind of instances which play off people’s goodwill and charity which make the people who repossess cynical and hardened. So the thing to note is that it’s always more complex. Maybe it was more complex here and there’s things we don’t know but still seems harsh to punish the tenant for the mortgagor’s misdeeds.

  28. kvd
    Posted October 29, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Pick any case in which there is an ideological undercurrent and you know in advance which way the case will go. A case involving a certain media personality comes to mind. We know that such cases are decided well before the case is heard and that the judgment is constructed afterwards to justify the decision.

    [email protected] with respect, I disagree with the above; or perhaps you are talking of the court of public opinion – as opposed to our system of justice?

    I agree with [email protected] – “that it’s always more complex” – and I don’t think laws can ever be made to satisfy all situations; just ‘best fit’ rules, to allow us all to get along doing least harm to one another. Anecdote doesn’t make for good law, just as the oft quoted bad cases don’t.

  29. Posted October 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Gday all,
    I have had good relations with most of my tenants. I have only had to evict one couple as I described here.
    On the broader outlook, I have to say that there is very little money in retail renting. I live and own properties in a rural area and even here the rental barely covers mortgage repayments and rates. I can only wonder at the losses encountered by property owners in the cities where the rental can’t hope to come anywhere near the mortgage repayments as interest rates rise.
    From my point of view Im sure that the property owners would have had plenty of correspondence and dealings with their bank leading up to this eviction, so Im sure if their renters dont know of the perilous position of the property owners it is because of poor communications between the owners and their property managers or tenants.

    [email protected] Have you written a post re your experience at VCAT? Would one be appropriate?

  30. Posted October 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Henry/Frank – it was actually my third post ever – “Getting involved in a legal action” – am on phone but will find it for you anon.

  31. Posted October 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Given houses are large decaying physical objects, the stunning surge in price-to-rent ratios in Australia only makes sense if housing land is taken to be a store of value beyond its ability to generate income. That certainly leads to poor returns, but seems unlikely to be game that can be played indefinitely.

    [email protected] Remember reading an article about judges and the Patricks/MUA dispute which found all judges except one found in favour of the disputant one would expect given which side of politics appointed them as judges. Of course, IR issues are one of the classic divides in Oz politics.

  32. Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Oops. Sorry, I knew that, my figures slipped!

  33. kvd
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    LE I really wish you’d move the conversation along, away, from this post. I keep having trouble with your title “Repossessing Houses With Tenants”; I mean – what does that mean?

    You obviously mean repossessing tenanted houses, but the way it reads is like some sort of Amityville redux. Try replacing ‘tenants’ with ‘guns’ to see what I mean. Not that I’m suggesting you ever did that. Did you? 🙂

    [email protected] your ‘houses are large decaying physical objects’ is not the real reason why the land component rises; more, it’s the position in relation to improving/increasing infrastructure and amenity, I think. In NSW this might be why Paddo terraces (or their plots, on your theory) continue to rise, while Cobar prices are at somewhat static.

  34. Posted October 31, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Proximity to amenity/infrastructure affects relative prices. It is land rationing which typically sets off the price rise binges, because “approved for housing” has extra scarcity value.

  35. kvd
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Point taken Lorenzo. Thanks

  36. Khoukharev
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    In Russian law the problem is dealt with ease. Ownership and rent simply have nothing to do with each other. Bank is allowed to sell property right away. It’s just that rights and obligations of the lessor are transferred at the same time as ownership is. Hence bank later – new owner are new lessors. So there is no legal issue there.

  37. Khoukharev
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Correction: Ownership and rent connected with each other in this unseparate manner. Not “have nothing to do with each other”

  38. Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    [email protected]/7 That does seem the sensible way to do it.

  39. Diana
    Posted August 3, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    PLEASE HELP ME.
    I am being evicted from my home that I have been renting since January 2016 – which not under a lease.

    The landlord has entered bankruptcy and I have offered to purchase the property at market value for the past year.

    I am in an information vacuum and battling 4 fronts.
    1. the RE Agent
    2. The trustee
    3. ANZ
    4. Gadens Lawyers- ANZ’s rep

    I have received preliminary advice that I have financial pre approval and yet no one seems even the slightest bit interested in suspending the eviction or proceeding in a contract of sale with me.

    Gadens – says… out, out, out
    ANZ – says – we will not discuss this matter with you
    Trustee says we’re not getting anything out of it, but we can talk to the bank
    RE Agents says don’t let the door hit you on the way out – AND where are the keys.

    I am at my wits end.

    Is this a lost cause? It doesn’t make sense to me to have to vacate the premises just so I can offer to buy it. What am I missing?

    I am in QLD – Mackay and coalfields region.

    Hope someone is able to fill in the blanks to this apparently illogical madness I am living.

    I have to vacate by 14th August

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