I have another update.. this one, not so good. I spent all day today cleaning the house til it was sparkling, and cleaner than it was when I moved in. I took heaps of photos. Afterwards I returned the keys to K - I knocked on the granny flat door & called out because the lights and TV were on, but nobody answered the door, so I slipped the keys through the door (it is a kind of folding door thing which was unlocked with a largish gap open) & messaged K telling her that I'd returned them, the house was clean & empty, and I'd like my bond and overpaid rent returned ASAP (I transferred her 2 weeks instead of 1 week rent by mistake at the start of last week). I had left a heap of garbage out the front which I had no way of transporting away by car, and included in my message to K that I would arrange for a council cleanup (a free service) to come by and pick it up sometime this coming week (as early as it could be arranged).
K messaged back accusing me of breaking into her house to return the keys. Then she said that I had to come back tomorrow and be there while she did the final inspection, otherwise she would not do it (and therefore not consider the tenancy done with). The she said that she would continue to charge me rent until the garbage was removed.
Ok... with the garbage, she's got me there I think. So I will have to hire a ute tomorrow to take it away. It's a bit mean spirited on her part as she would only have to wait a couple more days for it to be gone, meanwhile the house is empty and livable. But I think she can legally charge me rent while the garbage is still outside.
But I did tell her no, I'm quite sure I do not have to be there for her final inspection. I have returned the keys, the house is clean and empty. My tenancy is done. I've never had to stick around for previous landlords to do their final inspections (in a couple of cases, it was impossible as I moved interstate on the same day that my possessions were removed from the house).
After I told her these things, she went to look inside the house, and messaged me with a ton of things she claims I did not clean. Things like the laundry sink being "full of black gunk" (it is not, I have a photo), that I didn't clean the pantry (I did, I have a photo) that I didn't wipe the skirting boards (I did) and that there are new stains on the carpet (there are not). She then said that she would have to hire cleaners on Monday, and that would be taken out of my bond.
So I guess I need to go straight to the tribunal. I need that money so badly - both the bond ($1920) and the overpaid rent ($480), I'm running so low on cash from the move. And now I have to hire a ute tomorrow and spend more money I can't afford. ugh. I really don't need this stress while I'm trying to unpack and organise my new house, trying to read up on the Residential Tenancies Act at the same time is not fun. Also, where the hell is my printer paper so I can print off the forms I need, I know I packed it somewhere ><
edit to add: she's been sending me messages all evening about the house being filthy and things like she doesn't trust me due to my "proven duplicity" wtf and that she will soon never have to see me again, "thankfully" arghh I am so tired of being harrassed by this woman :( If she's trying to harrass me enough to make me give up on my money she's doing a good job of it because I'm just about done with this crap
edit the second: Pictures
The pantry she claims I did not clean:
The sink that is apparently "full of black gunk" (yes there is a small black spot in there. This sink was absolutely filthy when we moved in. I spent a long time cleaning it, which is why I took a photo of it specifically):
Does this house look "filthy" to you?
edit the third: She sent me a bunch of pictures that she took, one is of the laundry sink filled with black gunk and what looks like a cigarette butt. o_O As you can see from the above photo, it was not like that when I left. I don't know if she has put stuff in the sink or what. She also sent a bunch of extreme close up flash photos of bits of dusty skirting boards. Seriously? And a photo of cigarette ash on the back porch, which was admittedly pretty ashy before I cleaned it, but I spent a long time sweeping and cleaning out there and it most definitely was not like that when I left. That's another extreme close up flash photo. I don't know.. could she really be crazy enough to sabotage my cleaning in order to scam me out of bond? Signs are pointing to yes. She wants me to come for the final inspection tomorrow morning, and wants me to clean more. I'm debating whether I should send my housemate (who was subletting a room in the house through me with K's approval) who is happy to deal with K while refusing to clean any of the mess she has apparently made (but like I said in the comments, I'm afraid of her possibly becoming violent & I don't want to subject my housemate to that, also I feel a bit crap sending her when it's nothing to do with her really), or if I should not give in to her demand at all and just go straight to the tribunal. Or maybe I can go with my daughter's father, who is helping me out tomorrow anyway by driving the ute. I just don't want her attempting to bully me into cleaning up mess she has apparently made and becoming belligerent when I refuse. Thoughts?