I settled in court today and won $2.5k. This is $1k bond, $500 costs (replacement bean bags and dry cleaning), $900 in back rent, and $180 in money illegally obtained as a rent increase (which the judge noted without me saying).
What I didn’t receive was $2k in half rent since moving in, and $500 in other costs. The judge said the legislation prohibits compensation for personal injury and he couldn’t see how I could claim that back rent (perhaps NSW and USA don’t have such a clause). He also said I couldn’t replace cardboard boxes with plastic boxes and claim it (although I argued that, as the bugs can hide easily in cardboard boxes, he didn’t seem interested), and he didn’t mention a few hundred dollars in other costs.
The defendant did show up. He claimed he’d been trying to contact me by phone to arrange return of my bond (I haven’t received any calls). He claimed I’d damaged the curtains by having them dry-cleaned and he wanted to reduce my bond. He also said he had been invoiced for pest control by the real estate agent as REIWA said pest control is the tenants responsibility, and that I should be liable for the $450 there. He hadn’t logged a counterclaim for those costs though, and the judge seemed to indicate he wouldn’t win on any of those claims anyway as that’s not part of our contract.
So I settled for what I thought was at least reasonable (covering my costs, if not any of the hell I went through) – and because I needed the money ASAP. The judge said it was a very reasonable compromise. I count it as a win for me.