Southwest woman steals fridge after housing dispute
June Margaret Schiemer’s kind offer to rent a homeless woman and her five children her house has spiralled into an ugly court battle.
Ms Schiemer offered to let Vera-Lyn Gibson rent her Wyandra property in May 2020 but the residence soon became uninhabitable due to sewerage issues.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in Charleville heard on December 9, 2020 that a plumber had deemed the house unfit for living due to raw sewerage overflowing underneath the house.
Plaintiff Ms Schiemer submitted to QCAT that Gibson’s tenancy should be terminated.
She also claimed Gibson still had $550 of arrears outstanding, plus $200 of bond money.
But Gibson, the defendant, claimed the Paroo Shire Council had been to the property and said there was no health or environmental issue with it.
“She blocked me from even trying to get a house,” Gibson alleged to QCAT.
“She has called everywhere on me, even the local health centre, the neighbourhood centre, everywhere.”
Magistrate Peter Saggers repled to Gibson that she doesn’t need to worry about that issue because it’s not assisting the matter.
He accepted the property is unliveable and said he needed to figure out a date to end the tenancy.
Ms Schiemer submitted that Gibson should be evicted immediately, but Gibson argued she needed two weeks to move out.
“Your Honour, I’ve been waiting 2.5 months for this,” Ms Schiemer said, also claiming that she hasn’t been able to ‘do anything’ with the house.
“I can’t even go home to my family for Christmas,” she said due to the work required.
Ms Schiemer told QCAT that Gibson had been given notice to leave.
But Gibson claimed neither the notice nor the lease were valid because Ms Schiemer didn’t sign it.
During the hearing, there was back and forward bickering between the two parties about when the eviction date should be.
“Can we work out a date, otherwise I’ll make a date and neither of you will be happy with it,” Magistrate Saggers said.
Magistrate Saggers ordered the lease be terminated on December 18, about a week and a half after the hearing.
He issued a warrant for police to check the premises.
But the drama didn’t end there, with Ms Schiemer making a complaint to police that her fridge had been stolen by Gibson.
The Charleville Magistrates Court heard on March 9, 2021 that Gibson paid her rent until October 2020 and she left to a new residence in Morven after being evicted.
“After that occurred, the complainant conducted a check on her residence in Wyandra,” police prosecutor Sergeant Caroline Boodnikoff told the court.
Ms Schiemer found three items missing from her Wyandra property, but was only claiming the loss of the fridge.
Sergeant Boodnikoff said police searched Gibson’s new Morven home on February 3 and found the stolen fridge.
“The defendant immediately made admissions to taking the fridge and described, she said she needed the fridge,” Sergeant Boodnikoff said.
“She had no other option.”
Gibson, representing herself, told the court she had arranged to have her own fridge delivered to her Morven house a week before the cops came.
“I had actually had a chat to Margaret Schiemer about borrowing the fridge,” Gibson said.
“But as you know, we had a big fallout.”
Gibson pleaded guilty to one count of stealing and Magistrate Saggers fined her $350 and recorded her conviction.