A victim of the Bourke St attack claims she has been left $20,000 in debt after being swindled by a tenant during Melbourne’s Covid-19 lockdowns.
Melinda Cleland’s life was turned upside-down in 2017 after James Gargasoulas deliberately drove his car along the busy CBD strip, killing six people and injuring almost 30.
As a result of her injuries, she was left unable to work and last year decided to move to the Mornington Peninsula to recuperate.
The 42-year-old put her Bentleigh East apartment up for rent in April 2020, thinking it would cover the cost of her own rental home.
But she said when the pandemic hit, and new laws were passed to help struggling renters, her tenant stopped paying rent, changed the locks and ceased communication.
“There was really limited contact (with the tenant, once he moved in),” Ms Cleland said.
“He had a job, he kept saying ‘I’ll make a payment’. At one point (during the pandemic), he said ‘I don’t want a rent reduction, it’s not fair to the landlord’ but we gave him a little one so he could get the (rent help) grant, but he never did the paperwork.”
Ms Cleland said…